Judyann Elder (born Judith Ann Johnson; August 18, 1948) is an American actress, director, and writer. Elder is perhaps best known for her roles on television, most notably as Nadine Waters; Gina's (portrayed by Tisha Campbell) mother on the FOX sitcom Martin. Elder also portrayed Harriette Winslow on ABC's Family Matters during the middle of its final season in 1997 after the departure of Jo Marie Payton. Prior to her television career, Elder is a veteran of stage and screen who has appeared in scores of theatrical productions throughout the United States and Europe.
Judith Ann Johnson
August 18, 1948
Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
|Residence||Los Angeles, California, U.S.|
|Alma mater||Emerson College|
Lonne Elder III
(m. 1969; div. 1994)
John Cothran, Jr. (m. 1997)
|Children||2; including Christian Edward Elder|
Edward T. Johnson
Early life and careerEdit
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Born in Cleveland, Elder is the daughter of Edward T. Johnson, PhD. and Camille Johnson (née Russell). Elder attended Shaker Heights High School and graduated from Emerson College in Boston as the first recipient of the Carol Burnett Award in the Performing Arts. Elder began her professional career in off-Broadway in New York as "Judyann Jonsson". A founding member and resident actor with the Tony Award-winning Negro Ensemble Company, she originated roles in the premier productions of The Song of the Lusitanian Bogey, Daddy Goodness, Kongi's Harvest, and God is a (Guess What?).
In 1969, she played the role of Russell B. Parker’s young love interest in Lonne Elder III's Ceremonies in Dark Old Men and toured with the company to London and Rome. She married the play’s Pulitzer Prize nominated author early that same year, thus changing her name to Judyann Elder. Elder and her husband moved to Los Angeles soon after, where she broadened her career to include roles on screen. She made guest star roles in series such as The Streets of San Francisco, Sanford and Son, Wonder Woman, and The White Shadow. In 1976, Elder made her Broadway debut at the Ambassador Theatre as Coretta King opposite Billy Dee Williams in I Have a Dream directed by Robert Greenwald. She subsequently portrayed the role of Bernette Wilson in the television mini-series A Woman Called Moses starring Cicely Tyson. Several roles on screen followed including Forget Paris with Billy Crystal, The Players Club directed by Ice Cube, and Seven Pounds with Will Smith.
It was in the 1991-92 season of TV’s Murphy Brown starring Candice Bergen, Elder made a mark portraying Murphy Brown’s obstetrician, Dr. Barton. Her recurring role culminated with the historic season finale where Dr. Barton delivered Murphy Brown's baby. She was cast as Gina's mother Nadine Water’s on Martin (1992—97) starring Martin Lawrence. And in 1998 she replaced Jo Marie Payton as Harriette Winslow in the last several episodes of the popular show Family Matters. Elder has frequently returned to the stage and having last appeared at Arkansas Rep as Rose in August Wilson's Fences. She also has many theatre directorial credits including: The Book of the Crazy African (Skylight Theatre), The Meeting  (Inner City Cultural Center, LA and New Federal Theatre, NY), Ceremonies in Dark Old Men  (Beverly Canon Theatre), and A Private Act (Robey Theatre Company). Her direction of Matthew Lopez' The Whipping Man starring Charlie Robinson at the Skirball Cultural Center for LA Theatre Works radio series was broadcast nationally in 2016. Elder is an alumna of the American Film Institute's Directing Workshop for Women where she produced and directed the short film, Behind God's Back, based on an Alice Walker short story and starring Beau Bridges. She is also the recipient of a Screenwriting Fellowship with Walt Disney Studios. In 2005, Elder was honored with an NAACP Trailblazer Award. Elder is also a 2010 recipient of a Distinguished Alumni Award from Emerson College.
Elder has been married twice. Her first marriage was to actor and playwright Lonne Elder III from 1969 to 1994, with whom she had two children, including actor Christian E. Elder. Elder has been married to her second husband, actor John Cothran Jr. since 1997. Elder is a breast cancer survivor; and former legislative ambassador for the American Cancer Society. Elder resides in Los Angeles, California.
