Ellen Holly was born in New York City on January 16, 1931. After graduating from Hunter College where she majored in Fine Arts and minored in Speech and Drama, she made her Broadway debut opposite actor Barry Sullivan. A year later Elia Kazan and Lee Strasberg selected her for entry into the Actors Studio, a first for a black actress. Major roles on Broadway followed, as did several years at the New York Shakespeare Festival. Her stage roles include "Tiger Tiger Burning Bright," "Face of a Hero," "Henry V," "MacBeth" and "Taming of the Shrew."
Ellen's film credits include "Take a Giant Step," "Cops & Robbers," "School Daze" and "10,000 Black Men Named George."
Ellen has guest starred in "The Defender," "Dr. Kildare," "The Nurses," "Spenser For Hire" and "In the Heat of the Night." In 1968 she was cast as Carla Grey in a new daytime drama "One Life to Live." As ABC's first black soap star she became such a huge favorite that her role, originally contracted to last a year, lasted seventeen years. Her role as Carla Gray started out as a black woman passing for white. The success of her storyline quickly persuaded other soaps to follow suit with the result that African-American performers are now an integral and enduring part of daytime television. Ellen was also a regular in the daytime drama "The Guiding Light."
Ellen is a writer as well as an actress. In 1994 her autobiography "One Life: The Autobiography of an African American Actress" was published and critically praised as a powerful mix of race and theatrical life.
Ellen's film credits include the following:
- 10,000 Black Men Named George (2002)(Showtime Movie)
- School Daze (1988)
- Sergeant Matlovich Vs. the U.S. Air Force (1978)(Tv Movie)
- King Lear (1974)(Tv Movie)
- Cops & Robbers (1973)
- Take A Giant Step (1959)
Check out the following sites for additional information about Ellen:
Ellen Holly@Internet Movie Database
Ellen Holly News
Ellen Holly News, Interviews & Updates