11-Yr. Old Broadway Actress Shannon Tavarez Passes Away

Shannon Tavarez was a multi-talented young singer/dancer/performer who recently played the Young Nala in “The Lion King” on Broadway. According to Broadway World and People.com, she was battling acute myeloid leukemia. Shannon was only 11 years old and had recently received an umbilical-cord transplant after a bone marrow match could not be found.

She attended Harlem School of the Arts and won her role through an audition at the Apollo Theater.

Read more about this short, but remarkable life:

OBITUARY: Jazz musican, singer and actress Abbey Lincoln dies at 80

The phenomenal, multi-talented pianist, singer, actress and activist Abbey Lincoln passed away at the age of 80 years old.

Known in her later years for her Civil Rights activism, she was often compared to another firebrand jazz artist, Nina Simone. Abbey Lincoln, however, did not start as a musician or singer.

Her talents were first noticed by the Black press as a fashion model who graced Black magazines in cosmetic ads. Her beauty often distracted people from taking her seriously, especially when she transitioned her career from model to actress.

Her first role was in the highly acclaimed, independent film “Nothing But a Man,” starring alongside fellow actor Ivan Dixon –an actor later known for his work on television’s “Hogan’s Heroes.” Ms. Lincoln’s understated portrayal of a privileged Black, middle-classed school teacher in a rural, country town who falls for an itinerant migrant worker with big dreams propelled her to other roles, including the lead role in “For the Love of Ivy,” co-starring Sidney Poitier. She continued acting until she fell in love with Bebop pioneer and jazz drummer and activist Max Roach, in the late-1950’s. They soon married, and her career was changed to one of activism and jazz.

They divorced in 1970, but Ms. Lincoln continued her music career, influencing other musicians and creating music that was played well into her career. She was also introduced to a new generation of admirers through a short monologue in Les Nubians song “Makeda” and had songs featured in films such as “Drugstore Cowboy.”

She also had small roles in later films, including Spike Lee’s “Mo’ Better Blues.”

According to the New York Times, she had no children, but is survived by two brothers and a sister.


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Actress Alaina Reed Hall Dies of Breast Cancer

Over the weekend, TV actress Samaria Graham delivered some sad news that actress Alaina Reed Hall passed away. Mrs. Hall played Ms. Graham’s TV mother on the hit television series “Blossom.”

Mrs. Reed –a stage, film and television actress– was well known for her roles on “Sesame Street” (as Gordon’s little sister, the photographer), and her recurring roles on “227” and “Cleghorne.” Mrs. Hall was 66 years old. She will be sorely missed.

(Re-post from AOL Black Voices – http://www.bvnewswire.com/2009/12/22/alaina-reed-hall-actress-dies-breast-cancer/)

Alaina Reed Hall, the beloved actress who starred on ‘Sesame Street’ and ‘227’ after appearing on Broadway, lost her battle to breast cancer on Dec. 17 at Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, Calif. She was 66.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Reed Hall was diagnosed with a terminal form of the disease in 2007.

Following her humble beginnings in the 1974 off-Broadway production ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band on the Road,’ the Springfield, Ohio, native joined ‘Sesame Street’ in 1976, where she played a professional photographer named Olivia.

In a 2004 interview, Reed Hall described the pivotal role as “the best job I ever had.”