BY WALTER OPINDE
On this day, June 14, 1931, Marla Gibbs (born Margaret Theresa Bradley) was born in Chicago, Illinois, at Cook County Hospital. Gibbs attended Wendell Phillips Academy High School in the Bronzeville neighborhood on Chicago’s south side and graduated in 1949. Upon completing her high school studies, Gibbs moved to Detroit, Michigan where she attended Peters Business School. She worked as a reservations agent for United Airlines before relocating with her children from Detroit to Los Angeles.
Margaret Theresa Bradley grew to become the famous “Marla Gibbs,” an American actress, comedian, writer, singer, and producer, whose career spans five decades to date. Gibbs is well-known for her role as George Jefferson’s maid, Florence Johnston, in the CBS sitcom, The Jeffersons (between 1975 and 1985). She received five nominations for Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in the Comedy Series. Gibbs also starred in the show’s spin-off Checking In (1981). She is also famous for her leading role as Mary Jenkins in the NBC sitcom, 227 (from 1985 to 1990), during which she also co-produced and sang on the theme song. Gibbs has won a total of seven NAACP Image Awards, and in her later years, she played supporting roles in the films, including The Meteor Man (1993), Lost & Found (1999), The Visit (2000), The Brothers (2001), and Madea’s Witness Protection (2012).
Gibbs landed her first acting job in the early 1970s, in the Blaxploitation films Sweet Jesus, Preacher Man and Black Belt Jones. By 1975 she was cast as Florence Johnston, the family’s maid, in the CBS comedy series The Jeffersons. For her performance on the series, Gibbs was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series five times, and once for a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress; Series, Miniseries or Television Film. In 1981 she starred in the short-lived spin-off of The Jefferson’s, titled Checking In.
In 1985, when The Jeffersons was canceled after 11 seasons, Marla was the lead actress in the NBC sitcom, 227 (TV Series). The series aired until 1990, producing 116 episodes. Two decades later, Marla Gibbs teamed again with former 227 co-star and long-term friend Jackée Harry in The First Family, where Gibbs had a recurring role as Harry’s on-screen mother, Grandma Eddy. Then, she again worked with Harry in the independent film Forbidden Woman.
Gibbs had a number of supporting film roles, and guest starred on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Touched by an Angel (with long-time friend Della Reese), Judging Amy, ER, and Southland. Between 1998 and 2002, Marla had a recurring role on The Hughleys. Later, in 2012, she appeared in the Tyler Perry film Madea’s Witness Protection and starred in the independent film, Grantham & Rose in 2014. By mid-2015, she made a cameo appearance in the episode of Shonda Rhimes’ drama series, Scandal. Marla Gibbs owned a jazz club called “Marla’s Memory Lane Jazz and Supper Club” in South-Central Los Angeles from 1981 to 1999. As a singer, she released several albums, which still hold to her legacy.
Read more of Marla Gibbs’ story via: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0004958/bio