Gloria Foster

Active - 1964 - 2019  |   Born - Nov 15, 1933 in Chicago, Illinois, United States  |   Died - Sep 29, 2001   |   Genres - Drama, Crime

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Biography by Hal Erickson

Distinguished African-American actress Gloria Foster studied at the Goodman Theatre, making her earliest professional appearances with the University of Chicago County Theater. Foster's first Broadway role was Ruth in Lorraine Hansbury's Raisin in the Sun. In 1963, she appeared in the powerful dramatic review In White America, earning an Obie Award as well as a two-page spread in Life Magazine. The following year, she was honored with a Theatre World award for her portrayal of Medea, one of dozens of classic stage roles to her credit. She made her film bow in 1963's The Cool World, followed by a sizeable role opposite Ivan Dixon in the critically acclaimed Nothing But a Man. She later co-starred with Bill Cosby (To All My Friends on Shore, Leonard Part 6) and Sidney Poitier (Separate but Equal). Gloria Foster's many television credits include two guest appearances on The Mod Squad, co-starring with her then-husband, actor/director Clarence Williams III. Though her film roles remained relatively scarce throughout the 1990s, Foster's role as The Oracle in the 1999 metaphysical sci-fi smash The Matrix proved a welcome sight to fans who hadn't seen her since her 1993 television effort Percy and Thunder. Returning to the role for 2003's The Matrix Reloaded, Foster sadly died of diabetes before completing all of her scenes for the film (and having not even begun shooting her scenes for the same year's The Matrix Revolutions). She was 64.

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  • Was raised by her maternal grandparents on a farm.
  • Studied acting at Chicago's Goodman Theatre.
  • Moved to New York in the early 1960s.
  • Met former husband Clarence Williams III on the set of The Cool World (1963).
  • Passed away during the filming of The Matrix Reloaded (2003).
  • Actress Mary Alice, who replaced her as The Oracle in The Matrix Revolutions (2003), was her costar in the play Having Our Say in 1995.