Shari Headley is a former model and an American actress popularly known for her role as Lisa McDowell in the 1988 box-office hit romantic comedy film, Coming to America.
Shari Headley’s Bio, Age
Headley was born on July 15, 1964, in Queens, New York City, USA. She is from a middle-class family and shares a mixed ethnicity as her mother is from Brooklyn, New York, and her father is from Trinidad.
She is the youngest of four children, her father, Godfrey Headley, a dental technician who died in 1982, was said to have migrated to the United States when he was 16 years old.
In Brooklyn, he met a beauty named Sarah ( a school registrar) on the beach at Coney Island. He tried to impress her by swimming farther and farther out into the ocean. Then she rose from her sandy spot and left. After that day, he pursued her until she agreed to marry him.
The Headleys had one boy and three girls and Shari is the youngest of the four children.
As the baby of the family, Shari enjoyed being the center of attention. A natural-born ham, she sang into her hairbrush at home and starred in plays at school. She was fascinated by medicine and had wanted to become a physician until she saw an autopsy.
“I had the intelligence to pursue it, but I didn’t have the stomach,” she had said.
Shari Headley’s Career
Headley began her career as a model after she dropped out of Queens College and signed up with the Ford modelling agency, doing commercials for L’Oreal, Johnson’s Baby Oil and Burger King. One of her biggest challenges was saying “Szechuan beef” for Stouffer’s Lean Cuisine. “I wanted to say something easier, like teriyaki beef,” she said.
She also appeared in several known magazines such as Glamour and Mademoiselle. Her journey into the acting world began in 1985 when she first appeared on the NBC television show The Cosby Show.
She also featured in Miami Vice, Quantum Leap, and Matlock and in 1988, she played Lisa – the female leading role opposite Eddie Murphy in the romantic comedy film, Coming to America – a movie that brought her to the limelight.
Murphy handpicked her after just one reading, with no ulterior motives or any hanky-panky between them. “Everyone went their separate ways after the day’s shooting,” reports Shari.
Her other movie appearances include The Preacher’s Wife (1996) and Johnson Family Vacation (2004).
On television films, Headley starred as Det. Mimi Reed in the ABC daytime soap opera, All My Children (1991 – 1994), she was the lead actress in Fox short-lived drama series, 413 Hope St which aired from 1997-1998 – for this series, she received NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series nomination.
She also starred in Guiding Light (2001-2002), The Bold and the Beautiful (2004-2005) and in the comedy-drama film Towelhead. She went on to guest star in Veronica Mars, House, Castle, and Switched at Birth.
Shari Headley’s Husband, Son, Family
Headley was married to actor/entertainer Christopher Martin, better known as “Play” from the hip-hop duo Kid N’ Play from May 1993 until they divorced in June 1995. They had a son together, Skyler Martin in April 1994. After the divorce, Shari raised her son alone as a single mother.
In 2001, two Long Island judges ordered Christopher “Play” Martin to resume paying child support he owes for his then 7-year-old son. At the time, the rapper owed $42,000 in back payments and the judges ordered him to start shelling out the $159 a week he was supposed to be paying since a 1996 ruling.
Speaking on her two-year marriage to Chris Martin, she said: “I’m very blessed that the union produced my beautiful son. I’m so proud of my son.”
“That’s all I can really say. I’m happy with that. I haven’t seen or heard from him in a very long time.”
“It is what it is, I made the choice to get divorced.”
Shari Headley’s Body Measurement/ Net Worth
Shari has a slim body with a height of 5″8 (173 cm), black hair and dark brown eyes. Her worth is put at $2 million.
Other Facts About Shari Headley
Shari Headley is also a philanthropist and has been actively taking part in Saving Our daughters, where she has committed to preventing abuse. The co-founders of Saving Our Daughters, campaign Curtis Benjamin, with his wife, Debbie, describes Headley as “a godsend.”
“She’s definitely a blessing,” says Benjamin, whose organization addresses bullying, domestic violence, dating abuse, homelessness and other issues affecting girls and young women between the ages of 10 and 20. “She’s what celebrities need to be. She’s great!”
In 2013, she received the President’s Volunteer Service Award under Barack Obama. “That was yet another proud moment,” she says.
At 53, the beautiful Lisa hasn’t really changed much from the young beauty we all saw in the movie Coming to America 30 years ago. Speaking of the secret to her beauty and shape she said: “It’s important to let your beauty shine, you have to start with your inner beauty.”
“That includes being happy for others, surrounding yourself with positive people and not letting drama queens rule your life. If you’re an ugly person inside, I don’t want to have anything to do with you.”
And on the outside looks:
“The No. 1 thing is drinking a lot of water, I drink tons of water because water really flushes your system. … If you’re not moving it, it’s not a good thing, and it really shows up in your skin.”
“I use a lot of oil,” she adds, from coconut oil to cocoa butter.
“I’m physically active. I love to walk. I love nature. I try to eat well,” says Headley, who has been a vegetarian for 30 years.