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Regina Taylor

Taylor with Sam Waterston in January 2010
Born August 22, 1960 (1960-08-22) (age 49)
Dallas, Texas, U.S.
Occupation Actress/Playwright
Years active 1980–present

Regina Taylor (born August 22, 1960) is an American actress and playwright. Taylor has won several awards throughout her career including a Golden Globe Award and NAACP Image Award.



Taylor was born in Dallas, Texas, but starting at age 12 she went to a newly-integrated school in Muskogee, Oklahoma where she was subjected to an incident of racism by another student.[1] The family later returned to Dallas, where she graduated from L. G. Pinkston High School in 1977.[2]



Her earliest professional acting roles were two made-for-television films while she was studying at Southern Methodist University: 1980's Nurse and 1981's Crisis at Central High. In the latter movie, she was praised by critic John O'Connor of The New York Times for her portrayal of Minnijean Brown, a member of the Little Rock Nine, a group of African-American students who braved violence and armed guards to integrate Little Rock Central High School in 1957.[3] Her first role to gain widespread attention was that of Mrs. Carter, the drug-addicted mother of a promising young female student, in the 1989 film Lean on Me. She is well known for her role as Lilly Harper on the early 1990s TV series I'll Fly Away. This role won her a Golden Globe award for Best Actress in a Television Drama and also an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series.

Since then she has had some critical success for various supporting roles in films, such as the Spike Lee film Clockers, Courage Under Fire, A Family Thing, The Negotiator, and for the telefilms Losing Isaiah and Strange Justice — a Showtime original film in which she portrayed Anita Hill — and as the lead in the PBS telefilm Cora Unashamed, based on a Langston Hughes short story. She was a cast member for all four seasons of the CBS drama The Unit as Molly Blane, the tough-minded housewife who holds the women of 'the Unit' together when their men are on covert assignments.

Taylor is also an accomplished stage actress, and was the first black woman to play Juliet in Romeo and Juliet on Broadway. Her other Broadway credits include Macbeth and As You Like It. She has also appeared off-Broadway and regionally in numerous productions, including Jar The Floor, Machinal, The Illusion, A Map of the World, and The Tempest, for which she received a Dramalogue Award.


A prolific playwright, Taylor is a Distinguished Artistic Associate of Chicago's Goodman Theater. Among her accomplishments, she has collaborated on and appeared in the play Millennium Mambo; has written A Night in Tunisia, which premiered during the 2000 Alabama Shakespeare Festival; curated Urban Zulu Mambo (an evening of plays by Adrienne Kennedy, Ntozake Shange, Suzan-Lori Parks and Kia Corthron); has won a best new play award from the American Critics' Association for Oo-Bla-Dee (a work about 1940s female jazz musicians); has written and directed the award-winning Crowns, which was first produced at the McCarter Theatre and at Second Stage Theatre in New York; has written and directed an adaptation of Anton Chekhov's The Seagull called Drowning Crow; and has written and directed The Dreams of Sarah Breedlove, a dramatic rendering of the financial gains and emotional losses of African-American hair culturist Madam C.J. Walker, which received its world premiere production in 2004/2005 at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival. Her other plays include Escape From Paradise, a one-woman show; Watermelon Rinds; Inside the Belly of the Beast; Mudtracks; and Love Poem #97.

Taylor is currently the writer-in-residence at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia, where she developed a new play Magnolia, set during the beginning of desegregation in Atlanta in 1961.[citation needed] It had its world premiere at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago in March, 2009 [4] after going through a workshop in 2008 at the National Playwrights' Conference at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT [5].

Her play "Crowns" was produced at (i) the Meroney Theater in Salisbury, North Carolina with the Piedmont Players In May, 2009 [6], (ii) at the Pasadena Playhouse in co-production with Ebony Repertory Theatre in July 2009 and (iii) and at Syracuse Stage in Syracuse, NY and Connecticut Repertory Theatre in Storrs, CT in May, 2009.


  1. ^ Linda Villarosa.Regina Taylor — Actress, Essence, March, 1992
  2. ^ "Black History Month: Local legends in music, theater, dance, and more", The Dallas Morning News, February 3, 2006
  3. ^ John O'Connor. TV: Little Rock, 1957: 'Crisis at Central High,' The New York Times (review), Feb. 4, 1981
  4. ^ Goodman Theatre - Magnolia page
  5. ^ O'Neill Theatre website listing of productions by year and by program
  6. ^ Piedmont Players website

External links


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