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Mon, 09.13.1948

Nell Carter, Singer, and Actress born

Nell Carter

*Nell Carter was born on this date in 1948. She was a Black lesbian and bisexual woman singer and actress.

From Birmingham, Alabama, while growing up, Carter listened to her mother's recordings of Dinah Washington and B. B. King and her brother's Elvis Presley records. She liked Doris Day, the Andrews Sisters, and Johnny Mathis and admired the work of Cleo Laine and Barbra Streisand.  She performed as a singer on the gospel circuit early in her career. She moved on to coffeehouses and nightclubs in her hometown before going to New York.

While there, Carter started as a cabaret performer, then leaped to stardom in the musical revue "Aint Misbehavin'," for which she won a Tony award. She continued in the theater with a revival of "Annie," where she won the Outer Circle Critics Award, the Obie, and the Drama Desk Award. On TV, Carter worked on the soap opera "Ryan's Hope" and the prime-time series "The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo" as police sergeant Hildy Jones.

In 1981, Carter's biggest TV hit was on the sitcom "Gimme a Break," which ran until 1987. In 1990, she was in the short-lived series "You Take the Kids," from 1993 to 1995, she appeared in the recurring role of Mark Curry's boss in "Hangin' with Mr. Cooper." Carter also appeared in TV movies, including the musical "Cindy" 1978; she also played the mother of ill-fated athlete Hank Gathers in "Final Shot: The Hank Gathers Story" 1992 "Maid for Each Other" later that same year.

Carter's musical specials have been many, a guest appearance on "Baryshnikov on Broadway" 1980, "Ain't Misbehavin'" 1981, and "Evening at the Pops" 1987. Carter's feature film appearances included "Black Boys/White Boys," Milos Forman's "Hair" 1979, "Modern Problems" and "Back Roads" both in 1981. In 1992, Carter’s voice was featured in the animated feature "Bebe's Kids." She has also performed in Las Vegas, headlined a 1991 Los Angeles revival of "Hello, Dolly!" with an African American cast, and played the villainous Miss Hannigan in the 1996-97 stage musical "Annie."

Her last appearance was an episode of “Touched By an Angel” in 2001. Nell Carter died from complications of diabetes on January 23, 2003.

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