Vanessa Bell Calloway

Vanessa Bell Calloway

Born: March 20, 1957
Age: 66
Birthplace: Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
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Vanessa Bell Calloway (born March 20, 1957) is an American actress and dancer. Beginning her career as a dancer, Bell Calloway is perhaps best known for her role as Princess Imani Izzi (Eddie Murphy's arranged wife) in the 1988 comedy Coming to America. In the following years, Bell Calloway appeared in What's Love Got to Do with It (1993), The Inkwell (1994), Crimson Tide (1995), and Daylight (1996). Bell Calloway had several starring roles on television series and movies, include first African American prime time soap opera, Under One Roof (1995). She later played recurring roles on Hawthorne and Shameless. In 2016, she appeared in comedy-drama film Southside with You, and began starring as Lady Ella Johnson in the Bounce TV prime time soap opera, Saints & Sinners. Bell Calloway is an eight-time NAACP Image Award nominee.

Bell was born in Toledo, Ohio.[1] She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Ohio University, where she became a member of the African-American Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority. Calloway also studied dance with Alvin Ailey, George Faison, and Otis Sallid. Calloway began her career as a dancer in Michael Bennett's original Broadway production of Dreamgirls.[2][3] It was during this time period that Calloway directed the music video "Angel Man" for soul singer Rhetta Hughes. She also was in the ensemble of the short-lived musical Bring Back Birdie.[4]



Bell Calloway began her acting career in the ABC daytime soap opera, All My Children in 1985. After moving to Los Angeles in 1986, she began appearing in episodes of prime time shows such as The Colbys, Falcon Crest, 227, China Beach, A Different World, and L.A. Law. She made her film debut on Number One with a Bullet (1987), before supporting role of Eddie Murphy's character's arranged wife in the 1988 comedy Coming to America. In 1990, Bell Calloway co-starred alongside Joe Morton in the ABC drama series, Equal Justice. During the 1990s, Bell Calloway had number of supporting roles in films, including What's Love Got to Do with It (1993) opposite Angela Bassett, The Inkwell (1994), and Crimson Tide (1995) as Denzel Washington's character wife. She also voiced main role in the 1992 animated comedy, Bébé's Kids.[5] Bell Calloway also had number of leading and supporting roles in the made for television movies. In 1995, she co-starred opposite James Earl Jones and Joe Morton in the short-lived CBS prime time soap opera, Under One Roof, the first drama series that feature an African-American lead characters.[6] For her role on the series, Calloway was nominated for the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series. She also had the leading roles on the short-leved NBC sitcom Rhythm & Blues (1992-93), and starred alongside Larry Hagman as his girlfriend in the CBS drama Orleans (1997).

Bell Calloway in 2007

In the 2000s, Bell Calloway had the recurring roles on Boston Public and The District. She co-starred in films including The Brothers, All About You, Dawg, Biker Boyz, Love Don't Cost a Thing, and Cheaper by the Dozen. Bell Calloway also guest starred on The Division, Strong Medicine, The Closer, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Dexter, Rizzoli & Isles, and Castle. From 2010 to 2011, she had the recurring role in the TNT medical drama, Hawthorne. In 2011, she began appearing in the Showtime comedy-drama, Shameless.

In 2016, Bell Calloway was cast as lead character in the Bounce TV first prime time soap opera, Saints & Sinners.[7] She plays Lady Ella Johnson, the widow of pastor and manipulative "First Lady of the Church".[8] Also in 2016, Bell Calloway co-starred as president Obama's future mother-in-law, Marian Shields Robinson, opposite Tika Sumpter as Michelle Obama, in the comedy-drama film Southside with You, which premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival.[9] She also guest starred on the ABC medical drama Grey's Anatomy playing Arizona's Lawyer.

Personal life

Bell Calloway has been married to anesthesiologist Dr. Anthony Calloway since 1988. The couple have two daughters, Ashley and Alexandra.[1][10] Ashley was one of the stars of the BET series Baldwin Hills which originally ran from 2007 until 2009.[11]

In 2009, Bell Calloway was diagnosed with ductal carcinoma, an early stage of breast cancer. She underwent two lumpectomies, and then a mastectomy. She subsequently underwent reconstructive surgery, in which tissue from her stomach was used to reconstruct her breast. She recounted her experience in an October 2015 essay in Ebony magazine, by which point she had been cancer-free for six years.[10]



Year Title Role Notes
1987 Number One with a Bullet Woman
1988 Coming to America Imani Izzi
1989 Death Spa Marci Hewitt
1992 Bébé's Kids Jamika Voice
1992 Why Colors? Short film
1993 What's Love Got to Do with It Jackie Nominated — NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture
1994 The Inkwell Francis Phillips
1995 Crimson Tide Julia Hunter
1996 Daylight Grace Calloway
1996 The Cherokee Kid Abby Holsopple
1998 Archibald the Rainbow Painter Diana
1998 When It Clicks Catherine Douglass Short film
2001 The Brothers Dr. Thelma Woolridge
2001 All About You Donna
2002 Dawg Christine Hodges
2003 Biker Boyz Anita
2003 Love Don't Cost a Thing Vivian Johnson
2003 Cheaper by the Dozen Diana Philips
2007 Stompin' Mrs. Jackson
2008 Lakeview Terrace Aunt Dorrie
2009 Truly Blessed Lynda
2009 Aussie and Ted's Great Adventure Mrs. Jones
2009 The Killing of Wendy Wendy
2012 The Undershepherd Deaconess Carter
2012 The Last Fall Marie Bishop
2012 The Obama Effect Molly Thomas
2012 A Beautiful Soul Guardian Angel
2013 Holla II Marion
2015 Message from a Mistress Heather
2015 The Preacher's Son Elena
2015 The Bounce Back Ellen
2015 Medicine Men Eve
2015 LAPD African Cops
2015 Hustle vs. Heartache Hustle's Mother
2016 Southside with You Marian Shields Robinson
2018 Unbroken: Path to Redemption Lila Burkholder
TBA Harriet Filming


