Loretta Devine

Active - 1984 - Present  |   Born - Aug 21, 1949 in Houston, Texas, United States  |   Genres - Comedy, Drama, Comedy Drama

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Born in Houston in 1949, actress Loretta Devine rose to fame on-stage in the original Broadway production of Dreamgirls before parlaying her acclaim into a career in film and television. Her first major onscreen role came in 1987, when she was cast as a resident advisor on the Cosby Show-spin-off A Different World. Though she left the series after the first season, it was far from her final gig as a TV series regular.

Throughout the early '90s, Devine appeared in small supporting roles in features films such as Class Act and Amos & Andrew as well as a number of TV guest spots on shows ranging from Roc to Picket Fences. In 1995, Devine's career was given a shot in the arm when she was cast as one of the leads in Waiting to Exhale, an ensemble film that proved to be a success with both critics and audiences. More supporting work followed, and in 2000 she was cast as a lead on David E. Kelley's Fox drama Boston Public, a show that would go on to be nominated for multiple Emmys over the course of its four seasons on the air.

Devine's career came full-circle in 2006 when she was cast in a small role in the film adaptation of Dreamgirls, the stage musical that launched her career. The following year, she was cast as a regular on ABC's supernatural legal drama Eli Stone.

In 2010 she appeared in the American remake of Death at a Funeral, the comedy Lottery Ticket, and Tyler Perry's ambitious For Colored Girls. In 2011 she appeared in Tyler Perry's Madea's Big Happy Family, and the next year she had a role on the TV series The Client List.

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Factsheet

  • Got her start in Broadway productions of Hair, Dreamgirls and Bob Fosse's Big Deal.
  • Has appeared in several David E. Kelley TV series, including Ally McBeal, Boston Public and Boston Legal.
  • Has earned multiple NAACP Image Awards, including wins for her work in Waiting to Exhale, The Preacher's Wife and Boston Public.
  • Appeared in the 2006 film adaptation of Dreamgirls as a jazz singer; Devine originated the role of Lorrell Robinson during the show's first run on Broadway.
  • Wrote and performed in the one-woman show Pieces of Me in 2011.
  • Received the Pan African Film Festival's Life Time Achievement Award in 2012.
  • Supports the Amazing Grace Conservatory, a performing arts center for at-risk youth.