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Helen Martin
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    (July 23, 1909-March 25, 2000)
    Born in St. Louis, Missouri
    Portrayed Weeping Wanda on Good Times (1974-79), Laura on 'That's My Mama!' (1975), Luzelle Carter in 'Baby... I'm Back!' (1977-78) and Pearl Shay on 227 (1985-90)
    Guested on episodes of 'Sanford and Son,' 'Benson,' 'Maude,' 'Starsky and Hutch,' 'Full House,' and 'What's Happening!!'
    Acted in 'Hollywood Shuffle,' 'A Hero Ain't Nothin but a Sandwich,' 'Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood,' 'I Got the Hook Up,' 'Bulworth,' and 'Beverly Hills Cop III'
    Appeared in Broadway productions of 'Deep Are the Roots,' 'The Long Dream,' 'The Amen Corner,' and 'Purlie Victorious'
    She was typecast as smart alecky old ladies and/or grandmas.
    She played an African queen in an off-Broadway production of 'The Blacks.'
    She first moved to Los Angeles to play Rosey Grier's grandmother in the pilot for a show called 'Big Daddy' which wasn't picked up.
    She had a decades-long career on the stage and on television, but is largely remembered for her small role as the building's local gossip, Weepin' Wanda, on 'Good Times.'
    She reportedly didn't get along with '227' co-star Jackee Harry (but then again, she was the only cast-member to appear in Harry's one-episode spin-off, so it couldn't have been that bad).
    When Skip E. Lowe pressed her on why she was having difficulty finding work after the end of '227,' she answered 'There's just no jobs. Everything is white now, you understand?' Skip flew into a tizzy for the rest of the interview (1992).
    She was the daughter of a minister and lived in the Jim Crow South.
    She started out as the conductor of a twelve-person band.
    She was a founding member of the American Negro Theater.
    She began work as a character actress after the death of her husband.
    She made her Broadway debut in Orson Welles' 1941 production of 'Native Son.'
    She cited her favorite role as being the village elder in 'Roots.'
    She listed her favorite actresses as Bette Davis, Susan Hayward, and Greta Garbo.
    She was a friend and colleague of Elia Kazan, Redd Foxx, and James Baldwin.
    As a cast member of 'Purlie Victorious,' she hosted a private birthday celebration for Martin Luther King Jr. alongside co-stars Ruby Dee, Ossie Davis, and Beah Richards.
    She was nominated for an NAACP Image Award for her role in 'Hollywood Shuffle' (1987).
    As the wisecracking window-sitting Pearl, she stole scenes from virtually every '227' cast member during the show's six season run.

Credit: BoyWiththeGreenHair

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