Berlinda Tolbert

Berlinda Tolbert (born November 4, 1949) is an American film and television actress. Tolbert is best known for her role as Jenny Willis Jefferson, the daughter of Tom and Helen Willis on the CBS sitcom The Jeffersons, which originally aired from 1975 until 1985.

Berlinda Tolbert
Berlinda Tolbert 1975.jpg
Tolbert circa 1975.
Born (1949-11-04) November 4, 1949 (age 71)
EducationNorth Carolina School of the Arts
Years active1974–2013
Known forJenny Willis Jefferson – The Jeffersons
Bob Reid
(m. 1979)
Damon Evans and Tolbert on TV's The Jeffersons (1976)

Early life and educationEdit

Tolbert majored in theater at the North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem.[1] She also studied drama in London.[2]


In a 2013 interview, Tolbert stated, "I’ve only had one job in my entire life… professional actress."[3] She got her first film part from Martin Scorsese in the early 1970s, when she was in acting school.[3]

The JeffersonsEdit

On The Jeffersons, Tolbert played Jenny, the daughter of interracial couple Tom and Helen Willis, friends of George and Louise Jefferson. During the series, Jenny became engaged to Lionel Jefferson, the son of George and Louise; they married and had a daughter. Tolbert played the role of Jenny for the run of the series, from 1975-1985.[4] Tolbert was born just one day after Mike Evans (1949–2006), the original actor who played her boyfriend/husband Lionel. They were also both born in North Carolina. As of May 2019, Tolbert, Marla Gibbs, Jay Hammer and Damon Evans (Lionel #2) are the last surviving members of The Jeffersons main cast.

Later careerEdit

In 1981, Tolbert competed for the CBS team on Battle of the Network Stars.[5] In 1983, Tolbert starred in the Maya Angelou play On A Southern Journey.[6] Following the cancellation of The Jeffersons in 1985, Tolbert appeared in films including Harlem Nights, Goodfellas, and Patriot Games, and television shows including ER, Six Feet Under, and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.[7] Tolbert appeared in the 2011 indie film Last Ride on the Midwest Pacific.[3]

Personal lifeEdit

Tolbert married journalist Bob Reid in 1979.[8]



Year Title Role Notes
1974 Airport 1975 Anne Uncredited/ film debut
1989 Beverly Hills Brats Nina
1989 Harlem Nights Annie
1990 Goodfellas Berlinda
1992 Patriot Games Sissy
1994 Dangerous Touch Sasha Taylor
2004 Strange Fruit Emma Ayers
2007 Live! Clarissa Boyd
2011 Last Ride on the Midwest Pacific Angeline


Year Title Role Notes
1974 That's My Mama Polly Carstairs Episode: Clifton's Dubious Romance
1974 Sanford and Son Delores Episode: Sanford and Niece
1974 The Streets of San Francisco Chris Jackson Episode: For Good or Evil
1975 All in the Family Jenny Willis Episode: The Jeffersons Move on Up
1975 Mannix Jobina Rogell Episode: Chance Meeting
1975 S.W.A.T. Joanne Wyatt Episode: Death Score'
1975 Police Woman Lily Thomas Episode: The Chasers'
1975-1985 The Jeffersons Jenny Willis Jefferson / Jenny Willis 66 episodes
1981-1984 Fantasy Island Sandy Hoffman / Linda Bell / Billie Joe 3 episodes
1981-1985 The Love Boat Lynda Miles / Patty Phelps 2 episodes
1983 Matt Houston Janey Lennox Episode: The Rock and the Hard Place
1984 Airwolf Lea Logana Episode: And They Are Us
1985 Hotel Michelle Todd Episode: Resolutions
1987 Amen Darlene Episode: Thelma's Reunion
1990 Gabriel's Fire Shelly Episode: To Catch a Con: Part 2
1990 Jake and the Fatman Sharon Lee Episode: Goodbye
1993 FBI: The Untold Stories Mary Smith Episode: Mary
1997 Sabrina, The Teenage Witch Mrs. Hecht Episode: The Crucible
1998 7th Heaven Ms. Hanover Episode: It Takes Two, Baby
1998 The Army Show Phyliss Henchy 2 episodes
1999 Home Improvement Noreen Episode: The Long and Winding Road: Part 1
2001 Dead Last Yolanda Episode: The Problem with Corruption
2003 Half & Half Denise Episode: The Big Forbidden Fruit Episode
2004 ER Nancy Natarelli Episode: Blood Relations
2004 Strong Medicine Episode: Cinderella in Scrubs
2005 Six Feet Under Debra Episode: Time Flies
2007 CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Barbara Episode: Leapin' Lizards


  1. ^ "Jeffersons' Jenny Has A 'Guardian Angel' She'd Like To Thank - If Possible". Jet. Johnson Publishing Company. July 21, 1977. pp. 62–63. Retrieved December 16, 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ Louie Robinson (January 1976). "The Jeffersons: A look at life on black America's new 'Striver's Row'". Ebony. p. 115. Retrieved December 16, 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ a b c Deanna Martin-Osuagwu (November 5, 2013). "What ever happened to... Berlinda Tolbert?". Jet. Retrieved December 16, 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ Kathleen Fearn-Banks (August 4, 2009). The A to Z of African-American Television. Scarecrow Press. pp. 205, 220, 440. ISBN 9780810863484. Retrieved December 20, 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ "Battle of the Netowrk Stars XI". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved January 22, 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ "Berlinda Tolbert Stars In Maya Angelou Play". Jet. Johnson Publishing Company. December 19, 1983. p. 61. Retrieved December 16, 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ "Remembering the Cast of The Jeffersons". BET. January 2015. Retrieved December 16, 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ "Berlinda Tolbert, Los Angeles, Bob Reid, New York". Ebony. Johnson Publishing Company. March 1986. p. 160. Retrieved December 16, 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

External linksEdit