Birth Date: July 12, 1920
Birth Place: Vicksburg, Mississippi, USA
Date of Death: September 14, 2000 / Age: 80
Location of Death: Vicksburg, Mississippi, USA
Cause of Death: emphysema
Biography: Beah Richards (Beulah Richardson at birth) (12 July 1920 to 14 September 2000) was an American actress with a long career on stage, screen and television. She was also a poet, playwright and author.
Born in Vicksburg, Mississippi, her mother was a seamstress and PTA advocate and her father was a Baptist minister. In 1948 she graduated from Dillard University in New Orleans and two years later moved to New York City. Her career started to take off in 1955 when she portrayed an eighty-four-year-old-grandmother in the off-Broadway show Take A Giant Step. She often played the role of a mother or grand-mother, and continued acting her entire life. She appeared in the original Broadway productions of Purlie Victorious, The Miracle Worker, and A Raisin in the Sun.
Richards was nominated for a Tony award for her 1965 performance in James Baldwin's The Amen Corner. She also received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance as Sidney Poitier's mother in the 1967 film Guess Who's Coming to Dinner. Other notable movie performances include Hurry Sundown, The Great White Hope, and Beloved
She made numerous guest television appearances including recurrent roles on The Bill Cosby Show and ER (as Dr. Peter Benton's mother.) She was the winner of two Emmy Awards.
In the last year of her life, Richards was the subject of a documentary created by actress LisaGay Hamilton. The documentary Beah: A black woman speaks was created from over 70 hours of their conversations. The film won the Grand Jury Prize at the AFI Film Festival.