Sheryl Underwood is an American comedian, TV host, and actor, best known for hosting the popular daytime talk show ‘The Talk.’ Born in Arkansas, she was raised in Little Rock and Atwater. Sheryl is from a troubled family. She spent most of her childhood taking care of her sister Frankie, who suffered from polio. She faced a lot of trouble with her mother while growing up. Sheryl claims that in one instance, her mother stabbed her father because he was becoming too close to her. Following her college graduation, Sheryl joined the military. However, her interest lay in comedy. She became the first female finalist in the contest ‘Miller Lite Comedy Search’ held in 1989. She began her TV career in 1992, when she appeared as a frequent performer on the ‘HBO’ comedy show ‘Def Comedy Jam.’ In 2000, she appeared as a host on the TV show ‘Oh Drama!’ Since 2011, she has been appearing as a co-host on the talk show ‘The Talk.’ In addition, she has also played fictional roles in series such as ‘Bulworth,’ ‘Nikki,’ and ‘Beauty Shop.’
Childhood & Early Life
Sheryl Underwood was born Sheryl Patrice Underwood, on October 28, 1963, in Little Rock, Arkansas, US, to Joyce Evelyn and Cleo Underwood. Sheryl had a twin sister who passed away shortly after she was born. Both the twins were born as premature babies, but her sister could not survive for long. Sheryl has had a lifelong regret over this incident and still carries her demised sister’s birth certificate with her at all times.
Sheryl grew up with a brother named Michael and an older sister named Frankie. Frankie suffered from polio, and both Sheryl and Michael took turns taking care of her. Frankie is currently under Sheryl’s care.
Sheryl’s childhood was far from perfect. Her father and mother never stopped fighting. This went as far as Sheryl’s mother accusing her father of murdering her twin sister. However, Sheryl never believed that lie and stayed close to her father, which further maddened her mother.
Her mother went further and stabbed Sheryl’s father as a punishment for maintaining good relations with the children.
When she was a teenager, Sheryl’s family moved to Atwater, California, where she resumed her education. Following her high-school graduation, Sheryl enrolled at the ‘University of Illinois at Chicago’ (UIC) and pursued a BA degree in liberal arts.
Following this, she joined the ‘Governors State University’ and completed her master’s degree in media management and mass communication. Despite numerous family troubles, she continued to move ahead in her life and pursued a successful career.
Somewhere down the line, after college, she aspired to become a comedian but put her aims to rest and joined the US military instead.
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While she worked in the military, she also tried to make a career in comedy. Her first huge break arrived in 1989, when she became the first female comedian to enter the finals of the ‘Miller Lite Comedy Search’ in 1989.
She began her TV career in 1992, when she appeared as a frequent performer in the ‘HBO’ comedy series ‘Def Comedy Jam.’ Although the show was a huge commercial success, it was highly criticized for its usage of foul language and its racist representation of African–Americans.
In 1993, she appeared as a presenter at the ‘Soul Train Comedy Awards.’
In 1997, she appeared on the game show ‘Make Me Laugh.’ The format of the show had three stand-up comedians performing in front of the audience. The contestants earned a dollar for each second they did not laugh. The show was a moderate success.
In 1998, Sheryl made her full-fledged acting debut with a small role in the political satire ‘Bulworth.’ The same year, she appeared as a foul-mouthed young woman named ‘Bessie’ in the crime-comedy series ‘I Got the Hook-Up.’
In 2000, she was selected as a host on the comedy show titled ‘Oh Drama!’ The next year, she appeared in a guest role in an episode of the sitcom ‘Nikki,’ titled ‘Working Girl.’
In 2002, she began a new career as a producer when she produced the show titled ‘Holla.’ She also served as a host on the show. The same year, she made an appearance as a guest comedian on the popular talk show ‘Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn.’
In 2005, she made her film debut with the comedy film titled ‘Beauty Shop,’ playing ‘Catfish Rita.’ The film received average reviews but was a box-office success.
In addition, she made many TV appearances in 2005, in TV shows such as ‘Weekends at the D.L.,’ ‘Getting Played,’ and ‘BET Comedy Awards.’
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In 2007, she appeared as a guest on the radio show titled ‘Baisden after Dark.’
In 2011, she appeared on the comedy talk show titled ‘Comics Unleashed.’
She rose to prominence the same year, when she began hosting the talk show ‘The Talk.’ She was a co-host from the second season of the show. The success of the show turned her into a household name in the US.
In 2012 and 2013, she appeared in a few episodes of the soap opera ‘The Young and the Restless,’ playing the recurring role of ‘Justice of the Peace.’
In 2016, she played a recurring role in another soap opera, ‘The Bold and the Beautiful.’ She also portrayed ‘Diane’ in the popular sitcom titled ‘The Odd Couple.’
Since 2017, she has been appearing regularly as a panelist on the game show titled ‘Funny You Should Ask.’ In 2018, she appeared in a guest role in the telenovela titled ‘Jane the Virgin.’
She has won two ‘BET Comedy Awards.’
Family & Personal Life
Sheryl has not revealed much about her romantic life yet. However, she once stated that she was married to a man named Michael for 3 years and that he had killed himself after suffering from depression.
Sheryl claims she is a sexually progressive and god-fearing black Republican. However, she has also been a keen supporter of Barack Obama.