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Lynn Whitfield

HBCU Stories


Grad Year

Notable Affiliations

NAACP Image Award

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Alpha Kappa Alpha


The original drama series Greenleaf from award-winning writer/producer Craig Wright (Lost, Six Feet Under, Brothers and Sisters) takes viewers into the unscrupulous world of the Greenleaf family and their sprawling Memphis megachurch, where scandalous secrets and lies are as numerous as the faithful. Born of the church, the Greenleaf family love and care for each other, but beneath the surface lies a den of iniquity—greed, adultery, sibling rivalry and conflicting values—that threatens to tear apart the very core of their faith that holds them together. Greenleaf stars Merle Dandridge (The Night Shift) as Grace Greenleaf; Keith David (Community) as Bishop James Greenleaf; Lynn Whitfield (The Josephine Baker Story) as Lady Mae Greenleaf; Kim Hawthorne (Rake) as Kerissa Greenleaf; Lamman Rucker (Meet the Browns) as Jacob Greenleaf; Tye White (The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story) as Kevin Satterlee; Deborah Joy Winans (Whitney) as Charity Greenleaf-Satterlee; Desiree Ross (Falling Skies) as Sophia; and Oprah Winfrey (Selma) in a recurring role as Mavis McCready. Greenleaf is produced for OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network by Lionsgate. Executive producers are Oprah Winfrey, Craig Wright and Clement Virgo.

Howard University

Lynn Whitfield portrays Lady Mae Greenleaf, first lady of the megachurch Calvary Fellowship World Ministries, on OWN’s hit drama series “Greenleaf.” Thanks to Whitfield’s flawless performances week after week, Lady Mae has become one of television’s most quotable characters whose delivery is among primetime’s strongest. In 1991, Whitfield became only the second black actress to win the Primetime Emmy as Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Special, for “The Josephine Baker Story.” She won the 2017 Gracie Award as Outstanding Female Actor in A Supporting Role in a Drama Series, and was nominated for the 2017 NAACP Image Award as Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, both for “Greenleaf.” An alumnus of Washington D.C.’s prestigious Black Repertory Company, Whitfield has worked steadily in film and television since her arrival in Hollywood in the late 1970s. Most recently, she has had recurring roles in the hit series “How to Get Away With Murder,” “Mistresses” and on the cable drama “Hit The Floor.” It was on series like “Cagney and Lacey,” “Miami Vice” and “Hill Street Blues” where TV audiences first saw Whitfield. She has starred in numerous TV movies and miniseries including “Sophie and the Moonhanger,” “The George McKenna Story,” opposite Denzel Washington, “The Women of Brewster Place” alongside Oprah Winfrey, “Stompin’ At The Savoy” and “The Josephine Baker Story,” in which she starred as the popular, but deeply troubled, Follies Bergere headliner-turned civil rights activist. For her performance playing Baker from age 18 to nearly 70, she won an Emmy award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Special, as well as an NAACP Image Award. Her performance also scored Whitfield a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance By An Actress in a Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television. She has co-starred in numerous feature films, including “A Thin Line Between Love and Hate,” opposite Martin Lawrence, “Redemption,” with Jamie Foxx, “The Slugger’s Wife,” “Silverado,” “Doctor Detroit”, “The Wedding,” “Stepmom,” and “Madea’s Family Reunion,” to name a few. Born and raised in Louisiana, Ms. Whitfield went back to her roots for her critically acclaimed role in “Eve’s Bayou,” starring opposite Samuel Jackson. She is a third-generation BFA graduate of Washington, DC’s Howard University, and a member of the legendary Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

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