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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Lynne Thigpen
LynneThigpen.jpg
Thigpen as Miss Barrett in the 1989 film Lean On Me
Born
Cherlynne Theresa Thigpen

(1948-12-22)December 22, 1948
DiedMarch 12, 2003(2003-03-12) (aged 54)
Resting placeElmhurst Cemetery, Joliet, Illinois
Other namesLynne Richmond
Alma materUniversity of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign
OccupationActress, singer
Years active1971–2003
TelevisionThe Chief in Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?
Luna the Moon (voice) in Bear in the Big Blue House
Awards1992 Obie Award – (Boesman and Lena)
1997 Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play – (An American Daughter)
1999 Obie Award – (Jar the Floor)

Cherlynne Theresa "Lynne" Thigpen (December 22, 1948 – March 12, 2003) was an American actress of stage and screen. She was known for her role as "The Chief" of ACME Crimenet in the game show Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? and various spinoffs, and for her role as "Luna" (The Moon) in the Playhouse Disney children's series Bear in the Big Blue House. For her varied television work, Thigpen was nominated for six Daytime Emmy Awards. She won a Tony Award in 1997 for portraying Dr. Judith Kaufman in An American Daughter, and also played Ella Farmer on The District (2000-2003).

Early life and education

Thigpen was born in Joliet, Illinois, to George and Celia (Martin) Thigpen. She obtained a degree in teaching.[1][2] She taught high school English briefly while studying theatre at the University of Illinois on an acting fellowship.[3]

Career

Stage

Thigpen moved to New York City in 1971 to begin her career as a stage actress. She had a long and prolific theater career and appeared in numerous musicals including 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).[4]

In 1995, she served as associate artistic director of the acclaimed off-Broadway theater, Circle Repertory Company, while Austin Pendleton served as artistic director.

Film

Her first feature film role was as Lynne in Godspell (1973), co-starring opposite Victor Garber and David Haskell. Thigpen also portrayed a radio DJ (shown only from the nose down) in Walter Hill's The Warriors (1979), and Leonna Barrett, the mother of an expelled student, in Lean on Me (1989), the story of American high school principal Joe Louis Clark. She had a role in the remake of Shaft (2000) as the mother of a murder victim, and played the Second President of the World Congress in Bicentennial Man (1999). Her last film, Anger Management (2003), starring Adam Sandler and Jack Nicholson, was released a month after her death and paid tribute to her in the end credits.

Television

Thigpen was best known to television audiences for playing "The Chief" in the PBS children's geography game show Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?, which involved education, humor, and an occasional musical performance. She also reprised her role as The Chief in the successor show Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego?. She also played Luna in the television show Bear in the Big Blue House and also appeared in many other television series during her career, most notably in a recurring role as Grace Keefer on the ABC daytime drama All My Children and a supporting role as Ella Mae Farmer, a crime analyst for the Washington, D.C., police department, on the CBS crime drama The District.[5] She guest-starred in episodes of Gimme A Break!, L.A. Law, Law & Order, The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd, Homicide: Life on the Street, Sesame Street, and Thirtysomething, and was a regular cast member on the short-lived NBC sketch comedy series The News Is the News.

Audio productions

She appeared in radio skits of the Garrison Keillor program The American Radio Company of the Air.[6] Her voice was also heard on over 20 audio books, primarily works with socially relevant themes.[7]

Computer games

In her association with the Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? television show, Thigpen reprised her role as The Chief in three related computer games. Two were released in 1996: Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? (a reboot of the original 1985–1992 game) and Where in the U.S.A. Is Carmen Sandiego? The following year, a video game counterpart to the TV series' successor show, Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego, was released, titled Carmen Sandiego's Great Chase Through Time. Thigpen recorded hundreds of QuickTime videos for cut-scenes in the games, and generally received praise for her performances in them; in reviewing the 1997 game, David Colker of the Los Angeles Times enjoyed the "on-screen presence of actress Lynne Thigpen", noting that she "brings a winning presence to her role,"[8] while Debbie Maria Leon of the New Straits Times wrote that "the urgency of the [confident Chief's] voice [gives] enough oomph to make [the player] go scurrying to restore history".[9]

Death

Thigpen died of a cerebral hemorrhage on March 12, 2003,[10] in her Marina del Rey, California, home after 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".[citation needed] Thigpen was entombed next to her parents at Elmhurst Cemetery in her hometown of Joliet, Illinois.[citation needed]

Response and legacy

Following Thigpen's death, the remaining three episodes of the third season of The District killed off her character, Ella Mae Farmer. Her death also led to a three-year hiatus of Bear in the Big Blue House,[citation needed] and a planned film version of the show was put on hold. Two years after Thigpen's death, her Bear co-star Tara Mooney, who played the character Shadow, said in an interview with Ray D'Arcy on Today FM: "The crew's hearts just weren't in it anymore".[citation needed]

Thigpen's friends and family established a nonprofit foundation, The Lynne Thigpen–Bobo Lewis Foundation, to help young actors and actresses learn to survive and succeed in New York theater and to mentor the next generation of Broadway stars.[11]

