Birth: Jan. 5, 1924Death: Jan. 3, 2004￼
Actress of Stage and Film. Born Beatrice Lucille Williams in Chicago, Illinois, she graduated from the Chicago Music Conservatory with hopes of pursuing a singing career. She attended Yale School of Music and toured with its "Colored Choir," then came to New York to study at Juilliard. Beatrice appeared in a number of memorable films dating back to the 1970s. Her first film role was in the landmark Made for TV movie "The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman" (1974). She followed that with a role in the thriller "The Taking of Pelham One, Two, Three" (1974). Then she took the role of Mrs. Waters in the cult-family classic "Sparkle" (1976) with Irene Cara. Other notable roles include "Oliver's Story" (1978) the sequel to "Love Story" with Ryan O'Neal and Candice Bergen, A judge in the Nicholas Cage lottery comedy "It Could happen To You" (1994), Leotha in the Joe Pesci comedy "The Super" (1991), Nurse Westman in Bob Balaban drama "The Last Good Time" (1994), Mrs. Mary Benton in the High-School flick "Dangerous Minds" (1995) with Michelle Pfeifer, Aunt Katie in the TV drama "Clover" (1996), Wilma the lady looking for her lost dog in the all-star "The Real Blonde" (1997), and Hilde Grove in Simon Birch (1998). Her last film role was the Rubin "Hurricane" Carter biopic "The Hurricane" (1999). On Stage Beatrice proved to be one of the best. She won the Theatre World Award and snagged a 1972 Tony Award nomination for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for "Ain't Supposed to Die a Natural Death." In 1997, she co-starred with actors Rip Torn and Shirley Knight in Horton Foote's "The Young Man From Atlanta," at Chicago's Goodman Theatre, where she earned a Joseph Jefferson Award. Her stage credits include "A Lesson Before Dying," "Dreaming Emmitt," "One Last Look" and numerous performances throught the Country. Her theatre credits as a director include original works by playwrights Gertrude Greenridge, Steve Carter and Ed Bullins. Beatrice received the National Black Theatre's Living Legend Award in 1997.