Actress Lynne Thigpen passed
away on March 12, 2003.
LYNNE THIGPEN NEWS
News for 4/19/2003
Actress Lynne Thigpen, Tony Winner for An American Daughter, Dead at 54
News for 4/4/2003
The following news item was reported on Friday, March 14, 2003.
'District' actress Thigpen, 54, dies
LOS ANGELES (The Hollywood Reporter) --- Lynne Thigpen, the prolific screen and stage actress who played dogged crime analyst Ella Farmer on the CBS cop drama "The District" and won a Tony Award in 1997 for her performance as a black Jewish oncologist in Wendy Wasserstein's play "An American Daughter," died Wednesday night at her home in Los Angeles, CBS said. She was 54.
The cause of death was unknown pending an autopsy. She was discovered unconscious by her friend Larry Aronson.
Production on "District" was temporarily shut down Thursday after the cast and crew received word of Thigpen's death. The show, which bowed in September 2000, is based on the exploits of real-life law enforcement guru Jack Maple and was in the middle of shooting the 20th of the season's 22 episodes.
"As a person, Lynne possessed an incredible dignity, intelligence and wisdom that informed all of her performances," Denise Di Novi, executive producer of "District," said in a statement. "She elevated anything she was involved with, and we were blessed to have her as a part of our family."
"I'm in shock," said Craig T. Nelson, who plays the Maple stand-in, Jack Mannion, on "District." "She was a wonderful actress and a friend."
During her 30-year career, Thigpen appeared in nearly 40 feature films and numerous television series, often in memorable character roles. She made her film debut in "Godspell," the 1973 adaptation of the New Testament-inspired musical.
Other films included "The Insider," "Lean on Me," the 2000 remake of "Shaft," "Tootsie," "Random Hearts," "Bob Roberts" and the upcoming "Anger Management," starring Jack Nicholson and Adam Sandler. Her television credits included recurring roles on "L.A. Law" and "thirtysomething." She also portrayed the chief on the PBS children's series "Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?" and "Where in Time Is Carmen Sandiego?"
She was born Cherlynne Thigpen in Joliet, Ill., on Dec. 22, 1948. She took a teaching degree and briefly taught high school English before moving to New York to pursue acting.
"I wasn't driven by the star thing," she told the Wall Street Journal in 1997. "I wanted to be a working actor, and I think I've achieved that."
Despite her success onscreen, Thigpen was most highly lauded for her theater work. She was nominated for a Tony in the musical "Tintypes" and won Obie Awards for "Jar the Floor" and "Boesman and Lena."
In the bittersweet "An American Daughter," Thigpen played Dr. Judith Kaufman, a high-achieving doctor who was grappling with the emotional pain of lifelong infertility. Suicidal, the character hurls herself into the Potomac River, only to discover that she floats.
When the actress reprised the role for a Lifetime movie in 2000, New York Magazine TV critic John Leonard wrote, "For Thigpen's performance alone, the TV movie is worth it."