Birth Date: September 13, 1948
Birth Place: Birmingham, Alabama, USA
Also Credited as: Nell-Ruth Carter
Date of Death: January 23, 2003 / Age: 54
Location of Death: Beverly Hills, California, USA
Cause of Death: complications from diabetes
Biography: Nell Carter (September 13, 1948–January 23, 2003) was an American singer and actress.
Born Nell Ruth Hardy in Birmingham, Alabama, Carter won a Tony Award for her work in Ain't Misbehavin in 1978.
But Carter is perhaps best known as the loving housekeeper Nell Harper on the 1980's comedy sitcom Gimme a Break!, which earned Carter Golden Globe and Emmy Award nominations. The popular show lasted from from 1981 to 1987.
After the show ended, Carter appeared in low-budget films, TV specials, and on game shows such as Match Game and To Tell the Truth.
Carter converted to Judaism in 1982.
Carter died from heart disease complicated by diabetes in 2003. (In 1992, she had surgery to remove aneurysms. She had also often struggled with alcohol and drugs). She was the mother of two adopted teenagers.
When she died, friends and family were surprised to discover barely $200 in her bank account. They were further startled to discover that Carter had been living as a closeted lesbian, and that custody of her children had been left to her domestic partner. At the time of her death, Carter had been rehearsing for a production of A Raisin in the Sun in Long Beach, California and filming a movie, Swing.
Carter is interred in the Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery in Culver City, California.