- Nell Carter, who played the sassy, matronly housekeeper on the 1980s sitcom “Gimme a Break!” and received a Tony Award for her performance in the Broadway musical “Ain’t Misbehavin’,” died Thursday, her publicist said.
….Carter was in rehearsals at a Long Beach theater for “Raisin,” the musical version of “Raisin in the Sun.”
In addition to Carter’s Tony win for “Ain’t Misbehavin’,” she won an Emmy in 1982 for the TV version. One of the highlights of the show – a revue based on the music of Fats Waller – was her soulful rendition of “Mean to Me.”
Her NBC comedy “Gimme a Break!” ran from 1981 to 1987, and garnered her two more Emmy nominations, in 1982 and 1983.
….Blessed with a big voice and stage presence, the heavyset Carter prided herself on her range as a performer, doing musicals and drama as well as comedy.
Early in her career, she performed as a singer on the gospel circuit. She moved on to coffeehouses and nightclubs in her native Birmingham, Ala., before going on to New York. [AP]