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Sheryl Lee Ralph Through the Years: From ‘Dreamgirls’ to ‘Abbott Elementary’

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Paying her dues. When Sheryl Lee Ralph won her first Primetime Emmy Award in September 2022, the Abbott Elementary star was overcome with emotion after spending more than 40 years working in Hollywood.As she took the stage to accept her trophy for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, the Connecticut native belted out a few lines of Dianne Reeves’ “Endangered Species,” earning a standing ovation before delivering a poetic speech.“To anyone who has ever, ever had a dream and thought your dream wasn’t, wouldn’t, couldn’t come true, I am here to tell you that this is what believing looks like,” Ralph told the audience. “This is what striving looks like, and don’t you ever, ever give up on you.

Because if you get a Quinta Brunson [showrunner of Abbott Elementary] in your corner, if you get a husband like mine [Vincent Hughes] in your corner, if you get children like mine in your corner, and if you’ve got friends like everybody who voted for me, cheered for me, loved me — thank you, thank you, thank you!”Prior to her Emmy win, Ralph got her first big break when Sidney Poitier cast her as a teen delinquent in 1977’s A Piece of the Action.

Ralph hit Broadway a few years later, earning a Tony nomination for her role in the original cast of Dreamgirls. Later, she became a sitcom regular with a role on Moesha for six seasons 1996 to 2001.

However, it was winning an Emmy at age 65 that changed everything for the Sister Act 2 star.“It’s so interesting because, first of all, yesterday’s price is not today’s price.

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