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Nationality USABirth 22 july 1954
(66 years) at Detroit (USA
Lonette McKee (born July 22, 1954) is an American film, television and theater actress, music composer, producer, songwriter, screenwriter and director. She is most known for her role as Sister Williams in the original 1976 musical-drama film Sparkle. She is also known for roles in such movies as The Cotton Club, ATL and Honey. She also appeared on the CW sitcom The Game as Mrs. Pitts, the mother of Jason (played by Coby Bell).
McKee was born in Detroit, Michigan, the second of three daughters of Dorothy, a Scandinavian, and Lonnie McKee, an African American bricklayer and auto manufacturer employee.
McKee's career began in the music business in Detroit as a child prodigy, where she started writing music/lyrics, singing, playing keyboards and performing at the age of seven. At fourteen, she recorded her first record, which became an instant regional pop/R&B hit. McKee wrote the title song for the film Quadroon when she was fifteen. Several years later, McKee was launched to stardom with her critically accalimed performance in the hit 1976 musical drama Sparkle.
She has written and produced three solo LPs, the most recent, Natural Love, for Spike Lee's Columbia 40 Acres and A Mule label. McKee scored the music for the well-received cable documentary on the Lower Manhattan African Burial Ground, as well as numerous infomercials. McKee has toured extensively throughout the world singing concert performances, including the JVC Jazz Festival at Carnegie Hall.
McKee studied film directing at The New School in New York and apprenticed directing with filmmaker Spike Lee. She also studied singing with Dini Clark and ballet with Sarah Tayir, both in Los Angeles.
McKee won critical acclaim for her Broadway debut performance in the musical The First in the early 1980s, co-starring in the role of Jackie Robinson's wife Rachel. She became the first African American to play the coveted role of Julie in the Houston Grand Opera's production of Show Boat on Broadway, for which she received a Tony Award nomination. Her tragic portrayal of jazz legend Billie Holiday in the one-woman drama with music, Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill won critical acclaim, standing ovations and a Drama Desk Award nomination. She reprised the role of 'Julie' on Broadway in the most recent revival of the musical Show Boat directed by Hal Prince.
McKee is currently developing plans to establish a performance arts center in the New York tri-state area.
McKee performs her one-woman memoir with music on stages throughout the country.