- Began her career as a dancer with the Shogola Obola Dance Company.
- In 1962, made her New York stage debut in an off-Broadway production of Jean Genet's The Blacks.
- One of the founding members of the Negro Ensemble Company.
- Breakthrough role came in 1972 when Norman Lear cast her as Florida Evans on the CBS sitcom Maude; her character was so popular that she was soon spun off onto her own show, Good Times, which focused on Evans' family.
- Was an honorary chairwoman for the President's Committee on the Employment of the Handicapped.
- 1979, Emmy — Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Special: Winner
- 1975, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series - Musical or Comedy: Nominee
- Elizabeth Rolle — Mother
- Estelle Evans — Sister
- Rosanna Carter — Sister
- Oscar Robinson — Ex-husband
- Jonathan Rolle — Father
- Attended Hunter College, New York, NY; attended the New School for Social Research, New York, NY; Spelman College, Atlanta, GA (1942)
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Romeo & Juliet - Staged as seen in the 16th C. Starring Esther Rolle, Alex Hyde-White, Blanche Baker
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