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Lonette McKee
Born July 22, 1954 (1954-07-22) (age 55)
Detroit, Michigan

Lonette McKee (born July 22, 1954) is an American film and television actress, music composer/producer/songwriter, screenwriter and director.



McKee was born in Detroit, Michigan the daughter of Dorothy and Lonnie McKee. Lonnie was a bricklayer and auto manufacturer employee.[1] McKee's career began in the music business in Detroit as a child prodigy, where she started writing music/lyrics, singing, playing keyboards and performing at the age of seven. At fourteen, she recorded her first record, which became an instant regional pop/R&B hit. McKee wrote the title song for the film Quadroon when she was fifteen.

She has written and produced three solo LPs, the most recent, Natural Love, for Spike Lee's Columbia 40 Acres and A Mule label. McKee scored the music for the well-received cable documentary on the Lower Manhattan African Burial Ground, as well as numerous infomercials. McKee has toured extensively throughout the world singing concert performances, including the JVC Jazz Festival at Carnegie Hall.

McKee studied film directing at The New School in New York and apprenticed directing with filmmaker Spike Lee. McKee studied singing with Dini Clark and ballet with Sarah Tayir, both in Los Angeles.

McKee won critical acclaim for her Broadway debut performance in the musical The First. She became the first African American to play the coveted role of 'Julie' in the Houston Grand Opera's production of Show Boat on Broadway, for which she received a Tony Award nomination. Her tragic portrayal of jazz legend Billie Holliday in the one-woman show, Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill won critical acclaim, standing ovations and a Drama Desk Award nomination. She reprised the role of 'Julie' on Broadway in the most recent revival of the musical Show Boat directed by Hal Prince.


Her feature film credits include: Sparkle (1976), Cuba (1979), Which Way Is Up? (1977) and Brewster's Millions (1985) - both opposite Richard Pryor; The Cotton Club (1984) and Gardens of Stone (1987) for Francis Ford Coppola; Lift (2001), for which she earned a Black Reel nomination. Other films include Honey (2003), Men of Honor (2000), Round Midnight (1986) for the great filmmaker Bertrand Tavenier, Jungle Fever (1991), Malcolm X (1992), He Got Game (1998) Recent features include She Hate Me for Spike Lee "A Day in Black & White" and "ATL". Television miniseries and films include, The Women of Brewster Place (1989), for which she received an NAACP nomination, Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters' First 100 Years (1999), Queen (1993) with Halle Berry, To Dance with Olivia (1997) and For Love of Olivia (2001) for CBS Television Network and Blind Faith (1998) for Showtime Cable Network. Lonette also received an NAACP nomination for her appearances on the long-running CBS soap opera As The World Turns.

Recent work

McKee had a recurring role on the NBC drama Third Watch. McKee was featured in People magazine's Fifty Most Beautiful 1995 issue.

McKee teaches a master acting workshop at Centenary College of New Jersey, where she serves as an adjunct professor in the Theater Arts department. She is producing her first feature film Dream Street, which she wrote and will direct. She also appeared on the CW sitcom The Game as Mrs. Pitts, the mother of Jason (played by Coby Bell).


External links

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