American actress best known for playing the original Aunt Vivian on the television sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. She has also appeared on the shows Gilmore Girls, Friends, and the Bernie Mac show.
She grew up on Chicago's South Side and received a scholarship to attend the prestigious Juilliard School in New York City.
Her television credits include spots on Friends, One Life to Live, Gilmore Girls, and The Bernie Mac Show.
She married James Whitten in 1990, and the couple had a son. Following her divorce from Whitten, she married Larry Kraft.
She played Tantomile in the original Broadway production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical Cats.