Year Title Role Notes
1985 All My Children Yvonne Caldwell
1985 Days of Our Lives Denise Preston
1986 The Colbys Lowell Sherman Episode: "The Trial"
1986 Simon & Simon Julie Episode: "Act Five"
1987 227 Sherry Episode: "The Honeymoon's Over"
1989 Webster Denice Episode: "A-Camping We Will Go"
1989 In the Heat of the Night Audrey Moore Episode: "Accused"
1989 Polly Nancy Television movie
1990 China Beach Sweet Hula Episode: "One Giant Leap"
1990 Equal Justice Delia Wayne 4 episodes
1990 Polly: Comin' Home Nancy Dodds Television movie
1991 Father Dowling Mysteries Emily Episode: "The Monkey Business Mystery"
1992 Stompin' at the Savoy Dorothy Television movie
1992–1993 Rhythm & Blues Colette Hawkins Series regular, 13 episodes
1993 The Sinbad Show Michelle Michaels Episode: "The Par-tay"
1995 Under One Roof Maggie Langston Series regular, 6 episodes
Nominated — NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series
1995 Touched by an Angel Debra Willis Episode: "The Driver"
1996 America's Dream Miss Williams Television movie
Nominated — NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special
1996 The Cherokee Kid Abby Holsopple Television movie
1997 Orleans Dist. Atty. Rosalee Clark Nominated — NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series
1997 Sparks Monique Episode: "Too Hot Not to Cool Down"
1997 Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child Princess Katusha Episode: "The Golden Goose"
1998 Prey Grace 2 episodes
1998 The Gregory Hines Show Kyra Lewis Episode: "Wahunthra"
1998 Moesha Dr. Woods Episode: "Psyche Your Mind"
1998 The Temptations Johnnie Mae Matthews Miniseries
Nominated — NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special
1999 Malcolm & Eddie Vina Jensen Episode: "Daddio"
2000 A Private Affair Nikita Harrell Television movie
2000 Love Song Evie Livingston Television movie
2001 Boston Public Mrs. Michelle Ronning 3 episodes
Nominated — NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
2001 The Division Dana Episode: "The First Hit's Free, Baby"
2002 One on One Michelle McCall Episode: "The Way You Make Me Feel"
2002 The Parkers Alaina Episode: "And the Winner Is..."
2003–2004 The District Gwen Hendrix 5 episodes
Nominated — NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
2003-2004 10-8: Officers on Duty Gina Barnes Episodes: "Blood Sugar Sex Magik"
"Late for School"
"Love Don't Love Nobody"
2004 CSI: Miami Tonya Washington Episode: "Speed Kills"
2004 Strong Medicine Melanie Rhodes Episode: "Foreign Bodies"
2005 Joan of Arcadia Corey Phillips Episode: "Shadows and Light"
2006 The Closer Lynn Talmadge Episode: "Slippin'"
2006 All of Us Marvella James 2 episodes
2009 CSI Judge Himmel Episode: "Miscarriage of Justice"
2009 Cold Case Geraldine Watkins (1970) Episode: "Soul"
2010 Dexter Crisis Counselor Episode: "Practically Perfect"
2010–2011 Hawthorne Gail Strummer 12 episodes
Nominated — NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
2011 Detroit 1-8-7 Bonnie McCord Episode: "Stone Cold"
2011 Let's Stay Together Mimi Episode: "Daddy's Home"
2011–2016 Shameless Carol Fisher 18 episodes
2012 Ringer Royce Weigler Episode "I'm the Good Twin"
2012 Go On Joyce 2 episodes
2012–2013 Rizzoli & Isles Assistant District Attorney 3 episodes
2013 Castle Beryl Wickfield Episode: "Time Will Tell"
2014 NCIS Sally Hammond Episode "Crescent City: Part 1"
2014 Reckless Judge Kress Episode "Parting Shots"
2015 Murder in the First Veronza Ervin 2 episodes
2015 Real Husbands of Hollywood Trina's Mother Episode: "When Kevin Met Salli"
2015 Hand of God Eunetta Graham 2 episodes
2016 The Miki Howard Story Josephine Howard Television movie
2016 Grey's Anatomy Lucinda Gamble Episodes: "It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)" and "Mama Tried"
2016—present Saints & Sinners Lady Ella Johnson Series regular
2017 Survivor's Remorse Camille Jordan 3 episodes

[ Source: Wikipedia ]

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