On this day in comedy on February 23, 1970 Actress, Model, Producer, Carol Denise “Niecy” Nash (Carol Denise Ensley) was born in Palmdale, California
Many performers shy away from the label ‘role model’. Others become them by example. After the shooting death of her younger brother in 1993, her mother founded M.A.V. I. S. (Mothers Against Violence in Schools) and Nash became its most outspoken spokesperson; informing the public about the dangers of violence on campus. That level of commitment permeates her work as well.
Nash began her career in films. The maiden voyage was 1995’s Boys on the Side in a small virtually uncredited role; the character had no name, just a description. That didn’t happen again. In 1999, she was in Cookie’s Fortune, Guess Who in 2005, Code Name: The Cleaner in 2007, Not Easily Broken in 2009, G-Force in 2009 and Trust Me in 2013.
Niecy Nash was also extremely active on television. From 2003-2010 she hosted Clean House on the Style Network. For her tenure of excellence, she won an Emmy. However, most viewers got a load of Nash when she gained notoriety on the Comedy Central sitcom, Reno 911 playing sassy Deputy Raineesha Williams from 2003 to 2009. In 2007, the show was shot as a feature length film, Reno 911!: Miami.
Before, during and after her run-on Reno 911!, Nash guest starred on Reba, Girlfriends, One on One, Half & Half, That’s So Raven, My Name is Earl, Monk and others. From 2003 – 2005 Nash had recurring roles on The Bernie Mac Show as Mac’s sister, Benita and she co-starred with Jerry O’Connell on the Fox sitcom, Do Not Disturb in 2008. She had her own reality show, Leave It to Niecy, about her new family in 2011, a recurring role on Fox as a doctor on The Mindy Project and in 2015 she was Andre Braugher’s sister on the Fox comedy, Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
Niecy Nash’s detail to craft did not go unnoticed. She received multiple acting award nominations for the part of nurse Denise “DiDi” Ortley in Getting On airing on HBO from 2013-2015. Beginning in 2012 she co-starred with Cedric the Entertainer on The Soul Man, a spin-off from the popular AMC sitcom, Hot in Cleveland. Her role as Cedric’s wife has been universally applauded, but Nash has also received acclaim for her rare dramatic performances. In the role of civil rights activist Richie Jean Jackson in 2014’s Selma she got raves. She also received good reviews for her recurring role on the CBS series, City of Angels.
The multi-faceted Nash was also no stranger to animation. She was Mama Robin in Here Comes Peter Cottontail: The Movie (2005). She portrayed Cookie Freeman on The Boondocks and Fatso’s Mama on Minoriteam in 2006. She lent her voice for the character of Mrs. Boots on the animated series, Slacker Cats on ABC Family and voiced Lorraine on American Dad from 2007-2013. Nash was heard as Miss Yelp in Horton Hears a Who! (2008), Janet on The Cleveland Show (2010) and Gloria on The LeBrons in 2011. She honestly would’ve done more, but there are only 24 hours in a day.
In 2009 Niecy Nash won a Gracie Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for Reno 911! In 2010, she won the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Special Class Special
By Darryl “D’Militant” Littleton
Check out this clip: