Halle Berry to Star in HBO Pictures' Dorothy Dandridge

September 23, 1998

Martha Coolidge Directs
Brent Spiner, Obba Babatunde, Loretta Devine, LaTanya Richardson,
D.B. Sweeney, Tamara Taylor And Cynda Williams Also Star

Halle Berry ("Bulworth," "Why Do Fools Fall in Love") will star in HBO Pictures' DOROTHY DANDRIDGE, it was announced today by John Matoian, president, HBO Pictures and HBO NYC Productions. The cast also includes Obba Babatunde (HBO NYC's "Miss Evers' Boys"), Loretta Devine ("Waiting to Exhale"), LaTanya Richardson ("U.S. Marshals"), D.B. Sweeney ("Spawn"), Tamara Taylor ("Party of Five"), Cynda Williams ("The Wedding") and Brent Spiner ("Star Trek: The Next Generation"). Directed by Martha Coolidge ("Out to Sea"), the film begins production Sept. 29 in Los Angeles.

"HBO is fortunate to have an amazing ensemble cast headed by the multi-talented Halle Berry, who will re-introduce the world to Dorothy Dandridge, a remarkable woman who fought to break the color barrier," said Matoian.

Robert Katz executive produces with partner Moctesuma Esparza for Esparza/Katz Productions ("Selena"). Halle Berry also serves as executive producer along with Vince Cirrincione and Joshua Maurer ("Dead Men Can't Dance"). Larry Albucher ("Three Wishes") is producer. The script is by Shonda Rhimes ("The Other Woman") and Scott Abbott (HBO's "Winchell"). DOROTHY DANDRIDGE is based on the book "Dorothy Dandridge," by Earl Mills. Gaye Hirsch is the HBO executive in charge of the film.

DOROTHY DANDRIDGE traces the true story of the legendary black actress (Berry) from her youth to her tragic early death. Dandridge achieved success in the title role of the 1954 film "Carmen Jones," making history by becoming the first black woman ever nominated for a Best Actress Academy Award.(r) Along with her accomplishments came heartache and despair over two high-profile failed marriages, a love affair with Otto Preminger, the institutionalization of her only daughter and a drug dependency.

Halle Berry has starred in such feature films as the recent "Why Do Fools Fall in Love," as well as "Bulworth," "B.A.P.S.," "The Rich Man's Wife," "Executive Decision," "The Flintstones" and "Losing Isaiah," among others. Her TV credits include the miniseries "The Wedding," executive produced by Oprah Winfrey, "Solomon and Sheba" and "Queen," for which Berry won an NAACP Image Award.

Brent Spiner (Earl Mills) received a Drama Desk nomination for his role onstage as John Adams in "1776." His film credits include "Out to Sea," "Independence Day," "Phenomenon," "Star Trek: First Contact" and the upcoming film "Star Trek: Insurrection." Spiner was a regular on the hit series "Star Trek: The Next Generation."

Obba Babatunde (Harold Nicholas) received an Emmy(r) nomination for the HBO NYC film "Miss Evers' Boys," and has also been seen in the HBO Pictures films "The Cherokee Kid" and "Soul of the Game." His other film credits include "Life," "Coffee Boy" and "That Thing You Do!"

Loretta Devine's (Ruby Dandridge) TV credits include HBO Pictures' "Don King: Only in America," and "Rebound: The Legend of Earl 'The Goat' Manigault." Devine has also been seen in such feature films as "Waiting to Exhale," "Hoodlum," "The Preacher's Wife" and the upcoming films "Urban Legend" and "Love Kills."

LaTanya Richardson's (Auntie) film credits include "U.S. Marshals," "Loved," "Losing Isaiah" and "When a Man Loves a Woman." Her TV credits include "The Deliverance of Elaine," "Shameful Secrets" and "Frannie's Turn."

D.B. Sweeney (Jack Dennison) has been seen in such films as "Spawn," "Roommates," "The Cutting Edge," "Eight Men Out" and "Memphis Belle." Sweeney's TV credits include "C-16," "Strange Luck" and "Lonesome Dove."

Tamara Taylor (Geri Nicholas) is known for her TV role on "Party of Five." Her film credits include "Senseless" and "Life Stinks."

Cynda Williams (Vivian Dandridge) recently starred with Halle Berry in Oprah Winfrey's "The Wedding." Her feature films include "One False Move," "Caught Up," "Condition Red" and the upcoming "Relax...It's Just Sex."

Director Martha Coolidge's feature films include "Out to Sea," "Angie," "Lost in Yonkers," "Rambling Rose" and the soon-to-be-released "You Must Remember This," which she also wrote. Her TV credits include "Crazy in Love," "Bare Essentials" and "Trenchcoat in Paradise."

Writer Shonda Rhimes has written three upcoming feature films, including "Love for Hire," "When Willows Touch" and "Humans Seeking Same," to star Demi Moore.

Writer Scott Abbott's credits includes HBO Pictures' upcoming "Winchell" and the TV movies "Run for the Dream" and "Breach of Conduct."

Executive producers Moctesuma Esparza and Robert Katz's credits include the critically-acclaimed feature film "Selena." Their TV credits include "The Roughriders," "Butter," "Goat Christmas," "The Cisco Kid," "Gettysburg" and the upcoming movie "The Cesar Chavez Story." Esparza also produced "The Milagro Beanfield War."

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