Cause of death
Hugh Harrell Jr.
Beulah Elizabeth Richardson
July 12, 1920 (
Vicksburg, Mississippi, U.S.
September 14, 2000, Vicksburg, Mississippi, United States
Guess Who's Coming t, Beloved, In the Heat of the Night, Take a Giant Step, Drugstore Cowboy
Katharine Houghton, Roy Glenn, Stanley Kramer, Isabel Sanford, William Rose
LisaGay Hamilton - Beah: A Black Woman Speaks - 2004 Peabody Award Acceptance Speech
Beah Richards (July 12, 1920 – September 14, 2000) was an American actress of stage, screen and television. She was a poet, playwright and author. During her career, Richards was nominated for a Tony and an Academy Award, and received two Primetime Emmy Awards for her performances on television.
- LisaGay Hamilton Beah A Black Woman Speaks 2004 Peabody Award Acceptance Speech
- Life and career
- Beah richards speaks
Life and career
She was born Beulah Elizabeth Richardson 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 began 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 grandmother, 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 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, Beloved and In the Heat of the Night.
She made numerous guest television appearances including roles on Beauty and the Beast, The Bill Cosby Show, Sanford and Son, Benson, Designing Women, The Practice, The Big Valley and ER (as Dr. Peter Benton's mother.) She was the winner of two Emmy Awards, one in 1988 for her appearance on the series Frank's Place, and another in 2000 for her appearance on The Practice.
Richards was diagnosed with emphysema in 2000. Richards died from emphysema in her hometown of Vicksburg, Mississippi at the age 80.
In the last year of her life, Richards was the subject of a documentary created by actress Lisa Gay 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.