Beauvais, Garcelle 1966–
Garcelle Beauvais 1966–
From modeling to The Jamie Foxx Show to NYPD Blue, Garcelle Beauvais has shown herself to be a rising star. She began modeling at age 17 in New York. This led to acting roles on some of the most popular shows on television. These roles have also paved the way for film roles.
Garcelle Beauvais was born in St. Marc, Haiti, on November 26, 1966, the youngest of eight children. When she was three years old, her parents divorced, and four years later, with her mother and siblings, she moved to a Boston, Massachusetts, suburb. Speaking only French and Creole when she came to the United States at the age of 7, she taught herself English by watching Sesame Street and from listening to her siblings. She remembers being a bit of a ham even then. Beauvais also insisted on giving impromptu dance recitals for them. Then she collected money. Even then, she told In Style magazine, “I wasn’t performing for free!”
By the time Beauvais was a teenager, her parents had reconciled and remarried. The reunited family moved to North Miami when she was 17. Soon afterward, she began work at Miami’s Irene Marie modeling agency.
She was the second black model there, which apparently proved to be one too many, so Beauvais decided to try her luck in New York City. Her father was against the move, but her mother encouraged her.
A year after their move to Miami, Beauvais’s mother and father broke up again. She still expressed some anxiety about never having had a good relationship with her father. Beauvais went to work for the well-known modeling agency of Eileen Ford. Struggling to pay the rent between modeling jobs, she became a Playboy bunny at the New York nightclub, even though she was still underage. Beauvais continued to model and in 1989, she married Daniel Saunders, father of her son Oliver. They were divorced in 1996. When asked if Oliver watched his mother during her appearances on The Jamie Foxx Show, she laughed and said that Scooby-Doo very often happened to be on at the same time.
Beauvais first moved out of modeling with early acting parts in The Cosby Show and other series. Then, in 1994, she got a lead role on Models, Inc., a new
At a Glance…
Born on November 26, 1966, St. Marc, Haiti; Married Mike Nilon; one son, OIiver(from previous marriage,)
Career: Eileen Ford modeling agency, New York City. TV appearances: Miami Vice, The Cosby Show, Family Matters, Dream On, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper, Models, inc., The Jamie Foxx Show, NYPD Blue; films: Manhunter, Coming to America, Every Breath, Wild Wild West, Double Take, Second String.
Address: Publicist —Elizabeth Much, Much & Hause Public Relations, 8075 West 3rd St., Ste 500, Los Angeles, CA 90048
Aaron Spelling TV series. Although originally there was no role for a black woman, after three auditions, they wrote her into the script. Unfortunately, this triumph did not last long because the show was shortlived.
A big break came the following year, in 1995, when she began a long stint on The Jamie Foxx Show, playing the vampy hotel clerk Francesca “Fancy” Monroe. Although generally headstrong and self-confident, she found it daunting to go from modeling work to TV comedy. She signed with the Groundlings, a well-known improv troupe in Los Angeles that boasts such alumni as Paul “Pee-wee Herman” Reubens and Lisa Kudrow. “I like challenging myself,” she told TV Guide.
In 1998 Beauvais purchased a home for her and Oliver in Hollywood Hills. She had rented a house for some time and decided she liked the atmosphere in this low-key neighborhood. Her decorating tastes run to wood furniture and folk art. On one of the walls is a painting of Haitian field workers, a reminder of her early childhood. And even though she has little time for it, she loves to cook the food of her native Haiti. She especially enjoys inviting friends in for spicy island dishes, which she whips up in her bright kitchen stocked with Mexican glassware. One of her favorites is pork simmered with onions or a chicken dish with rice, beans, and plantains. “I’m Haitian, cooking is very important,” Beavais told In Style.
Besides caring for her son and her work in films or on the set for television, Beauvais tries to keep in shape with Tae Bo, a sweatfest that was designed by Billy Blanks, martial arts expert. Beauvais thinks it is the hardest workout she has ever done. It combines karate, ballet, boxing, hip-hop, and weight training.
After finishing a successful five-year run on The Jamie Foxx Show, Beauvais signed on with the hit drama, NYPD Blue, for a few episodes. However, after wowing executive producer Stephen Bochco, she became a regular on the show. Bochco told TV Guide, “I liked the way she handled herself and I found her thoroughly credible as an attorney.” One of her co-stars, Dennis Franz, whose character clashes with Beauvais’, commented to TV Guide, “Im hoping we have a little more clashing.” Beauvais couldn’t be happier about her new role. “I’ve been looking for the right opportunity to take on a dramatic role for some time, and I think NYPD Blue will be a good challenge for me. I hope it’ll allow people to see me differently,” she told Essence.
Beauvais has had a number of film roles. She appeared in Manhunter, Coming to America, Every Breath, and Wild Wild West. In addition, besides The Cosby Show, she made guest appearances on the following TV productions: Miami Vice, Family Matters, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and Dream On.
Early in 2001, Beauvais starred in two more movies: Disney’s Double Take with Eddie Griffin, Jr., and Orlando Jones and Second String, a football drama in which she plays opposite Richard T. Jones of TV’s Judging Amy. She feels that both these roles gave her a chance to show her versatility as an actor. “In this business,” she said in an interview for Essence magazine, “it’s important to show you can do more.”
In addition to becoming a dramatic actress, Beauvais married longtime boyfriend and fiancé, Mike Nilon. The two had a private “fire and flame” theme wedding in Los Angeles. She even took this opportunity to give back to the community. Instead of asking for gifts, the couple asked people to donate to an inner-city education fund. “We’re so fortunate that it’s nice to give back,” she told The New York Post. The future looks bright for Garcelle Beauvais. “I’m looking forward to the next chapter,” she told Essence.
The Cosby Show, 1984.
Miami Vice, 1984.
Family Matters, 1989.
Dream On, 1990.
Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, 1992.
Models, Inc., 1994.
The Jamie Foxx Show, 1996-2000.
NYPD Blue, 2001-.
Coming to America, 1988.
Every Breath, 1993.
Wild Wild West, 1999.
Second String, 2000.
Double Take, 2001.
Essence, February 2001.
In Style, November 1, 2000.
Jet, July 26, 1999; June 4, 2001.
New York Post, January 7, 2001.
TV Guide, February 3, 2001.
Women’s Sports and Fitness, May 1999.
The Internet Movie Database, http://www.imdb.com
—Rose Blue and Ashyia N. Henderson
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