Childhood & Early Life
Loretta Devine was born on August 21, 1949, in Houston, Texas, to Eunice O’Neal and James Devine. Her mother was a beautician and her father, a laborer. In the absence of her father, her mother raised Devine and her five siblings on her own in the Acres Home area of Houston.
Devine studied in George Washington Carver High School. While at school, she was a regular at talent shows.
She received an undergraduate degree in speech and drama from the University of Houston in 1971. She further pursued a Masters in Fine Arts program in theater from Brandeis University in Boston and graduated in 1976.
After the completion of her formal education, Devine moved to New York to take acting and dance classes.
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Loretta Devine made her acting debut in Broadway in 1978 in a production named ‘A Broadway Musical’.
It was as Lorrell in Michael Bennet’s award-winning Broadway musical ’Dreamgirls’ that Devine got noticed by the public. When the film version was made in 2006, Devine did a cameo as a jazz singer.
While rehearsing for ‘Dreamgirls,’ Devine was cast in Jessie Maple's film ‘Will’ (1981), which had the distinction of being the first independent feature-length film directed by an African-American woman.
More film roles followed and when Devine was cast in the 1988 film ‘Little Nikita’ opposite Sidney Poitier, she moved to Los Angeles from New York.
The fact that she was a powerhouse of talent was proved by her role as a single mother in the 1995 film ‘Waiting to Exhale’. She worked in this film with the likes of Whitney Houston and Angela Basset and won an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture.
She got another NAACP Image Award for her role in the 1996 film ‘The Preacher’s Wife’ which also starred Denzel Washington and Whitney Houston.
Meaty roles started pouring in for Loretta Devine and she was offered a major role as Zenia in the 1998 film ‘Down in the Delta. The film was directed by the famous writer Maya Angelou.
Devine had a major role in the slasher film series ‘Urban Legends’. She starred as campus police officer Reese Wilson both in the 1998 version and in the 2000 version ‘Urban Legends: Final Cut’.
She starred with the likes of Sean Penn and Michelle Pfeiffer in the 2001 film ‘I Am Sam’. In this film, she played the role of Margaret Calgrove, a conscientious social worker who comes to the rescue of Sean Penn’s character Sam.
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One of Devine’s major television roles was in the series ‘Boston Public’. She played the role of a high school teacher Marla Hendricks on this show from 2000 to 2004.
In the critically acclaimed 2004 film ‘Crash,’ Loretta Devine played the character of Shaniqua Johnson.
Another major milestone in Devine’s career was the 2004 movie ‘Woman Thou Art Loosed’. She had a leading role in the film as Cassey Jordan and received a nomination for Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Female.
More success followed with the 2007 hit film ‘This Christmas’. Devine was yet again nominated for an NAACP Image Award for her role as Shirley Ann Whitfield.
Devine found an opportunity to showcase her singing talent in the series ‘Eli Stone’. She was a series regular from 2008 to 2009, playing the part of Patti Dellacroix, legal secretary to lawyer Eli Stone.
From 2005 to 2013, Loretta Devine played the role of Adele in ‘Grey’s Anatomy’. She acted as the wife of chief surgeon Dr. Richard Webber who has Alzheimer’s but lives in denial. She won an Emmy for her performance as Adele.
From 2012 to 2013, Devine was seen as Georgia Cummings, the owner of the massage parlor, in ‘The Client List’. Mostly seen as a matronly figure in TV and films, this role of a businesswoman who has seen the world was a major departure from the routine for her.
Since 2012, Devine has been wooing young viewers as the voice of Hallie in the animated series for children ‘Doc McStuffins’. She also did the voice of Hallie in the 2013 TV mini-series ‘The Doc Files’.
Devine continues to remain a busy actress both in the film and television industries. In 2019, she appeared in the TV shows ‘Family Reunion’ and ‘A Black Lady Sketch Show’. She has three films lined up to be released in 2020.
Family & Personal Life
Loretta Devine married Lamar Tyler in 1973. They had one son, James Lawrence Taylor. The couple separated in 1980 but got divorced only in 2008.
Devine married Glenn Marshal, a financial analyst, after dating for eight years. The exact date of their marriage is not known.
Devine has two grandchildren, Gregary James Taylor and Lorraine Faye Taylor.