Jenifer Lewis stars as Lana Hawkins, the no-nonsense receptionist who keeps order amidst the chaos in the clinic, in Sony Pictures Television's hit drama series Strong Medicine, for Lifetime.
Lewis's ability to captivate an audience stems from her incredibly versatile voice, her bawdy, well-developed sense of humor and her powerful acting performances. In the Tina Turner biopic, WHAT'S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT, Lewis' critically acclaimed performance as Turner's mother, Zelma Bullock, garnered her an NAACP Image Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Her captivating presence and sharp-tongued humor can also be remembered in Penny Marshall's romantic comedy THE PREACHER'S WIFE, with Denzel Washing and Whitney Houston, which also garnered her an Image Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Recently, she starred in the feature film THE BROTHERS. Critics praised her role as the controversial lesbian judge Rosetta Reide in the CBS television series The Courthouse.
In the theater, her one-woman show, The Diva is Dismissed, which she also co-wrote, had a three-year run in Los Angeles and premiered at the Joseph Papp Public Theatre as part of the prestigious New York Shakespeare Festival. Lewis takes the audience on a journey through her ever-changing life by cultivating childhood memories and adult life events. Her performance earned her two NAACP Theatre Awards in the categories of Best Actress and Best Playwright. Immediately after one of her performances, the producers of In Living Color approached Lewis to recreate two of her childhood characters for the comedy series.
On Broadway, her credits include Eubie, Comin' Uptown, Dreamgirls, and the recent City Center Encores! Presentation of Neil Simon's musical Promises, Promises, with Martin Short and Christine Baranski. She also starred in The Old Settler at the Pasadena Playhouse.
She has received rave reviews for her poignant and hilarious performance in the autobiographical show Now What? which she also co-wrote. She starred in Lifetime Television's Jackie Back and was heard as the voice of Bebe in the Eddie Murphy produced animation series The PJs. Additional television credits include starring roles in the cable series Linc's, the movies-for-television RITUALS and AN UNEXPECTED LIFE, as well as the miniseries THE TEMPTATIONS. She has guest starred in the series For Your Love, Touched by an Angel, The Cosby Show, Parenthood, Friends, Living Single, Dream On, New York Undercover, Murphy Brown, Lois & Clark, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Girlfriends, and the new series, Family Affair, starring Tim Curry. She has the added distinction of being Johnny Carson's final guest with Bette Midler on the last taping of The Tonight Show.
In motion pictures, Lewis appeared in MYSTERY MEN, opposite Ben Stiller and William H. Macy. Her other features film credits include Castaway, The Brothers, Partners, Girl 6, Dead Presidents, The Mighty, Blast From the Past, Sister Act and Sister Act2: Back in the Habit, Panther, Corrina, Corrina, Renaissance Man, Poetic Justice, Juwanna Mann and THE ANTOINE FISHER STORY, directed by Denzel Washington. << Less Bio