Lynne Thigpen: Wikis


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Lynne Thigpen
Born Cherlynne Theresa Thigpen
December 22, 1948(1948-12-22)
Joliet, Illinois, U.S.
Died March 12, 2003 (aged 54)
Marina del Rey, California, U.S.
Other name(s) Lynne Richmond
Occupation Actress
Years active 1971—2003

Cherlynne Theresa “Lynne” Thigpen (December 22, 1948 – March 12, 2003) was an American stage and television actress. In her lengthy and varied career, Thigpen is perhaps best remembered for roles on the children's program Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? and the soap opera All My Children.


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 work as a stage actress.



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, and the mother of an expelled student in Lean on Me, a story of famous American principal Joe Louis Clark. She also played the Second President of the world council in Bicentennial Man (1999). Her last film was Anger Management (2003) starring Adam Sandler and Jack Nicholson (which was released only 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 Where in Time Is Carmen Sandiego?. 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, Homicide: Life on the Street, 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.[1]


On March 12, 2003, Thigpen was found dead at her Marina del Rey, California home, by her friend; she 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". Thigpen was interred at Elmhurst Cemetery in her hometown of Joliet, Illinois.

Response and legacy

When Thigpen died, the third season finale of The District centers around a funeral for her character, Ella Mae Farmer. Her untimely death led to a four-year hiatus of Bear in the Big Blue House.[citation needed] A planned film version of Bear was also put on hold. According to journalist Tara Mooney (who plays Shadow on the show), who interviewed with Ray D'Arcy on Ireland's Today FM in 2005, stated that "the crew's hearts just weren't in it anymore." Thigpen's family and close 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.

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. Her final film, Anger Management, starring Adam Sandler and Jack Nicholson, was dedicated to her memory.



  • Godspell: 1973
  • The Night That Made America Famous: 1975
  • The Magic Show: 1976
  • Working
  • 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






Awards and honors

Awards won
  • 1997 Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play – An American Daughter
Awards nominated
  • Lynne Thigpen Elementary School, Joliet, IL[2]


External links

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