Lynn Whitfield is a popular black American actress and producer whose career received a major boost after she won a Primetime Emmy Award in the category of Outstanding Lead Actress for portraying Josephine Baker in the 1991 biopic titled The Josephine Baker Story. She later starred in other equally successful projects such as A Thin Line Between Love and Hate, Head of State, Eve’s Bayou, Madea’s Family Reunion, among others. In the latter part of her carer, she landed a recurring role in the “Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN)” drama series titled, Greenleaf, in which she stars as the cruel lady Mae. Read on for more interesting facts.
Lynn Whitfield- Bio, Age
Lynn Whitfield was born in Baton Rouge on the 6th of May 1953. After becoming a third generation BFA graduate from Howard University, she moved on to study and perform with the Black Repertory Company in Washington, D.C. In 1981, Lynn Whitfield debuted professionally as an actress in the NBC produced serial drama, Hill Street Blues, where she was cast as Jill Thomas. Two years later, she played the role of Thelma Cleland in the 1983 comedy movie, Doctor Detroit.
Her follow-up projects were; The Slugger’s Wife, and Jaws: The Revenge and Silverado. Lynn then got the opportunity to star in a television series – The George McKenna Story – where she acted alongside, Jonnie Mae Gibson and Denzel Washington. She also acted alongside Cicely Tyson and Oprah Winfrey in the ABC miniseries, The Women of Brewster Place. In 1988, she starred in the female-centred medical drama series titled, Heart Beat, alongside top actresses including; Gail Strickland, Laura Johnson, as well as Kate Mulgrew.
More Movies And Television Roles
The major recognition for her work came in 1991 when she was cast in the title role of “The Josephine Baker Story.” She beat over a hundred other talented actresses to get the role where she had to embody the character of the American who became a civil rights activist, a French resistance fighter during World War II and a Folies Bergère star. Lynn Whitfield also had a good career run in the 2000s, and some of her most credible works include; Head of State, Madea’s Family Reunion, The Rebound, and others.
She also accepted roles in a good number of low budget movies including Disney Channel movies, The Cheetah Girls and The Cheetah Girls 2 where she acted as Dorothea Garibaldi. In 2015, Lynn Whitfield’s acting prowess was employed in order for her to take on the role of the treacherous, Lady Mae Greenleaf, in the Oprah Winfrey Network TV series “Greenleaf.” The series boasts of characters such as; Merle Dandridge, Kim Hawthorne, Keith David and the media mogul herself, Oprah Winfrey.
Family – Parents, Siblings
Lynn Whitfield was born to a Creole father, Valerian Smith, a dentist and an African-American mother, Jean Smith (née Butler), who worked as a finance agency officer. Lynn happens to be the eldest of the four children her parents had. Her father was a prominent figure who aided the formation of community theatres in Baton Rouge where she was born. It was due to this that Lynn began to develop an interest in acting as a profession.
Personal Life – Daughter, Husband
The beautiful Lynn Whitfield has been in a few romantic relationships in her lifetime of which some ended in marriage while most were short-lived. In 1973, she began dating director, actor and playwright, Vantile Whitfield. The following year, in 1974, they both tied the knot. Sadly, just after four years of marriage, the pair split. Lynn would remain single for a long time after her divorce until she met director, Brian Gibson. They later got married in 1990. On the second of August 1991, the couple welcomed a daughter whom they named, Grace Gibson. In 1992, just like her previous marriage, the union with Brian also ended in a divorce.
No doubt, Lynn Whitfield is a veteran who has contributed her own quota to what Hollywood is today. Having worked extensively both in television series and movies over the years, she has not only acquired fame but fortune as well, which puts her net worth at an impressive $3 million. Though her acting opportunities have reduced greatly due to her age and the influx of new talents into the movie industry, she manages to maintain a good standing financially with her investments and some acting jobs she gets every now and then.