May 25, 1943
New York, New York, United States
Leslie Marian Uggams was born May 25, 1943 in New York City to a singer father and dancer mother. Uggams followed in her parents' footsteps, performing at the age of six at the Apollo Theater and earning notability on the game show "Name That Tune" (CBS 1953-59) at the age of 12, earning a record deal with Columbia Records as a result. She went on to study at Juilliard School, and in the meantime earned a recurring position on "Sing Along with Mitch" (NBC 1961-66). The years to come brought Uggams a variety of successes: She made her film debut in "Two Weeks in Another Town" (1962), her Broadway debut "Hallelujah, Baby!" (1967), and landed her very own variety series: "The Leslie Uggams Show" (CBS 1969). Although her eponymous program did not enjoy a lengthy stay on television, it hardly proved much of a hiccup in Uggams' ascent. In fact, her greatest victories would come in the years to follow, when she starred on the critically acclaimed miniseries "Roots" (ABC 1977) as Kizzy, the daughter of LeVar Burton's lead character Kunta Kinte; Uggams was nominated for an Emmy and a Golden Globe for her performance on the show. In the 1980s, Uggams' principal energies targeted the stage; she starred in plays including "Blues of the Night" (1982), "Jerry's Girls" (1985), and "Anything Goes" (1989). She began acting less frequently from there on out, though did appear in the film "Sugar Hill" (1993), a Broadway production of "King Hedley II" (2001), for which she won a Tony, and on several episodes of the drama series "Nurse Jackie" (Showtime 2009-2015). Uggams returned to the big screen to play Blind Al in the Marvel Comics film "Deadpool" (2016).