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Who is that Actor: Lorraine Toussaint

November 27, 2010

The other night while suffering through the Bruce Willis cinematic turkey Hudson Hawk, I noticed Lorraine Toussaint as one of the members of James Colburn’s “Candy Bar Gang”. I forgotten she was even in that dog, given that 98% of the time her appearance in a project denotes a certain degree of prestige, quality and nuance. Character actor Lorraine Toussaint did not play “Chief” on the PBS series Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego. though Toussaint is occasionally mistaken for the late actor Lynne Thigpen. Toussaint did however co-star opposite Annie Potts on the Lifetime Original drama Any Day Now as Rene Jackson. In addition, the versatile actor appeared on Crossing Jordon as Dr. Elaine Duchamps, more memorably as Law & Order as the frequently crispy Legal Aid attorney Shambala Green and most recently as Bird Merriweather on the beloved series Friday Night Lights. Besides her delicious turn on Law & Order, where she often gave Jack McCoy the business, I enjoyed Toussaint’s work as Capt. Kate Perry on Saving Grace

Toussaint and Potts from Any Day Now:

What I’ve recently enjoyed about Toussaint’s work is the wonderful Madge Sinclair-ish quality she brings to many of her performances, particularly on Saving Grace and to a lesser degree on Friday Night Lights. In the decade and a half since the death of Ms. Sinclair, it’s a quality the screen has severely lacked.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. evmaroon permalink
    November 27, 2010 2:09 pm

    Lorraine reminds me of this generation’s Lynne Thigpen. And I love watching her, in part for that reason.

  2. November 27, 2010 3:16 pm

    I would like to see Toussaint in another leading role, but something tells me her talents are better served in pivotal supporting work. It’s an intensity she brings to many of her roles that often feels too much for the big screen, given the ranges of roles offered to her. Angela Bassett tends to have the same challenge as well. I would tend to cluster Toussaint, Lynn Whitfield, Joan Chen and Bassett together, as they are all fine actors that nobody seems to know how to best utilized their talents.

  3. November 29, 2010 2:55 am

    Absolutely right. It’s interesting that you talk about all of these great actors that Hollywood doesn’t seem to know how to use. That speaks directly to the writers, the stories they craft and to the directors and the vision they have for the roles.

    It seems as if there’s a kind of thinking in Hollywood that if someone is working, that’s who we want, so it winds up being feast or famine for actors like Toussaint and the others you named. If they just had a job, they’ll get another one. If they haven’t worked for awhile, the waiting usually continues…

  4. hsofia permalink
    November 29, 2010 3:55 pm

    It pisses me off that Hollywood doesn’t know what to do with someone like Lorraine Toussaint. Granted, a lot of people are left out of the lurch, but basically, if the script calls for a >35 year old black woman they will cast Alfre Woodard or whoever is quick enough to get her sloppy seconds. Of course, now Woodard is getting up there like Susan Sarandon, so I wonder who will take her place.

  5. hsofia permalink
    November 29, 2010 9:31 pm

    “left out of the lurch” = “left in the lurch.”

  6. November 30, 2010 10:51 am

    lorraine!! oh, I’m behind on my Friday Night Lights, still in season three, I need to catch up so I can get to her episodes stat.

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