Thursday, November 20, 2014

Jennifer Holliday - The Original Dreamgirl

Jennifer Holliday earned a Drama Desk nomination for her role in the Broadway show Your Arms Too Short to Box With God, a Tony Award for Best Leading Actress in a Musical in the Broadway musical Dreamgirls, and a Grammy Award for her version of, "And I Am Telling You I Am Not Going."

You also saw her in television shows Touched By An Angel, Hangtime, and she was a recurring guest star on Ally McBeal.

Behind the scenes, Jennifer's life was very different. She would sing to packed theatres on Broadway, then go home depressed. Her weight soared to nearly 400 pounds, and on her 30th birthday, she hit the lowest point of her life. 

Additionally, she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, which caused temporary loss of sight, paralysis and more depression.

I admire people who come back from adversity, and Jennifer certainly has. As you can see from this photograph, she is strong and happy. Her multiple sclerosis is in remission, and her voice magnificent.

In the time separating our two appointments, she visited a retail store to see how her new CD was being displayed. A customer recognized Jennifer and gushed that her mother loved Jennifer's music. The young lady telephoned her mother, and Jennifer sang to her over the telephone. That is a class act.

After living in New York City for three decades, Jennifer resides in Atlanta.

Photograph © 2014 Larry F. Levenson. All rights reserved.

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