Tonya Pinkins was born in Chicago, Illinois on May 30, 1962. Her father was a police officer and insurance salesman and her mother a postal worker and CTA driver. While in high school she studied at the Goodman Theater Young People’s Program. She attended Columbia College in Chicago and Carnegie Mellon where she studied music theater.
Tonya’s stage work includes “Merrily We Roll Along,” “Jelly’s Last Jam,” “Chronicle of a Death Foretold,” “Play On,” “The Wild Party” and the critically acclaimed “Caroline, Or Change.” Tonya is a Tony Award winner for her performance in "Jelly's Last Jam." She also received a Drama Desk Award, Outer Critics Circle and Clarence Derwent Award for her role in the musical. She was Tony Award nominated for her role in “Play On.” She also received a Tony Award nomination for Best Actress in a Musical for her role in “Caroline, Or Change.”
Tonya’s film credits include “Beat Street,” “Hotshot,” “See No Evil, Hear No Evil,” “Above the Rim,” “Romance & Cigarettes” and “Love Hurts.”
Tonya has guest starred in “Crime Story,” “The Cosby Show,” “Law & Order” and “The Guardian.” Tonya was a series regular in the daytime dramas “As the World Turns” and "All My Children" as Livia Frye Cudahy. She first appeared in "All My Children" from 1991 to 1995 and she returned to the role in 2003.
Tonya recently released a book "Get Over Yourself!: How to Drop the Drama and Claim the Life You Deserve." She also teaches "The Actorpreneur Attitude," a course for actors that teaches no acting because its premise is that theatrical achievement is not so much about vocal technique or sense memory or looks as about removing hidden emotional blocks to success. Pinkins developed the workshop from principles she learned as an adherent of the Agape Church of Religious Science. She is an activist for and co-creator of "Operation Z," an organization that stands for zero tolerance of violence against women and children.
Tonya was married to music director Ron Brawer from 1987 to 1993. They divorced and she lost custody of their two sons, Myles and Maxx, in a bitter court battle. Tonya lives in New York with her 2 younger children Manuel and Maija.
Tonya's film credits include the following:
- Premium (2006)
- Romance & Cigarettes (2005)
- Love Hurts (2002)
- Against Their Will: Women in Prison (1994)(Tv Movie)
- Above The Rim (1994)
- Strapped (1993)(Tv Movie)
- See No Evil, Hear No Evil (1989)
- Hotshot (1987)
- Rage of Angels: The Story Continues (1986)
- Beat Street (1984)
- American Dream (1981)(Tv Movie)
Check out the following sites for additional information about Tonya:
Tonya Pinkins Biography
Tony Winner Tonya Pinkins Pens New Tome
Tonya Pinkins@Internet Movie Database
Tonya Pinkins News
Tonya Pinkins News, Interviews & Updates