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Rosetta LeNoire
Born Rosetta Olive Burton
August 8, 1911(1911-08-08)
New York City, New York, United States
Died March 17, 2002 (aged 90) (diabetes)
Teaneck, New Jersey, United States
Occupation Actress
Spouse(s) Egbert Brown (1948–1974; his death)
William LeNoire
(1929–1943; divorced) 1 Child

Rosetta LeNoire (August 8, 1911 – March 17, 2002) was an American stage, screen, and television actress, as well as a Broadway producer and casting agent.

As a young girl, LeNoire suffered from rickets, which her godfather, Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, helped her overcome by teaching her to dance. LeNoire made her acting debut in a 1939 production of The Hot Mikado, starring Robinson, in which she played a Japanese character. She also appeared onstage, mostly as a singer and dancer, in I Had a Ball, Bassa Moona, Marching with Jimmy, Janie, Decision, Three's a Family, Destry Rides Again, The Bible Salesman, and Double Entry.

LeNoire is best known to contemporary audiences for her work in television. She had regular roles on the series Gimme a Break! and Amen, and is best known for her role as Estelle Winslow on Family Matters.

In her later years, LeNoire suffered from diabetes and died from complications of the disease on March 17, 2002; while staying at the Actors' Fund Nursing and Retirement Home in Teaneck, New Jersey.

Amas Repertory Theater

Rosetta LeNoire championed the cause of racial equity for more than 70 years. Her efforts profoundly influenced the New York theater community.

In 1968, using her own savings, Rosetta founded the AMAS Repertory Theatre Company, an interracial theatre dedicated to multi-ethnic productions in New York City. With this company, Rosetta created an artistic community where members' individual skills were recognized without regard to race, creed, color, religion, or national origin. She became a successful and groundbreaking Broadway producer. The Actors' Equity Association awarded her the first award for helping contribute to the diversification of theatre casting; in 1988, the award was named the Rosetta LeNoire Award.

Amas Repertory Theatre provided a nurturing atmosphere for actors, and a community performing arts center. Throughout its history, many of the company's productions garnered reviews in the New York Times. The long-running theater's cramped headquarters were originally located at 1 East 104th Street, in the uptown neighborhood known as Spanish Harlem. The theater continues today as Amas Musical Theatre, now located downtown at 115 MacDougal Street in Greenwich Village, and carries on Rosetta's dream of diversity in the creative and theatrical arts. Since its inception, Amas has produced over 60 original musicals. Many of them have gone on to Broadway, including Bubbling Brown Sugar, which received a Tony nomination.

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