Lynne Thigpen

Lynne Thigpen

Infobox actor

imagesize =
caption =
birthdate = birth date|1948|12|22|mf=y
birthplace = Joliet, Illinois, U.S.
deathdate =death date and age|2003|3|12|1948|12|22|mf=y
deathplace =Marina del Rey, California
birthname = Cherlynne Theresa Thigpen
othername = Lynne Richmond
homepage =
yearsactive = 1971-2003
academyawards =
tonyawards = Best Featured Actress in a Play
1997 "An American Daughter"

Cherlynne Theresa “Lynne” Thigpen (December 22 1948 – March 12 2003) was an American stage and television actress.

Early life

Thigpen was born and raised in Joliet, Illinois, and obtained a degree in teaching. She taught English in high school briefly in her hometown, while studying theatre and dance at the University of Illinois, then in 1971, she moved to New York City to begin her career as a stage actor.



She had a long and prolific theater career, appearing initially in musicals such as "Godspell", "The Night that Made America Famous", "The Magic Show", "Working", "Tintypes" and "An American Daughter" (for which she won her Tony Award for her portrayal of Dr. Judith Kaufman in 1997).


Her first feature film role was "Godspell" (1973) co-starring opposite Victor Garber and David Haskell. She appeared notably as the omniscient Radio DJ in "The Warriors". She notably played the mother of an expelled student in the 1989 film "Lean on Me", a story of famous American principal Joe Louis Clark. Her last film was "Anger Management" (2003) starring Adam Sandler and Jack Nicholson (which was released a month following her death and paid tribute to her in the end credits).


Thigpen was perhaps best known for playing "The Chief" of the ACME Detective Agency in the long-running PBS children's geography game show "Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?", which involves both education and comedy, and, on occasion, musical performance. She was the only "World" cast member to star in "Time". She also appeared on another children's show, "Bear in the Big Blue House", voicing the character of Luna, the moon.

She also appeared in many other television series during her career, most notably her recurring role as Grace Keefer on the ABC daytime drama "All My Children" and a supporting role as Ella Mae Farmer, a statistics clerk for the Washington, D.C. police department, on the CBS crime drama "The District" (for which she played the role until her death in early 2003). She has guest starred in episodes of "Gimme A Break!", "L.A. Law", "Law & Order", "The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd", and "Thirtysomething".


She appeared in radio skits of the Garrison Keillor program "A Prairie Home Companion". Her dusky voice was also heard on over 20 books on tape. The books were often works with socially relevant themes. [ [ Muppet Central Articles - Tributes: Lynne Thigpen ] ]


On March 12 2003, Thigpen was found dead at her home in Marina del Rey, California, by a friend; she had died of a cerebral hemorrhage. She had been complaining of headaches for several days. Drugs and foul play were ruled out by the coroner's autopsy, which found "acute cardiac dysfunction, non-traumatic systemic and spontaneous intraventricular hemorrhage and hemorrhage in the brain". She was interred at Elmhurst Cemetery, Joliet, Illinois.


When Thigpen died, "The District" had a funeral for her character in the third season finale as well. Her untimely death led to a four-year hiatus of "Bear in the Big Blue House".

A planned film version was also put on hold. According to journalist Tara Mooney ("Shadow"), who was interviewed by Ray D'Arcy on Ireland's Today FM in 2005, "the crew's hearts just weren't in it anymore" two years after Thigpen's death. Friends established a non-profit foundation, The Lynne Thigpen - Bobo Lewis Foundation, to help young actresses and actors learn how to survive and succeed in New York theater, to mentor the next generation of Broadway stars.

She was posthumously nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award for voicing Luna the moon in "Bear in the Big Blue House", but lost to Jeff Corwin. Her last film, "Anger Management" (2003), starring Adam Sandler and Jack Nicholson, was dedicated to her memory.



*"Godspell": 1973
*"The Night That Made America Famous": 1975
*"The Magic Show": 1976
*"But Never Jam Today"
*"Tintypes": 1980-81
*August Wilson's "Fences": 1988
*Athol Fugard's "Boesman and Lena": Obie award, 1992
*"A Month of Sundays"
*Wendy Wasserstein's "An American Daughter":1996-7 (Tony Award 1997)
*"Jar the Floor"


*"A Prairie Home Companion"


*"Godspell" (1973)
*"The Warriors" (1979) (She appears as the radio announcer, only her lips are seen.)
*"Tootsie" (1982)
*"Streets of Fire" (1984) (She appears as a subway train engineer, reading in her train; brief dialogue with the main character.)
*"Lean on Me" (1989)
*"Article 99" (1992)
*"Bob Roberts" (1992)
*"The Paper" (1994)
*"Blankman" (1994)
*"Random Hearts" (1999)
*"The Insider" (1999)
*"Bicentennial Man" (1999)
*"Shaft" (2000)
*"Novocaine" (2001)
*"Anger Management" (2003) – Posthumously Released


*"Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?" as The Chief
*"Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego?" as The Chief
*"The District" as Chief Jack Mannion's Director of Administration, Ella Farmer
*"All My Children" as nurse Grace Keefer, aunt of Noah (played by "Keith Hamilton Cobb")
*"L.A. Law"
*"Law & Order" as Judge Ida Boucher
*"Bear in the Big Blue House" as Luna
*"Frank's Place" as the "good" voodoo woman who helps Frank evict a "bad" voodoo female tenant, played by "Rosalind Cash"
*"King of the Hill" as a judge who hears the case when Hank disputes a credit card charge over nonexistent movies he never ordered
*"Roseanne (TV series)" as a doctor


*"Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?" as The Chief
*"Where in the U.S.A. is Carmen Sandiego?" as The Chief
*"Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego?" as The Chief
*"The Warriors (game) as Radio DJ


* America's War on Poverty, PBS
* All God's Children Need Traveling Shoes, by Maya Angelou
* The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, by Ernest J. Gaines
* Bear in the Big Blue House, as Luna
* The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
* House of Dies Drear, by Virginia Hamilton
* Jazz, by Toni Morrison
* One Better, by Rosalyn McMillan
* Parable of the Sower, by Octavia E. Butler
* Paradise, by Toni Morrison
* People of the Century, by Time magazine editors
* Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, by Mildred D. Taylor
* Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison
* Sula, by Toni Morrison
* Tar Baby, by Toni Morrison
* Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston
* The Trials of Nikki Hill, by Christopher Darden and Dick Lochte
* Zeely, by Virginia Hamilton
* The Women of Brewster Place, by Gloria Naylor
* 2000X: Tales of the Next Millennia, science fiction collection

Awards and nominations

*1997 Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play – "An American Daughter"

*1987 Los Angeles Drama Critics Award – "Fences"
*1992 Obie Award – "Boesman and Lena"
*1994, 1995, 1996 Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Performer in a Children's Series - "Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?"
*1996 NAACP Image Awards for Informational Youth or Children's Series/Special – "Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?"
*1997 NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Actress in a Daytime Drama Series – "All My Children"
*2000 Obie Award – "Jar the Floor"
*2000 AudioFile Awards Golden Voices for the Year
*2004 Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Performer in a Children's Series – "Bear in the Big Blue House" (Note: This nomination was posthumous)

*Lynne Thigpen Elementary School, Joliet, IL [ [ Lynne Thigpen School] ]


External links

* [ The Lynne Thigpen - Bobo Lewis Foundation]
* [ Lynne Thigpen] at Harpo's Juke Joint Wiki
* [ Lynne Thigpen]

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