Anne-Marie Johnson is an American actor and impressionist who is mostly known for her TV roles. The Los Angeles native has portrayed a variety of characters in different genres. Anne began her career with sitcoms and later worked in action, legal, crime, and police procedural series. Of all her TV credits, the one that stands out is 'In the Heat of The Night.' Apart from being an incredible actor, Anne is also a dedicated ‘Screen Actors Guild' (SAG) associate member. Through her 25-year-long association with the union, she has contributed a lot for the rights of African–American performers. As a member of ‘SAG’s 'Affirmative Action/Diversity Task Force,' she is known for her endeavors to bring in diversity in Hollywood. Anne was honored as the first national vice president of the union and was the first African–American actor to receive the 'SAG-AFTRA Ralph Morgan Award.' A former national chair of the 'Ethnic Employment Opportunity Committee,' Anne is known for her co-creating the 'African American Television Report,' detailing the condition of African–Americans in the media. Anne is also involved in various volunteer works and speaks against drugs and alcohol in many funded inner-city schools in Los Angeles. She also works toward raising funds for related awareness campaigns.
Childhood & Early Life
Anne was born on July 18, 1960, in Los Angeles, California, to an African–American father and a mother of mixed ethnicity. She attended 'John Marshall High School' and then majored in theater and acting from the 'University of California Los Angeles’ (UCLA) in 1978. She completed her master’s degree from the ‘UCLA’ in 1982.
As a child, Anne accompanied her parents to politician Tom Bradley’s campaigns, which inspired her a lot. Later in her life, she grew interested in politics. She now believes that politics has played a crucial role in shaping the African–American middle-class community. It is believed that without this contribution, the community could not have accomplished what it has now.
The actor was billed as ‘Anne Johnson’ on the game show 'Card Sharks,' which marked her first TV appearance as a contestant. She used her full birth name on the 'CBS' game show 'Child's Play.' Before making her debut, Anne participated in the pilot episode of the game show 'Body Language.' On the show, she described herself as a "struggling actress."
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Anne made her acting debut with the series 'Homicide' and the Australian police drama 'Matlock Police.' After a one-episode appearance in the sitcom 'Diff'rent Strokes' and brief recurring roles in two 'NBC' series, 'Double Trouble' and 'Hill Street Blues,' Anne got her first lead TV role. She played ‘Nadine Hudson Thomas’ for 66 episodes (1985–1988) in the 'ABC' sitcom 'What's Happening Now!!' She was also previously seen in a commercial for 'Chevrolet.'
Before Anne bagged her most prominent TV role, she made her first film appearance, in the 1987 satirical comedy 'Hollywood Shuffle.' The following year, she began playing ‘Althea Tibbs’ in the 'NBC' (later 'CBS') drama 'In the Heat of the Night.' She remained on the show for 109 episodes, from 1988 to 1993. Anne’s character on the show was that of a wife, a teacher, and a counselor, and she portrayed it for six consecutive seasons. The show dealt with many serious crimes, such as racism, corruption, and child abuse. Anne’s character was raped in the third season. In the seventh season, Anne's character was shown moving to Pennsylvania after separating from her husband.
Meanwhile, Anne recorded the song 'Little Drummer Boy,' which was included in the 1991 cast Christmas CD 'Christmas Time's A Comin'.' She simultaneously continued appearing in films such as 'Robot Jox,' 'True Identity,' and 'Strictly Business.' Her next significant TV role (various characters) was in the 'FOX' comedy series 'In Living Color' (1993–1994). She appeared in 24 episodes of the series, mimicking various celebrities.
From 1995 to 1996, Anne appeared in the recurring role of ‘Alycia Barnett’ in the 'Fox' series 'Melrose Place.' She was also seen in the recurring role of ‘Bobbi Latham’ in the 'CBS' legal drama 'JAG.' Throughout the 2000s, Anne appeared in numerous one-episode roles and had brief recurring roles in series such as 'The System,' 'Girlfriends,' 'That's So Raven,' and 'Tyler Perry's House of Payne.'
In 2005, Anne became the first elected vice president of the 'Screen Actors Guild' (SAG), and her term continued till 2009 (succeeded by Ned Vaughn in 2010). Additionally, she served as a ‘SAG’ national board member and officer for over 15 years. In 2009, Anne contested in the presidential run for the actors' union on the 'Membership First' ticket but lost to actor Ken Howard. In February 2010, Anne appeared in a commercial for 'New Ford Explorer.’ She also hosted the radio show 'The Daily Schmooze.' She co-produced the short film ‘Malachi’ in 2010.
In 2017, Anne appeared in her first 'Netflix' series, 'Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later,' and bagged a recurring role (‘Senator Knox’) in the 'ABC' legal drama 'For the People.' In 2019, she worked in the drama film 'Adopt a Highway.' She has appeared in a few episodes of the 'Hallmark Channel' ‘YouTube’ show 'Home & Family-Anne-Marie-Johnson.' Anne will be seen as ‘Lt. Swanstrom’ in the upcoming 'NBC' series 'The InBetween.'
In 2016, ‘SAG-AFTRA’ honored Anne with a ‘Ralph Morgan Award' for her contribution as a board member of the union. She was also the national chairperson of the 'Ethnic Employment Opportunities Committee' and ‘SAG’s ‘Affirmative Action/Diversity Task Force’ member.
Family & Personal Life
Anne is married to actor Martin Grey since January 1996.
At the fifth ‘Annual Dynamic and Diverse Celebration’ held by the 'Television Academy' & ‘SAG-AFTRA,’ Anne recognized the change that had appeared in the industry over the years. She acknowledged the change and stated that African–American artists had accomplished a lot. However, she still seemed concerned about the salary disparity in the industry. Anne also stated that she was honored to be a representative of her community in the entertainment industry.
Anne enjoys gardening and planting succulents.