Sherri Shepherd

Active - 2005 - 2020  |   Born - Apr 22, 1970 in Chicago, Illinois, United States  |   Genres - Comedy

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Biography by Nathan Southern

African-American comedian Sherri Shepherd debuted on the small screen in the mid-'90s, with appearances on such popular series programs as Friends, Emeril, and Less Than Perfect -- typically as aggressive and outspoken, spunky women. Shepherd then broke through to national acclaim and recognition in the mid-2000s -- both cinematically, with prominent billing in the features Beauty Shop (2005) and Who's Your Caddy? (2007), and on television, as one of the hostesses on the popular daytime talk program The View. Shepherd grew up in the Chicago area. When her parents divorced at an early age, the mother took custody of Sherri and her three sisters and moved with them to California. An experience watching a comedian do a standup act inspired Shepherd to step behind the microphone. As an actress, she debuted on the sitcom Cleghorne!, then landed guest appearances on the aforementioned series. As an outspoken and committed, born-again Christian, Shepherd is extremely guarded about which roles she accepts and which scenes and dialogue she will perform onscreen, guidelines that distinguish her from many of her contemporaries but have reportedly not hindered her career or her popularity.

She appeared in the Oscar-winning Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire, and joined the cast of the Madagascar animated franchise as Alex's mother.In 2011 she was cast in Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son, and in 2012 she played opposite Katherine Heigl in One for the Money.

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  • Moved to Los Angeles while she was still in high school.
  • Was inspired to pursue stand-up comedy after seeing Andrew Dice Clay perform in 1990.
  • Worked as a legal secretary while doing stand-up at night. (She had also considered becoming a mortician.)
  • Early breaks on television came with roles on Ellen Cleghorne's 1990s show Cleghorne! and, in the following decade, on Less Than Perfect, with Sara Rue and Andy Dick.
  • Replaced Star Jones as a host on The View in 2007. Her debut was less than auspicious: During a discussion about evolution, she nervously admitted to not knowing that the world was round, adding, as she told New York magazine, "I'm just trying to take care of my son." Her remark drew warm responses from viewers, who said they cared less about Earth's shape than about caring for their children. 
  • Her painful 2006 divorce helped inspire her sitcom, Sherri, which debuted on Lifetime in 2009.  
  • Published her autobiography Permission Slips: Every Woman's Guide to Giving Herself a Break in 2009.
  • She is the spokesperson for YAI Network, which spreads public awareness about the needs and abilities of people with developmental disabilities.