Lonette McKee

Active - 1976 - 2011  |   Born - Jul 22, 1954 in Detroit, MI  |   Genres - Drama

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From stage to screen to recording studios, Lonette McKee has worked as both an actress and vocalist. Although actors who also sing have been a dime a dozen since the earliest days of stage and cinema, McKee's groundbreaking performance as the first African-American actress to portray the character of Julie in a major American production of Show Boat would have earned her a place in entertainment history even if she hadn't gone on to earn Image Award nominations for her roles in To Dance With Olivia (1997) and As the World Turns. A Motor City native, McKee kicked off her career in the entertainment industry when she became a recording artist in her hometown as a young teen, releasing an album on the Detroit-based Sussex label before being drawn to the screen in the mid-'70s. Cast in a key role in the 1976 musical drama Sparkle, McKee made an impression as a drug-addicted singer in a Supremes-like band, and she quickly caught the eye of casting agents. Appearing in such features as The Cotton Club and Brewster's Millions during the '80s, it was also during this period that she essayed her Tony-nominated role in Show Boat. Spike Lee later cast her in three of his films during the '90s: Jungle Fever, Malcolm X, and He Got Game. After being voted one of People magazine's "50 Most Beautiful People in the World" in 1995, McKee began a two-year stint on the soap opera As the World Turns. She also returned to the studio in 1992 to record Natural Love, her first album in nearly 20 years. The actress alternated between film and television in the early 2000s with parts in Men of Honor (2001), Honey (2003), and a recurring role in the NBC series Third Watch. McKee is married to a New York social worker and is the sister of dancer/actress Kathrine McKee.

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