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Fields, Kim 1969–

Kim Fields 1969

Actress

At a Glance

Sources

As an actress, director, singer, CEO, radio show host, acting teacher, and more, Kim Fields has shown herself to be full of surprising talent. In a professional career that has spanned nearly her entire life, Fields has always been on the lookout for new challenges. Unlike many young Hollywood performers, she has eschewed the party scene in favor of putting her energy into her work.

Born Kim Victoria Fields on May 12, 1969, in New York City, Fields first appeared on television at the age of five on Sesame Street. As a young child, she also appeared in commercials, most notably for Mrs. Butterworths syrup. Her parents divorced when she was very young, and her mother, Laverne, moved her daughter to Los Angeles when Kim was seven. Shortly after the move, both mother and daughter obtained steady work as actressses. Fieldss father also relocated to California, moving to San Bernadino.

Unlike most child actors, Fields grew up much as ordinary children do. She was a good student, graduating from the public Burbank High School in 1986, where she was voted Most Talented. Perhaps unsurprisingly, she was an actress in the schools the ater productions, but she also worked in the school office and managed the baseball team. In 1982 she became a big sister when her mother gave birth to another daughter, Alexis, who would also become an actress.

Fields worked steadily throughout her childhood, but in 1978, at the age of nine, a big break came when she auditioned for the role of, strangely enough, a Caucasian 12-year-old. Despite the fact that Fields was too young, too short, and the only African-American girl at the audition, she charmed the producers. From 1979 until 1988, Fields played Tootie Ramsey on the hugely popular television series The Facts of Life. The show chronicled the lives of a diverse group of girls at an exclusive boarding school, and in its later years tackled a number of serious adolescent issues. Because of Fields, Tooties character was completely re-imagined and rewritten. To compensate for Fieldss height, for instance, a famous character trait was born: throughout the first few years of the series, Tootie frequently appeared on roller skates.

Although now a grown woman with a variety of projects under her belt, Fields is still best known as

At a Glance

Born on May 12, 1969, in New York, NY; married Johnathon Franklin Freeman, 1993 (divorced 1998). Education: Pepperdine University, BA, communications and film, 1990.

Career: Actress, director, singer. Television series: The Facts of Life, 1979-86; Living Single, 1993-98; TV movies: Roots: The Next Generation, 1979; The Kid with the Broken Halo, 1982; The Facts of Life Go to Paris, 1982; Hidden Blessings, 2000; films: The Silent Bomb, 1994; Me and Mrs. Jones, 2001; stage: Vanities, 1994; The Vagina Monologues, 2001; Victory Entertainment, Inc., president and CEO.

Memberships: American Federation of Television and Radio Artists; Screen Actors Guild.

Awards: Best Actress, Youth in Film Award; Young Hollywood Hall of Fame, 1981; NAACP Image Award, Best Actress, 1985; Justice Department Role Model of the Year Award, 1987; Image Award, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, for Living Single, 1993; Image Award, Best Director, for Vanities, 1994; Best Short Film Award, Black American Cinema Society, for Silent Bomb; Image Award, for Fight the Good Fight, 1995.

Address: 9034 Sunset Blvd. No. 260, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

Tootie, a fact of her life that has not bothered her in the least. She told the New York Daily News, I will never be able to deny Tootie. People still call Ron Howard Opie. And its not to be disrespectful, or without recognition of his achievements as a grown-up. Its just that that character was a part of television history. According to the Internet Movie Database, While there were male child stars of color for years, there was no successful female equivalent until Fields came along.

Unlike some young celebrities who choose their careers over a college education, in 1987 Fields enrolled in Californias Pepperdine University, where she studied communications and film, graduating in 1990. Not content to stay completely away from the screen during this time, Field produced and hosted a campus talk show titled Campus Spotlight: Live with Kim Fields. During her college years Fields also created her own Christian production company, Victory Entertainment Inc., and continues to serve as its president and chief executive officer. Fields told the New York Daily News that Victory was my baby, my brainchild, my heart.

After graduating from Pepperdine, Fields joined the cast of the television series Living Single, and played the character of Regine Hunter from 1993 to 1998. Fieldss mother also did guest appearances on the show, playing Regines mother. Being on the show was fun and personally rewarding for Fields, but she felt professionally unchallenged, and left the show in 1998. Fields met and married businessman Johnathon Franklin Freeman in 1995, but the couple divorced in 1998.

Fields became interested in politics while she was still young. She had worked on Jesse Jacksons political campaignshe had also dated his sonand had spoken before Congress on the topic of suicide. In 1999 Fields, along with other celebrities and citizens, was arrested for blocking the Riverside Police Department entrance during a protest. According to the CNN website, the crowd was protesting a police decision not to press criminal charges against four white police officers involved in the shooting death of a 19-year-old African-American woman, who had either passed out or was unconscious in her car at the time of the shooting. Police claimed she had moved for a weapon, which caused them to fire some 23 shots.

Fields later began to divide her time between acting and directing. Among other projects, she has directed the Nickelodeon show Taina and the Disney Channel show The Jersey.

Sources

Books

Almanac of Famous People, Vol. 6, Gale, 1998.

Contemporary Theatre, Film and Television, Vol. 24, Gale, 2000.

Whos Who Among African Americans, Vol.14, Gale, 2001.

Periodicals

New York Daily News, March 8, 1996, p. 308.

On-line

Kim Victoria Fields, http://www.members.aol.com/iqduru/Kim/Kim.html

Internet Movie Database, http://www.us.imdb.com/Bio?Fields,+Kim

CNN.com, http://www.cnn.com/US/9905/10/miller.rally

Lifetime TV, http://www.lifetimetv.com/shows/intimate/port0123.html

Sitcoms Online, http://www.sitcomsonline.com/thefactsoflife.html

Helene Barker Kiser

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