Helen Martin

Helen Martin

Birth name: Helen Dorothy Martin
Born: July 23, 1909
Died: March 25, 2000 (at age 90)
Birthplace: St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
Popularity:
Biography

Helen Dorothy Martin (July 23, 1909 - March 25, 2000) was an American actress of stage and television. She was best known for her roles as Wanda on the CBS sitcom Good Times (1974-79) and Pearl Shay on the NBC sitcom 227 (1985-90).

Early life and education

Martin was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the daughter of Amanda Frankie (née Fox) and William Martin, a minister. She attended public schools, which at the time were segregated.

Career

Martin moved to New York to pursue a career in acting. She was a Broadway character actress for many decades, debuting in Orson Welles' production of Native Son in 1941. She appeared in at least a dozen Broadway shows, including Jean Genet's The Blacks, the musical Raisin from 1973 to 1975, Ossie Davis' Purlie Victorious (and later the musical version, which was called Purlie), The Amen Corner and Tennessee Williams' Period of Adjustment. She was an original member of the American Negro Theater.

Martin became widely known later in life due to her roles in popular television series, which brought her a large audience. She had a recurring role as Wanda on the television series Good Times, and later as the neighbor Pearl Shay on the television sitcom 227, which lasted from 1985 until 1990. She also played on the short sitcoms Baby, I'm Back (as mother in-law, Luzelle) and That's My Mama.

She played a variety of grandmothers in films: Hollywood Shuffle (1987), Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood (1996), I Got the Hook Up (1998), and Mama Doll in Bulworth (1998).

Helen Martin died of a heart attack on March 25, 2000 in Monterey, California.

Actress

  • 2000: Something to Sing About (TV) .... Elderly Woman
  • 1999: At Face Value .... Miss Ella
  • 1998: I Got the Hook Up .... Grandmother ... aka I Got the Hook-Up (USA: review title)
  • 1998: Bulworth .... Momma Doll
  • 1998: Since You've Been Gone (TV) .... Old Lady
  • 1998: The Jamie Foxx Show .... Mother Superior (1 episode, 1998)
  • 1997: Kiss the Girls .... Nana Cross
  • 1997: I'm Bout It (V) .... Mrs. Alberta
  • 1996: Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood .... Loc Dog's Grandma
  • 1995: The Wayans Bros. .... Mother Evans (1 episode, 1995)
  • 1995: The Parent 'Hood .... Ms. Morris (1 episode, 1995)
  • 1994: Beverly Hills Cop III .... Grandma
  • 1993: The Pitch .... Old Woman
  • 1991: House Party 2 .... Mrs. Deevers
  • 1991: Doc Hollywood .... Maddie, Welcoming Committee
  • 1991: A Rage in Harlem .... Mrs. Canfield
  • 1990: The Flash .... Sadie Grosso (1 episode, 1990)
  • 1990: Night Angel .... Sadie
  • 1990: 227 .... Pearl Shay (116 episodes, 1985-1990)
  • 1989: Jackée (TV) .... Pearl Shay
  • 1989: Full House .... Shirley (1 episode, 1989)
  • 1989: A Raisin in the Sun (TV) .... Mrs. Johnson
  • 1987: Hollywood Shuffle .... Bobby's Grandmother
  • 1985: Amos (TV) .... Mrs. McKenzie
  • 1984: Benson .... Benson's Aunt (1 episode, 1984)
  • 1984: Repo Man .... Mrs. Parks
  • 1984: St. Elsewhere .... Elderly Lady (1 episode, 1984)
  • 1984: The Jerk, Too (TV) .... Grandma Johnson
  • 1984: Hardcastle and McCormick (1 episode, 1984)
  • 1983: Deal of the Century .... Baptist #3
  • 1983: The Jeffersons .... Alice (1 episode, 1983)
  • 1983: Alice .... Customer (1 episode, 1983)
  • 1983: Hill Street Blues .... Neighbor / ... (2 episodes, 1981-1983)
  • 1982: Wacko .... Harbinger's mother
  • 1982: T. J. Hooker .... Mrs. Sears (1 episode, 1982)
  • 1981: The White Shadow .... Louise / ... (2 episodes, 1980-1981)
  • 1980: The Stockard Channing Show .... Maid (1 episode, 1980)
  • 1979: Better Late Than Never (TV)
  • 1979: Good Times .... Wanda (7 episodes, 1974-1979)
  • 1979: Lawman Without a Gun (TV) .... Mrs. Cartwright
  • 1979: Dummy (TV) .... Mrs. Harrod
  • 1979: What's Happening!! .... Millie / ... (3 episodes, 1976-1979)
  • 1978: Baby, I'm Back .... Luzelle Carter (12 episodes, 1978)
  • 1978: Cindy (TV) .... Flower lady
  • 1978: A Hero Ain't Nothin' but a Sandwich .... Mrs. Bell
  • 1977: Starsky and Hutch .... Dirty Nellie / ... (2 episodes, 1977)
  • 1977: Insight .... Bessie (1 episode, 1977)
  • 1977: Sanford and Son .... Church Sister #1 / ... (4 episodes, 1976-1977)
  • 1975: That's My Mama .... Laura (6 episodes, 1975)
  • 1973: Maude .... Stella (2 episodes, 1973-1974)
  • 1974: Death Wish .... Alma Lee Brown
  • 1973: Big Daddy (TV)
  • 1971: The Anderson Tapes (uncredited) .... Minor Role
  • 1970: Where's Poppa? .... Second Job Applicant
  • 1970: Cotton Comes to Harlem .... Church Sister
  • 1969: J.T. (TV) .... Mrs. Hill
  • 1955: The Phenix City Story .... Helen Ward

[ Source: Wikipedia ]