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LESLIE UGGAMS

May 25, 1943

Leslie Uggams was born May 25, 1943 in New York City. She is an American actor and singer, known for her award winning work in Hallelujah, Baby! And the miniseries Roots. She is a member of Delta Sigma    Theta sorority.

Leslie Uggams was born in New York City. Her father was a singer with the Hall Johnson choir and her mother was a dancer. She attended the Professional Children’s School of New York and Juilliard. She met her husband, Grahame Pratt while she was performing in Sydney, Australia; they married in 1965. After their marriage, the couple decided to reside in New York, in part to avoid Australia’s racial tension and segregation laws of that time.

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In her early years in show business as a child in 1950, playing the niece of Ethel Waters on Beulah. She made her singing debut on the Lawrence Welk Show and was a regular on Sing Along with Mitch Miller. In 1960, she sang, off-screen, “Give Me That Old Time Religion” in the film Inherit the Wind. Leslie came to be recognized by TV audiences as an upcoming teen talent in 1954 on the NBC/CBS hit musical quiz show series Name That Tune for 6 years she did that stint, along with child hit maker Eddie Hodges.

She recorded very few songs which was released and performed very well on the Billboard Charts. The songs were “one More Sunrise” and “House Built on Sand.

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In the television short screen and film big screen she was very successful. She starred and appeared in her own television variety show, The Leslie Uggams Show in 1969. This was the “first network variety show to feature an African-American host since the mid-1950s Nat “King” Cole Show.” She had a lead role in the 1977 miniseries Roots, for which she received an Emmy nomination, as Kizzy. In 1979, she starred as Lillian Rogers Parks in Backstairs at the White House another miniseries. She also made guest appearances on such television programs as Hollywood Squares, Fantasy Island, The Muppet Show, Magnum, P.I., and All My Children as Rose keefer. She starred in the film Poor Pretty Eddie in 1975.

As for Play Leslie was picked to star in Hallelujah, Baby. She won the Tony Award for Best Actress in a musical in a tie with Patricia Routledge.

She appeared on Broadway in the revue Blues in the Night in 1982 and in 1985 the musical Jerry’s Girls by Jerry Herman. In March 1989 she also replaced Patti LuPone as Reno Sweeney in the famous Lincoln Center revival of Cole Porter’s musical Anything Goes on Broadway. Later Broadway roles include Muzzy in Thoroughly Modern Millie 2003 – 2004 and Ethel Thayer in On Golden Pond at the Kennedy Center in 2004 and on Broadway at the Cort Theatre in 2005. In 2001 she appeared in the August Wilson play King Hedley II. In January 2009, Leslie Uggams portrayed Lena Horne in a production of the stage musical Stormy Weather at the Pasadena Playhouse in California. In June 2012, she played Muzzy in a production of “Thoroughly Modern Millie” at the Muny Theater in Saint Louis, Missouri.

 

Leslie Uggams is still married to whom she wed in 1965 in Australia. Together they have two children both in the acting profession Danielle Chambers and Justice Pratt.

 

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