Beah Richards was born Beulah Richardson in Vicksburg, Mississippi on July 12, 1920. She graduated from Dillard University and spent 3 years as an apprentice at the San Diego Community Theater before moving to New York City to pursue an acting career.

Beah was cast as a grandmother (at the age of 30) in the Off-Broadway production of "Take a Giant Step" in 1956 and understudied Claudia McNeil in the lead role of Lena Younger in the 1959 Broadway production of "A Raisin in the Sun." She garnered critical acclaim for her starring performance in "The Amen Corner" in 1965 which earned her a Theater World Award and a Tony nomination as Best Actress. During the 1970s, Beah appeared in two plays she had written: "One Is a Crowd" in 1970 and "A Black Woman Speaks" in 1975. She also developed a one-woman show "An Evening with Beah Richards."

Beah is best remembered by movie audiences for her Best Supporting Actress Oscar-nominated portrayal as Sidney Poitier's mother in Stanley Kramer's "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner." She has also appeared in "Hurry Sundown," "In The Heat Of The Night," "Mahogany" and "Beloved."

Beah has guest starred in such tv shows as "The Big Valley," "I Spy," "Palmerstown, U.S.A.," "227," "Hunter" and "The Facts Of Life." She had recurring roles in "Beauty & The Beast," "Hearts Afire," "Designing Women" and "ER" and she was a series regular in "The Bill Cosby Show" and the daytime drama "Capitol." Beah won an Emmy for Best Guest Performer in a Comedy Series for her guest appearance in "Frank’s Place" and in 2000 she won another Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series for her appearance in "The Practice."

Beah died on September 14, 2000 in her native Vicksburg, just days after she won her last Emmy Award.

Beah's film credits include the following:
Check out the following sites for additional information about Beah:

Beah Richards@Internet Movie Database
Beah: A Black Woman Speaks
Beah Richards@Wikipedia
HBO shines light on Beah Richards, a mentor to many
Beah Richards@African American Registry

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