Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Women We Love: Queen Latifah

Object of our affection: Queen Latifah, actress/ singer/producer.

- Born Dana Owens, she began her show biz career as a Grammy Award winning rap and hip-hop recording artist. She has also released successful jazz and standards albums.

- Her film debut was Spike Lee's Jungle Fever, quickly followed by such other urban hits as House Party 2, Juice and Set It Off, wherein she played a lesbian bank robber and received nominations from the NAACP Image and Independent Spirit Awards. She has also starred in Living Out Loud, The Bone Collector, Brown Sugar, Bringing Down the House (her first Image Award), Beauty Shop, Last Holiday, Ice Age: The Meltdown, Stranger Than Fiction, The Perfect Holiday, Mad Money and What Happens in Vegas.

- She showcased both her musical and acting talents as Matron Mama Morton in Chicago, which netted her first Academy Award, BAFTA and Golden Globe nominations, and as Motormouth Maybelle in another musical hit, Hairspray, for which she was nominated again for her thirteenth Image Award. She is expected to return for the sequel of the latter, and is also rumored for the movie musical version of The Color Purple.

- On television, she starred (and wrote and performed the theme song) for the popular sitcom Living Single, and had her own self-titled talk show. Other TV appearances include The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Spin City and the TV movies Mama Flora's Family, Living with the Dead, The Muppets' Wizard of Oz and Life Support, in which her performance as an HIV+ woman won her a Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild and Image Awards as well as an Emmy nomination. Most recently, she parodied Vice Presidential Debate moderator Gwen Ifill on Saturday Night Live.

- Next up for the busy star: the inspirational drama The Secret Life of Bees (opening Friday) and a return to the ice age with Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs.

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