Veteran actress Rosetta LeNoire will receive the Paul Robeson Award presented annually by Actors' Equity Associ-ation. The award honors those artists who are committed to the struggle for social justice and equality. Throughout her career, spanning close to 75 years, LeNoire has fought against racial discrimination.
The award will be presented on Fri., Oct. 6 at 1 pm, at Equity's Eastern Regional Membership Meeting at the union's offices, 165 W. 46th St.
LeNoire was born in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood in 1911. Her early career was supported by two legends of the entertainment world: her godfather, Bill "Bojangles" Robinson and her singing teacher, Eubie Blake. LeNoire made her Broadway debut in Mike Todd's "The Hot Mikado" (1939), the first all African-American production on Broadway. She later played in Orson Welles' all-black version of "Macbeth" and a host of other Broadway productions, movies, and TV programs. But perhaps she is best known to national audiences for her eight-year stint as Mother Winslow on the ABC sitcom, "Family Matters."
In 1968, she founded Amas Musical Theatre ("you love" in Latin), a non-profit multi-racial theatrical organization dedicated to the creation, development, and production of new musical works. Among the many awards AMAS has received are the Kennedy Center Black Playwright's Award for excellence in developing new works and the Richard L. Coe Award for extending boundaries of theatre.
LeNoire has been recognized by Actors' Equity Association, which, in 1988, established an annual award in her name. And, in 1999, President and Mrs. Clinton recognized LeNoire's contributions when they honored her as a recipient of the National Medal of Arts.