Jenifer Lewis

Jenifer Lewis

Highest Rated: 97% What's Love Got to Do With It (1993)

Lowest Rated: 5% The Cookout (2004)

Birthday: Jan 25, 1957

Birthplace: Kinloch, Missouri, USA

Nicknamed the Black Mother of Hollywood, Jenifer Lewis played dozens of maternal figures during a prolific screen career, most notably Zelma Bullock in Tina Turner biopic "What's Love Got to Do With It" (1993) and Ruby Johnson in socially-conscious sitcom "Black-ish" (ABC, 2014-). Born in St. Louis, MO in 1957, Lewis studied theatre at Webster University before moving to New York to pursue a performing career. After making her Broadway debut in "Eabie," she was invited to join Bette Midler's backing band, The Staggering Harlettes, who performed with the star on various HBO specials and in "Beaches" (1988). Switching her focus to acting, Lewis played a judge in "Red Heat" (1988), back-up singer in "Sister Act" (1992) and college dean in "A Different World" (NBC, 1987-1993), and in 1991 joined "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" cast (NBC, 1990-96) as Aunt Helen. Her breakthrough came when she portrayed Tina Turner's real-life mother in "What's Love Got to Do With It" (1993). Lewis subsequently played maternal figures in "Poetic Justice" (1993), "The Meteor Man" (1993), "Panther" (1995), "Dead Presidents" (1995) and "The Preacher's Wife" (1996), but proved there was more to her talents when she became the first actress to play an African-American lesbian character in legal drama "Courthouse" (CBS, 1995). There were also memorable supporting roles as Whoopi Goldberg's sister in "Corrina, Corrina" (1994), sex line boss Lil in "Girl 6" (1996) and school principal Mrs. Addison in "The Mighty" (1998). After adding "An Unexpected Life" (1998), "Blast from the Past" (1999) and "Mystery Men" (1999) to her credits, she enjoyed a rare leading role in "Jackie's Back" (1999), a mockumentary about an aging soul diva's comeback attempt, played Tom Hanks' boss in "Cast Away" (2000) and voiced Bebe Ho in "The PJs" (Fox, 1999-2002). She landed her longest-recurring role when she was cast as receptionist Lana Hawkins in "Strong Medicine" (Lifetime, 2000-06). During her six-year stint on the medical drama she also performed the theme tune to, Lewis returned to motherly roles in "Little Richard" (2000), "The Brothers" (2001) and "Girlfriends" (UPN, 2002-08), and played aunts in "Juwanna Mann" (2002), "Antwone Fisher" (2002) and "Dirty Laundry" (2006). She also assumed the titular role in "Nora's Hair Salon" (2004) and voiced the Motown Turtle in "Shark Tale" and Flo in "Cars" (2006). Lewis then showed up in Tyler Perry's "Madea's Family Reunion" (2006) and "Meet the Browns" (2008), played mom in "Who's Your Caddy?" (2007), "Not Easily Broken" (2009), "Hereafter" (2010), "Think Like A Man" (2012) and "Baggage Claim" (2013), and voiced Mama Odie in "The Princess and the Frog" (2009) and Gogo in "Zambezia" (2012). There was also a recurring role as seamstress Pearl in "The Playboy Club" (NBC, 2011) and supporting parts in "Five" (2011), "Playin' for Love" (2013), "Secrets of the Magic City" (2014), "The Wedding Ringer" (2015) and "It Had To Be You" (2015). Lewis also became a regular prime-time face again when she was cast as Anthony Anderson's overbearing mother Ruby Johnson on "Black-ish" (ABC, 2014-).

Highest rated movies

What's Love Got to Do With It
The Mighty
Dolly Parton's Christmas on the Square
The Brothers
The Preacher's Wife Think Like a Man
Dirty Laundry
Dead Presidents

