Open main menu

Erika Rose Alexander (born November 19, 1969) is an American actress, writer, producer, entrepreneur and activist best known for her roles as Pam Tucker on the NBC sitcom The Cosby Show (1990–1992), and Maxine Shaw on the FOX sitcom Living Single (1993–1998).[1] She has won numerous awards for her work on Living Single, including two NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series.[2]

Erika Alexander
Erika Alexander.jpg
Alexander at Comic-Con in 2012
Erika Rose Alexander

(1969-11-19) November 19, 1969 (age 49)
EducationPhiladelphia High School for Girls
Years active1986–present
Home townPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Tony Puryear
(m. 1997; div. 2017)
Awards1996 – NAACP Image Award; Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series (Living Single)
1998 – NAACP Image Award; Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series (Living Single)



Alexander got her big break as Pam Tucker on the NBC sitcom The Cosby Show. She later starred alongside Whoopi Goldberg in the 1990 civil rights epic The Long Walk Home. Perhaps her most memorable role was the acid-tongued attorney Maxine Shaw on the FOX sitcom Living Single, a role she played for five years.[3] She is the co-creator and co-writer of Concrete Park, a science-fiction graphic novel with Tony Puryear.[4][5][6]

In 1992, she appeared in the short-lived sitcom Going to Extremes, which centered on a group of American students at a medical school on a fictitious Caribbean island named Jantique. In 2002, she played probation officer Dee Mulhern in the Showtime series Street Time, which ran for two seasons. In international cinema, Alexander played the role of Hidimbi in Peter Brook's adaptation of The Mahabharata. She also played a young Flora in the TV miniseries Mama Flora's Family.

Her voice is featured on The Bible Experience. She appeared in Toni Braxton's music video for "You're Makin' Me High". In 2009, she appeared in Criminal Minds in the Season 4 episode, "The Big Wheel", as Detective Lynne Henderson, who requests the BAU's help in investigating a serial killer in Buffalo, New York. She also appeared in the 2009 film La Mission opposite Benjamin Bratt. In 2011, she appeared in season 7, episode 13 of House M.D. where she played the character Ms. Fields.

Alexander has starred in season 2 of the Amazon original drama, Bosch, as Constance Irving. In 2017 she played Detective Latoya in the critically acclaimed horror film Get Out.[7]

Personal lifeEdit

Alexander was born in Winslow, Arizona and raised in Flagstaff, Arizona until the age of 11, when she and her family moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.[8] She is one of six children born to Robert and Sammie Alexander, a school teacher and children's book author.

She was married to artist/screenwriter Tony Puryear. She actively campaigned for Hillary Clinton and toured college campuses with Chelsea Clinton, during the 2008 Democratic Party primary.[9]



Year Title Role Notes
1986 My Little Girl Joan
1989 The Mahabharata Madri, Hidimbaa
1990 The Long Walk Home Selma Cotter
1991 He Said, She Said Rita
1992 Fathers & Sons Venell
1998 54 Ciel
2001 30 Years to Life Joy
2002 Love Liza Brenda
Full Frontal Lucy
2004 Tricks Laurel
2006 Déjà Vu Shanti
2009 La Mission Lena
2014 Elsa & Fred Laverne
Secrets of the Magic City Ms. Fletcher
2016 Brave New Jersey Helen Holbrook
2017 Get Out Detective Latoya
2019 I See You Lieutenant Moriah Davis


Year Title Role Notes
1986 George Washington II: The Forging of a Nation Oney TV film
1989 The Mahabharata Madri / Hidimbi TV miniseries
1990 Common Ground Cassandra Twymon TV film
The Last Best Year Amy TV film
Law & Order Doris Carver Episode: "Poison Ivy"
1990–1992 The Cosby Show Pam Tucker Main role (21 episodes)
1992–1993 Going to Extremes Cheryl Carter Main role (17 episodes)
1993–1998 Living Single Maxine "Max" Felice Shaw Main role (118 episodes)
1998 Mama Flora's Family Young Flora TV miniseries
1999 KnitWits Revisited Amina TV film
2001 Judging Amy Fran Winston Recurring role (7 episodes)
The Zeta Project Agent Rush (voice) Episodes: "Ro's Reunion", "Absolute Zero"
2002–2003 Street Time Dee Mulhern Main role (20 episodes)
2004 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Kema Mabuda Episode: "Ritual"
LAX Allison Episode: "Thanksgiving"
2005 Half & Half Maxine Shaw Episode: "The Big Performance Anxiety Episode"
7th Heaven Lynn Miles Episode: "Leaps of Faith"
2006 Sixty Minute Man Jane TV film
In Justice Alyssa Hill Episode: "The Ten Percenter"
Heist Saundra Johnson Recurring role (4 episodes)
ER Vatima Abika Episode: "No Place to Hide"
2007 Side Order of Life Colette Episode: "Pilot"
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation A.D.A. Kirkson Episode: "The Case of the Cross-Dressing Carp"
Numb3rs U.S. Marshal Tricia Yaegger Episode: "In Security"
CSI: Miami Tanya Thorpe Episode: "Guerillas in the Mist"
2009 Criminal Minds Det. Lynne Henderson Episode: "The Big Wheel"
2010 In Plain Sight Theresa Simmons Recurring role (4 episodes)
2011 House Ms. Fields Episode: "Two Stories"
2012 Suburgatory Gloria Episode: "The Motherload"
Suits Sarah Leighton Episode: "Discovery"
2012–2015 Last Man Standing Carol Larabee Recurring role (10 episodes)
2013 Low Winter Sun Louise "LC" Cullen Recurring role (4 episodes)
2014 Let's Stay Together Blanche Recurring role (3 episodes)
NCIS: New Orleans Navy Commander Louanne Bates Episode: "Carrier"
2015 Grey's Anatomy Johanna McKay Episode: "Crazy Love"
2016–2017 Bosch Connie Irving Recurring Role (10 episodes)
2016 Recovery Road Trish's Mother 1 episode
Queen Sugar LeAnne Guest Role (2 episodes)
2017 Beyond Tess Shoemaker Recurring Role (6 episodes)
2018–present Black Lightning Perenna Recurring Role
2019 Wu-Tang: An American Saga Linda Diggs Series Regular Role


  1. ^ Shaw-King, Crystal (April 3, 2017). "Erika Alexander on 'Get Out' and Whether or Not a 'Living Single' Reunion Is Really Happening". EBONY. Retrieved July 30, 2017.
  2. ^ Means, Coleman R. R. African American Viewers and the Black Situation Comedy: Situating Racial Humor. Hoboken: Taylor and Francis, 2014. p. 134.
  3. ^ McCann, Bob. Encyclopedia of African American Actresses in Film and Television. Jefferson, N.C: McFarland & Co, 2010.
  4. ^ Brown, Stacia. Clutch Magazine. "Erika Alexander Co-Writes Graphic with Black Heroine"
  5. ^ "Tony Puryear And Erika Alexander's Concrete Park Returns With Hardcover And New Series!".
  6. ^ "Erika Alexander Develops Graphic Novel with Black Female Characters". Essence.
  7. ^ Shaw-King, Crystal. "Erika Alexander on 'Get Out' and Whether or Not a 'Living Single' Reunion Is Really Happening - EBONY".
  8. ^ Berry, Torriano, and Venise T. Berry, eds. Historical Dictionary of African American Cinema, 2015. p. 24.
  9. ^ Panzar, Javier. “Democrats Counting on Celebrities to Introduce Heavy Subject Matter.” Los Angeles Times, 27 July 2016. Accessed 30 July 2017.

External linksEdit