The beautiful and talented actress Vonetta McGee passed away on July 9, 2010 in Berkeley, California, after being in a coma for two days due to a heart condition. Diagnosed with Hodgkins Disease while in her teens, the actress persevered and thrive in spite of the disease, which was not the cause of her death.
Despite her many appearances in film and television, she will probably be most remembered for her role as the eternal love interest of William Marshall’s “Blacula” character –a campy take on Bram Stoker’s “Dracula.”
Ms. McGee was a San Francisco-native and was known for her roles in local theater while attending City College of San Francisco and being a pre-law student at San Francisco State University. Her real name was Lawrence Vonetta McGee and was named after her father, Lawrence. She took her middle name for her stage name.
Ms. McGee starred in a number of films in Italy where she briefly relocated. She starred in “Faustina” and played the title role in “Il Grande Silenzio (The Great Silence).” Vonetta McGee was an integral part of the 1970′s blaxploitation cinema movement and was heavily involved with Max Julien, screenwriter (“Cleopatra Jones” and “Thomasine & Bushrod“) and star of the Oakland-based film “The Mack.”
Later in her career, she appeared in fewer, but more select films and television. She made an appearance in the cult punk movie “Repo Man” alongside Emilio Estevez and Harry Dean Stanton.
In 1986 she married fellow actor Carl Lumbly, who is more recently known for his television roles on “Alias,” “Chuck,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” and voice overs on a number of animated superhero series.
According to the New York Times, “Ms. McGee is survived by their son, Brandon Lumbly; her mother, Alma McGee; three brothers, Donald, Richard and Ronald; and a sister, also named Alma McGee.”