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Tonya Pinkins
Born May 30, 1962 (1962-05-30) (age 47)
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Occupation Actor

Tonya Pinkins (born May 30, 1962) is an American actress and author known for her portrayal of Livia Frye on the soap opera All My Children and her Tony Award winning performances in Broadway musicals.



Pinkins was born on May 30, 1962 in Chicago, Illinois. Her father was a police officer and insurance salesman and her mother, a postal worker and now a CTA driver. Pinkins was interested in theater and the arts in general from a young age. In high school, she studied acting at the Goodman Theatre Young People's Program. At the age of 18, Pinkins briefly attended college but decided to drop out in order to pursue her acting career. She would later return to college, earning her undergraduate degree from Columbia College in Chicago, followed by graduate work at Carnegie Mellon's music theater program, and a year of law school in California.

Pinkins is probably most admired for her stage work. She won a Tony Award for her performance as Sweet Anita in Jelly's Last Jam and was nominated for her role in Play On. Her additional Broadway credits include Merrily We Roll Along, Chronicle of a Death Foretold, The Wild Party, House of Flowers, and most recently playing the title role in Caroline, or Change, for which she was again nominated for a Best Leading Actress in a Musical Tony.[1]

Pinkins has performed in several Off Broadway productions, including the comic role of Mopsa, the Shepherdess, in The Winter's Tale produced by the Riverside Shakespeare Company at The Shakespeare Center in 1983.[2]

Pinkins has had a prolific television career making guest appearances on such television shows as Law & Order, The Cosby Show, Cold Case, Criminal Minds, and The Guardian among others.[3] During the mid 1980's Pinkins created the role of Heather Dalton on the CBS soap, As the World Turns. In 1991 she was cast as Livia Frye in All My Children. Pinkins left All My Children in 1995 but returned to her role in 2003. She was later put on contract with the show from March 2004 until June 2006, when she was downgraded to recurring status. She has played Amala Motobo on the popular television show 24.

Pinkins has appeared in several films in supporting roles including Enchanted, Premium, Romance & Cigarettes, and Above the Rim among others.[3]

In 2004, Pinkin's first solo recording My Shining Hour: the Music of Harold Arlen was released on CD. Pinkins has also performed this series of songs by Harold Arlen in a one-woman cabaret show numerous times.

In 2006, Pinkin's self help book Get Over Yourself!: How To Drop The Drama And Claim the Life You Deserve was released by Hyperion Publishers.

Pinkins is an activist for and co-creator of "Operation Z", an organization that stands for zero tolerance of violence against women and children. She is also an educator and has been a guest lecturer at several universities. She periodically teaches a course she designed for actors known as "The Actorpreneur Attitude".

Pinkins is the single mother of four children.


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