Though her first role as a sassy prostitute who gives George C. Scott a piece of her mind in The New Centurions may not have been the most flattering role to launch a career with, stage, screen, and television actress Beverly Hope Atkinson would later get the chance to shine in expanding on her sometimes sympathetically desperate characterizations with a recurring role as a troubled drug addict in Steven Bochco's Hill Street Blues.
A New York native who studied under Lee Strasberg in the 1960s and later became a member of the Actors Studio, Atkinson attended New York's City College before joining the Café LaMama Theater troupe on the East Coast, and Theater West in Los Angeles. Frequently touring on-stage, Atkinson relocated to Hollywood in the 1970s and essayed the majority of her roles while residing in California. Following up Centurions with film roles in Cornbread, Earl and Me (1975) and on the small screen in Law and Order (1976) and Skag (1980), Atkinson continued to work on-stage as she essayed roles in television and film.
In December of 2001, Atkinson died of cancer in Los Angeles. She was 66.