Irma P. Hall (born June 3, 1935) is an American actress who has appeared in numerous films and television shows since the 1970s. She is best known for playing matriarchal figures the films A Family Thing, Soul Food and The Ladykillers.
Hall's first acting role was in an independent film called Book of Numbers at the age of 38. Hall had been a teacher of languages for almost 20 years in Dallas, Texas when actor/director Raymond St. Jacques saw her performing at a poetry reading. He liked her so much he offered her a role in his film on the spot. Hall discovered a love for acting and soon founded a repertory theatre in Dallas.
Hall's personality and age made her a natural to be cast as middle-aged, strong authority figures. She worked steadily in films and TV throughout the 1980s. But it was not until her role as the loving Aunt T. in 1996's A Family Thing when critics and audiences began to take notice of her talents. She won the Chicago Film Critics Association Award and the Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress. The success of that film helped launch Hall's career as a major supporting actor in the late-90's and early 2000s. Sizable roles in major films such as Nothing to Lose and Steel followed. Hall then landed the role as Big Mama Joe in the film Soul Food. The film was a hit at the box-office, prompting a television spinoff, Soul Food: The Series, in which Hall reprised her role.
She landed another acclaimed role when she was cast in the 2004 remake of The Ladykillers. She won a special Jury Prize at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival and an Image Award for her performance.
Hall was born Irma Dolores Player Hall in Beaumont, Texas, the daughter of Josephine Hall. She was raised on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois. Her father was a saxophone player who performed jazz music. Hall attended Briar Cliff College in Sioux City, Iowa.
Shortly before the release of The Ladykillers, Hall was seriously injured in a car accident in Chicago. In the midst of a snowstorm, she lost control of her vehicle, crossed lanes into oncoming traffic and hit another car head on. She underwent emergency open-heart surgery for a puncture wound to her aorta caused by a broken rib. In addition, Hall also suffered a shattered ankle and a broken arm. Hall was cited for driving with a suspended license and not staying in her lane. She made a full recovery and was able to continue her career.
Hall lives in Dallas, Texas with her family; she is the mother of two and the grandmother of four (as of 2001).