Photos

Filmography

Movies

Credit
No Score Yet No Score Yet Finding Kendrick Johnson Narrator,
Executive Producer
- 2021
No Score Yet No Score Yet Finding Kendrick Johnson Narrator,
Executive Producer
- 2021
66% 52% Dolly Parton's Christmas on the Square Margeline (Character) - 2020
44% 69% The Addams Family Great Auntie Sloom (Voice) $673.0K 2019
29% 63% The Wedding Ringer Doris Jenkins (Character) $64.5M 2015
No Score Yet No Score Yet It Had to Be You Reggie (Character) - 2015
23% 59% Think Like a Man Too Loretta (Character) $65.1M 2014
No Score Yet No Score Yet Playin' for Love Alize Gates (Character) - 2013
No Score Yet No Score Yet The Magic City Aunt Valerie (Character) - 2013
54% 79% Think Like a Man Loretta (Character) $91.5M 2012
25% 44% Zambezia Gogo (Voice) - 2012
No Score Yet 74% Five Pearl (Character) - 2011
40% 49% Cars 2 Flo (Voice) - 2011
31% 67% Not Easily Broken Mary "Mama" Clark (Character) $10.6M 2009
85% 74% The Princess and the Frog Mama Odie (Voice) - 2009
No Score Yet 38% Redrum Therapist (Character) - 2007
26% 93% Madea's Family Reunion Milay Jenay Lori (Character) $63.2M 2006
50% 68% Dirty Laundry Lettuce (Character) $20.1K 2006
5% 37% The Cookout Lady Em (Character) $11.5M 2004
No Score Yet 70% Nora's Hair Salon Nora (Character) - 2004
10% 39% Juwanna Mann Aunt Ruby (Character) $13.6M 2002
63% 85% The Brothers Louise Smith (Character) $27.5M 2001
No Score Yet No Score Yet The Ponder Heart Narcissa Wingfield (Character) - 2001
No Score Yet No Score Yet Partners Detective Lancy (Character) - 2000
No Score Yet 73% Dancing in September Judge Warner (Character) - 2000
No Score Yet 61% Little Richard Muh Penniman (Character) - 2000
No Score Yet 87% Jackie's Back! Jackie Washington (Character),
Producer
- 1999
No Score Yet No Score Yet An Unexpected Life Camille (Character) - 1998
75% 79% The Mighty Mrs. Addison (Character) $2.6M 1998
33% 36% Girl 6 Lil (Character) $4.6M 1996
60% 52% The Preacher's Wife Margueritte Coleman (Character) $48.1M 1996
27% 75% Panther Rita (Character) $6.3M 1995
No Score Yet No Score Yet Deadline for Murder: From the Files of Edna Buchanan Denice Cooper (Character) - 1995
45% 78% Dead Presidents Mrs. Curtis (Character) $24.1M 1995
39% 69% Corrina, Corrina Jevina (Character) $20.2M 1994
No Score Yet 51% Shake, Rattle and Rock! Amanda (Character) - 1994
97% 88% What's Love Got to Do With It Zelma Bullock (Character) $38.9M 1993
37% 67% Undercover Blues Cab Driver (Character) $12.0M 1993
No Score Yet 72% Star Tours Unknown (Character) - 1987

TV

Credit
92% 55% black-ish Ruby (Character),
Unknown (Guest Star),
Unknown (Voice)
2014-2021
No Score Yet No Score Yet Dish Nation Guest 2020
No Score Yet No Score Yet Celebrity Family Feud Guest 2020
No Score Yet No Score Yet Elena of Avalor Tornado (Guest Voice) 2019
No Score Yet No Score Yet To Tell the Truth Guest 2019
No Score Yet 0% The Talk Guest 2018
No Score Yet No Score Yet The Real Guest 2018
No Score Yet 56% The Daily Show With Trevor Noah Guest 2018
No Score Yet No Score Yet The Doctors Guest 2013 2018
No Score Yet 83% Match Game Guest 2018
No Score Yet No Score Yet Celebrity Page Guest 2018
No Score Yet No Score Yet Access Hollywood Live Guest 2017
No Score Yet 8% The View Guest 2017
No Score Yet No Score Yet Exhale Guest 2014
21% 27% The Playboy Club Pearl (Character) 2011
No Score Yet 91% American Dad Lessie (Guest Voice) 2011
No Score Yet 63% The Cleveland Show Receptionist/Middle-Aged Woman (Guest Voice) 2011
No Score Yet No Score Yet Tyler Perry's Meet the Browns Unknown (Guest Star) 2009
86% 91% Boston Legal Judge Isabel Fisher (Guest Star) 2008
No Score Yet No Score Yet Courthouse Judge Rosetta Reide (Character) 1995 2006
No Score Yet No Score Yet Strong Medicine Unknown (Character) 2005-2006
No Score Yet No Score Yet Girlfriends Unknown (Guest Star) 2002-2005
No Score Yet No Score Yet Cracking Up Unknown (Guest Star) 2004
No Score Yet 100% That's So Raven Unknown (Guest Star) 2004
No Score Yet No Score Yet The Proud Family Aunt Spice (Guest Voice) 2003
No Score Yet No Score Yet The PJs Bebe Ho (Voice) 1999-2001
No Score Yet 100% Moesha Unknown (Guest Star) 1999
33% No Score Yet Grown Ups Unknown (Guest Star) 1999
No Score Yet No Score Yet Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child Unknown (Voice) 1999
No Score Yet No Score Yet The Jamie Foxx Show Unknown (Guest Star) 1999
No Score Yet No Score Yet For Your Love Unknown (Guest Star) 1998
No Score Yet No Score Yet The Parent 'Hood Unknown (Guest Star) 1998
No Score Yet No Score Yet Touched by an Angel Unknown (Guest Star) 1997
No Score Yet No Score Yet Chris Rock Show Guest 1997
No Score Yet No Score Yet Cosby Unknown (Guest Star) 1996
No Score Yet 93% The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Unknown (Guest Star) 1991-1993 1995-1996
No Score Yet No Score Yet Living Single Unknown (Guest Star) 1995
67% 94% Friends Paula (Guest Star) 1994
86% 86% Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman Unknown (Guest Star) 1994