Who is Sheryl Lee Ralph?

American actress and singer Sheryl Lee Ralph, OJ (Order of Jamaica), was born in Waterbury, Connecticut USA, on 30 December 1956, meaning that her zodiac sign’s Capricorn. She’s had roles in more than 100 movies and TV series, and is perhaps best known for her playing of Barbara Howard in the popular comedy series “Abbott Elementary”, created by Quinta Brunson, who’s also starring in it alongside Tyler James Williams and Janelle James. It follows the teachers who are working at reputedly the worst school in the US, the series has been airing since 2021, and has won 29 of its 70 award nominations.

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Education and early life

Sheryl and her younger brother Michael Ralph, who’s today a successful actor and comedian, were raised on both Long Island and in Mandeville, Jamaica by their Jamaican mother Ivy Ralph O. D. (Order of Distinction) who was a fashion designer and the woman behind the Kariba suit, and American father Stanley Ralph, who was a college professor.

Sheryl’s interest in acting was born while she was attending Uniondale High School, after having starred as Ado Annie in the school production of the play “Oklahoma!” She was crowned Miss Black Teen New York in 1971, and in the following year matriculated from Uniondale.

Sheryl then enrolled at Rutgers University on a full scholarship, and was 19 when she graduated with a degree in the performing arts in 1976, becoming the youngest woman to graduate from Rutgers.

Roles in movies

Sheryl’s debut film appearance was in the 1977 crime comedy “A Piece of the Action”, and some of her following roles were in the 1978 “The Krofft Comedy Hour”, the 1982 drama “The Neighborhood”, and the 1986 crime drama “Pros & Cons”.

She gained recognition in 1988, when cast to voice Rita in the popular animated adventure comedy “Oliver & Company”, directed by George Scribner, and which starred Joey Lawrence, Billy Joel and Cheech Marin. It follows a lost kitten who’s joined a group of dogs, and the movie won one of its three award nominations. Some of Sheryl’s following notable performances were in the 1989 romantic comedy “Skin Deep”, the 1990 drama “To Sleep with Anger”, and the 1991 western “The Gambler Returns: The Luck of the Draw”.

In 1996, she portrayed Ruth Clark in the family fantasy comedy “Bogus”, directed by Norman Jewison, and which starred Whoopi Goldberg, Gerard Depardieu and Haley Joel Osment. It follows a recently orphaned boy who’s been taken in by his godmother, who can also see his imaginary friend Bogus; the movie won one of its four award nominations. The remainder of the decade saw Sheryl appear in the 1997 crime thriller “Jamaica Beat”, the 1998 short comedy “Secrets”, and the 1999 romantic drama “Personals”.

To everybody who has called me, text me, sent me good vibes. I am so thankful. I am so humbled. I’m so grateful! Enjoy…

Posted by Sheryl Lee Ralph on Friday, December 30, 2022

She didn’t have many roles in the early 2000s; what was perhaps her most notable performance was her playing of Aunt Amy in the 2007 drama “Odicie”, directed by Dustin Gould, and which starred Wynter Daggs, Jessica Arrillaga and Zoe Cotton; it follows a nine years old African-American girl who’s learned that her mother’s lied to her about her uncle’s death.

Sheryl’s also known for her playing Abuta, of one of the main characters in the 2012 comedy “Christmas in Compton”, written and directed by David Raynr, and which also starred Keith David and Omar Gooding. It follows the life of Christmas tree lot owner Big Earl, and the film was nominated for a Guild of Music Supervisors Award for Best Music Supervision for Independent Film.

Sheryl’s three most recent film roles have been in the 2020 romantic fantasy “Christmas Comes Twice”, and in 2021 the short romantic drama “Prepared” and the romantic drama “Christmas in My Heart”.

Roles in TV series

Sheryl’s debut TV series role was her playing of Elizabeth (uncredited), in the 1978 episode “A Little Bit of England” of the action adventure “Black Sheep Squadron”, and she could then have been seen appearing in an episode of the comedies “A. E. S. Hudson Street”, “Husbands, Wives & Lovers”, and “Good Times”.

