Jenifer Lewis is one of Hollywood’s busiest actresses, with more than 60 films and 200 TV appearances to her credit. Her uniquely recognizable voice is adored by fans worldwide in such animated roles as Flo in “Cars” and “Cars 2” and as Mama Odie in “The Princess and the Frog.” Lewis earned the title Black Mother of Hollywood, thanks to memorable performances as Tina Turner’s mother in “What’s Love Got to Do With It,” alongside Denzel Washington in “The Preacher’s Wife” and as a distraught mother in Clint Eastwood’s “Hereafter.” She also created unforgettable characters in Tyler Perry’s “Madea’s Family Reunion” and “Meet the Browns,” as well as playing Tom Hanks’ boss in “Castaway.”
Lewis will star in the new NBC drama “The Playboy Club,” premiering this fall. Additional television credits include “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” “Friends,” “Boston Legal” and “Girlfriends.” For six seasons, Lewis portrayed Lana Hawkins on Lifetime’s hit series “Strong Medicine.” Also on Lifetime, she achieved “Diva” status as star of the mockumentary “Jackie’s Back!” In 2007, Lewis, an active participant in mental health causes, chose to appear on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” to reveal that she has bipolar disorder.
Lewis has five Broadway shows to her credit, including “Hairspray” as Motormouth Maybelle. In 2006, she co-starred opposite Meryl Streep in the Shakespeare in the Park presentation of “Mother Courage and Her Children.” Lewis has performed her acclaimed one-woman show, “The Diva Is Dismissed,” worldwide.
Born and raised in Kinloch, Missouri, Lewis holds a bachelor’s degree in theater arts from Webster University in St. Louis. She currently resides in Los Angeles.
"Lili," directed by Alicia Keys and written by Jill Gordon, follows Lili, a fiercely independent, career-minded woman (Rosario Dawson), who recruits her sister (Tracee Ellis Ross) to help tell their hard-nosed mother (Jenifer Lewis) that she has breast cancer. As they work through their past issues, Lili’s mother and sister ultimately become her strongest allies when she needs her family the most. "Lili" also stars Jeffrey Tambor as a male patient diagnosed with breast cancer.