Thigpen 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 for his wildlife reality series The Jeff Corwin Experience.[citation needed] Her final film, Anger Management (2003), was dedicated to her memory. An elementary school in Thigpen's hometown of Joliet, Illinois, was named for her.[12]

Filmography

Film

Year Title Role Notes
1973 Godspell Lynne
1979 The Warriors DJ
1982 Tootsie Jo
1984 Streets of Fire Subway Motorwoman
1985 Walls of Glass Woman Cop
1986 Sweet Liberty Claire
1987 Hello Again Reporter #2
1988 Running on Empty Contact at Eldridge St.
1989 Lean on Me Leonna Barrett
1990 Impulse Dr. Gardner
1992 Article 99 Nurse White
Bob Roberts Kelly Noble
1993 Naked in New York Helen
1994 The Paper Janet
Blankman Grandma Walker
1995 Just Cause Ida Conklin
1999 Random Hearts Phyllis Bonaparte
The Insider Mrs. Williams
Bicentennial Man President Marjorie Bota
2000 Shaft Carla Howard
2001 Novocaine Pat
2003 Anger Management Judge Brenda Daniels Posthumous release

Television

Year Title Role Notes
1981 Lou Grant Mrs. Dupree 1 episode
1983 Love, Sidney Nancy 1 episode
1985-1986 Gimme a Break! Loretta Harper 3 episodes
1986 Spenser: For Hire Mrs. Jarvis 1 episode
1987 The Ellen Burstyn Show Pam James 1 episode
1987 The Equalizer Cleaning Lady 2 episodes
1988 Frank's Place Madame Torchet 1 episode
1989 Roseanne Dr. Bryce 1 episode
1989 Thirtysomething Rosie Recurring role, 6 episodes
1989-1990 FM Naomi Sayers Main role, 13 episodes
1990 Hunter Lt. Marilyn Fowler 1 episode
1991 The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd Nate's Cousin 1 episode
1991 Dear John Sarah Donnelly 1 episode
1991 The Cosby Show Mrs. Hudson 2 episodes
1991-1995 Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? The Chief Main role, 296 episodes
1991-1992 L.A. Law D.A. Ruby Thomas Recurring role, 10 episodes
1992 Loving Judge Hale 2 episodes
1993-2000 All My Children Grace Keefer Recurring role, 14 episodes
1995-1999 Law & Order Trial Judge Ida Boucher 3 episodes
1995 The Puzzle Place The Chief 1 episode; The Mystery of the Fabulous Hat
1996-1997 Where in Time Is Carmen Sandiego? The Chief 115 episodes
1997-2003 Bear in the Big Blue House Luna Voice role, 103 episodes
1997 Homicide: Life on the Street Regina Wilson 3 episodes
1997 Promised Land Dr. Bea Goldman 1 episode
1997 King of the Hill Judge Voice role, 1 episode
1998 Sesame Street WASA Training Officer 2 episodes
1998 Cosby Linda / Dr. Holmes 2 episodes
2000-2003 The District Ella Farmer Main role, 66 episodes

Awards and honors

Awards
Nominations
Honors
  • Lynne Thigpen Elementary School, Joliet, Illinois[12]

References

  1. ^ Drum
  2. ^ Collins, Scott (March 20, 2003). "Lynne Thigpen (1948–2003). (News Wire ...)". Back Stage West. Retrieved January 6, 2019.
  3. ^ Osborne, Gwendolyn E. (July–August 2003). "A golden voice goes silent: Lynne Thigpen, the award-winning actress who died this past spring, was the hardest working narrator in audiobooks. (tribute)". Black Issues Book Review. p. 71. Retrieved January 6, 2019.
  4. ^ Kapos, Shia (March 14, 2003). "LYNNE THIGPEN, 54". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved January 6, 2019.
  5. ^ "Actress Lynne Thigpen, 54, Dies In Los Angeles", Jet, March 31, 2005, p. 53.
  6. ^ "A Prairie Home Companion Timeline". Prairiehome.publicradio.org. July 6, 1974. Retrieved January 29, 2013.
  7. ^ "Muppet Central Articles – Tributes: Lynne Thigpen". Muppetcentral.com. March 13, 2003. Retrieved January 29, 2013.
  8. ^ Colker, David (December 7, 1997). "A World Traveler Broadens Her Horizons: [Home Edition]". Los Angeles Times. ProQuest 421200855.
  9. ^ Leon, Debbie Maria (April 26, 1999). "In hot pursuit of Carmen through time". New Straits Times. p. 56. Retrieved October 30, 2012.
  10. ^ "Lynne Thigpen, Actress in CBS's 'District,' Dies at 54". New York Times. The Associated Press. March 14, 2003. Retrieved February 4, 2014.
  11. ^ "Lynne Thigpen/Bobo Lewis Foundation Created for Actors, Writers, and Directors". Broadway World. April 26, 2005. Retrieved January 6, 2019.
  12. ^ a b "Lynne Thigpen School". Joliet86.org. Retrieved January 29, 2013.

External links

This page was last edited on 20 October 2021, at 23:00
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