In 1983 and 1984, she portrayed Laura McCarthy in 282 episodes of the romantic drama “Search for Tomorrow”, which Agnes Nixon and Roy Winsor created, and which starred Dwight Weist, Larry Haine and Mary Stuart. It follows the life of Jo Gardner from Henderson who’s been married several times – the series aired its 5,100 episodes from 1951 through 1986, and won 10 of its 29 award nominations.

The remainder of the ‘80s saw Sheryl appear in an episode of the crime action “Hunter”, the drama “L. A. Law”, and the adventure comedy “Amazing Stories”; she also played the character Ginger St. James in 71 episodes of the comedy “It’s a Living”, from 1986 to 1989.

From 1996 through 2001, Sheryl starred as Dee Mitchell in the critically acclaimed family comedy “Moesha”, which Vida Spears and Sara Finney-Johnson created, and which also starred William Allen Young and Brandy Norwood. It follows the lives of a black teenager and her dysfunctional family, and the series won three of its 32 award nominations. The remainder of the decade saw Sheryl appear in an episode of the family comedy “7th Heaven”, the romantic drama “ER”, and the comedy “Exes & Ohs”, amongst a couple of other series.

From 2013 through 2015, she played Maggie Turner in all the 65 episodes of the family comedy “Instant Mom”, which Jessica Butler and Warren Bell created, and which starred Sydney Park, Michael Boatman and Tia Mowry-Hardrict. It follows a 25 years old party girl who’s married a father of three, and the series won two of its nine award nominations.

Sheryl’s three most recent TV series roles have been in the 2020 episode “Bugs” of the crime drama “Ray Donovan”, the 2022 episode “The Big Secret” of the comedy “How We Roll” and nine episodes of the fantasy science fiction “Motherland: Fort Salem” since 2020.

Other credits

She received special thanks for the 2010 short drama movie “Salvation Road”.

Sheryl has six directing credits – her debut was the 1998 short comedy movie “Secrets”, and she also directed the 2000 short film “Race Card”, the 2019 talk-show “Diva Defined”, and the 2020 episode “Like, Comment, Subscribe” of the mini-series “BET Her Presents: The Waiting Room”.

She has eight producing credits, with some of these being the 2015 documentary film “The Last Laugh”, the 2017 comedy series “H. E. I. R.”, and the 2019 short movie “First Day Back”.

Some of the talk-shows in which Sheryl’s recently made a guest appearance are “Today”, “Live with Kelly and Ryan”, and “Sherri”.

Awards and nominations

Sheryl’s won five of her 16 award nominations, including a 2022 Primetime Emmy win for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, for her performance in “Abbott Elementary”.

Some of her other wins include a 1991 Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Female, for “To Sleep with Anger”, and in 2022 an Autostraddle TV Award for Outstanding Performance by a Straight Actress in a Straight Role, and a 2022 Online Film & Television Association Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, both for “Abbott Elementary”.

Love life and husband

Sheryl keeps the details of her love life to herself, but it’s still widely known that she’s married twice. She wed her first husband, non-celebrity American Eric Maurice in 1990, and Sheryl gave birth to their son Etienne Maurice in 1992, while their daughter Ivy Maurice followed in 1995. Etienne’s today a successful actor, producer and director, perhaps best known for his directing of the 2017 comedy series “H. E. I. R.”. Sheryl and Eric divorced in 2001.

Since 30 July 2005, she’s been married to Pennsylvania State Senator Vincent Hughes – they don’t have children together.

Interesting facts and hobbies

Sheryl became an honorary member of the sorority Delta Sigma Theta in July 2004.

The Tougaloo College awarded her an honorary doctorate of humane letters in May 2008.

Some of Sheryl’s close friends are actress and producer Mablean Ephriam, and actresses Marla Gibbs and Loretta Devine.

She was mentored by the late American actor, producer and director Sidney Poitier when she was 19.

Sheryl’s Instagram account numbers more than 720,000 followers, with over 1,250 pictures uploaded onto it.

She’s deeply religious, and reads the Bible on a daily basis.

Sheryl’s favorite actresses are Anne Hathaway and Katharine Hepburn, while some of her favorite movies include “Song One”, “Colossal”, and “Armageddon Times”.

Height, eyes and wealth

Sheryl’s age is 65. She has brown eyes and long black hair, weighs around 155lbs (70kgs) and is 5ft 7ins (1.7m) tall.

Sheryl’s net worth’s been estimated at over $5 million, as of December 2022.

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