|1973||Blume in Love||Lulu|
|1978||A Woman Called Moses||Bernette Wilson||Television mini-series|
|1981||The Oklahoma City Dolls||Helen||Television movie|
|1982||In the Custody of Strangers||Marni Blake, Prosecutor||Television movie|
|1987||Right to Die||Television movie|
|1989||Those She Left Behind||Counselor||Television movie|
|1997||Sweet Temptation||Teak||Television movie|
|1997||The Pest||Mrs. Kent|
|1998||The Players Club||Mrs. Armstrong|
|1998||Dead Man on Campus||Guidance Counselor|
- 1989: Behind God's Back — Short film (also narrator)
- 2013: A Private Act — Short film (also screenplay)
|1968||N.Y.P.D.||Barmaid||Episode: "Deadly Circle of Violence"|
|1971||Owen Marshall: Counselor at Law||Episode: "Nothing Personal"|
|1972||Sanford and Son||Darlene||Episode: "A Pad for Lamont"|
|1973||The Streets of San Francisco||Vi Hoskin||Episode: "No Badge for Benjy"|
|1978||Wonder Woman||Marge||Episode: "Light-fingered Lady"|
|1978||Lou Grant||Mrs. Hatch||Episode: "Babies"|
|1979||The White Shadow||Dr. Chatton||Episode: "Me?"|
|1982||Today's F.B.I.||Episode: "Bank Job"|
|1982||Benson||Patty Stiles||Episode: "Quest for Retire"|
|1982||The Devlin Connection||Episode: "Allison"|
|1984||The Yellow Rose||Episode: "Land of the Free"|
|1984||Matt Houston||Ann Hoyt||Episode: Vanished"|
|1984||Webster||Irene Chambers||Episode: "Knock, Knock"|
|1985||V||Mrs. Caniff||Episode: "The Hero"|
|1985||St. Elsewhere||Elodie Haber||Episode: "Santa Clause is Dead"|
|1986||The Young and the Restless||Karen Olsen||6 episodes|
|1988||Amen||Sarah Crawford||Episode: "The Minister's Wife"|
|1989||Hard Time on Planet Earth||Mrs. Tillman||Episode: "All That You Can Be"|
|1989||Paddington Bear||Voice||13 episodes|
|1990||Star Trek: The Next Generation||Lt. Ballard||Episode: "The Offspring"|
|1990||Captain Planet and the Planeteers||Voice|
|1990||Midnight Patrol: Adventures in the Dream Zone||Voice||13 episodes|
|1991—1992||Murphy Brown||Dr. Barton||3 episodes|
|1992||The Powers That Be||Estelle||Episode: "How Sharper Than a Servant's Tooth"|
|1994||Beverly Hills, 90210||Nora Touissant||Episode: "Hate Is Just a Four Letter Word"|
|1996||In the House||Florence||Episode: "To Die For"|
|1992—1997||Martin||Nadine Waters||6 episodes|
|1997||The Steve Harvey Show||Ms. Crabtree||Episode: " I'm Not a Chauvinist, Piggy"|
|1998||Home Improvement||Diane Peck||Episode: "From Top to Bottom"|
|1994; 1998||Family Matters||Harriette Winslow / Sister Bernadette||10 episodes|
|1996—1999||Mad About You||Nurse Lily||4 episodes|
|2001||Family Law||Judge||Episode: "The Quality of Mercy"|
|2001||Becker||Judge Miriam Reinhold||2 episodes|
|2002||First Monday||Darla Collins||Episode: "Court Date"|
|2003||Wanda at Large||Mrs. Hawkins||Episode: "Alma Mater"|
|2004||That's So Raven||Nana Loretta||Episode: "Leave It to Diva"|
|2005||ER||Debra Graham||Episode: "Refusal of Care"|
|2005||Blind Justice||Judy Dwyer||Episode: "In Your Face"|
|2006||NCIS||Marny Mathers||Episode: "Escaped"|
|2007||Desperate Housewives||Dr. Brody||Episode: "Gossip"|
|2008||Cold Case||Cecilia||Episode: "Sabotage"|
|2011||Love That Girl!||Phyliss||Episode: "Break of Dawn"|
|2014||Castle||Melinda Parish||Episode: "Bad Santa"|
|2012—2015||Family Time||Beverly Stallworth||9 episodes|
|2016||Grey’s Anatomy||Angelica Polson||Episode: "You’re Gonna Need Someone on Your Side"|
- JET Magazine - 10 Inducted Into Black Filmmakers Hall Of Fame In Oakland - March 15, 1979
- New York Times - Lonne Elder, 69, Pioneering playwright dies - June 13, 1996
- The A to Z of African-American Television - Judyann Elder - By Kathleen Fearn-Banks
- "Negro Ensemble Company, The (1967- )", BlackPast.org.
- "About the Negro Ensemble Co.", American Masters, August 18, 2004.
- Lonne Elder III (December 15, 1972). "Mastermind with Marionettes". Life Magazine.
- "Billy Dee Williams Scores in 'I Have a Dream' Play". Jet magazine. April 22, 1976.
- "Billy Dee Williams Plays M. L. King in Hit Stage Play". Jet magazine. June 3, 1976.
- "The Theater: A King in Darkness", Time, October 4, 1976, retrieved January 3, 2009
- Donald Bogle (2001). Primetime Blues: African Americans on Network Television - Martin Mania: The Rise of Martin Lawrence. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. ISBN 0-374-52718-0.
- "Family Matters: Was JoMarie Payton Really in the Finale? How About a Reunion?". tvseriesfinale.com. July 28, 2010.
- Woodie King, Jr., ed. (1995), The National Black Drama Anthology: Eleven Plays from America's Leading African-American Theaters, Applause, ISBN 1-55783-219-6
- Janice Arkatov (February 5, 1988). "'Ceremonies' Marks Tribute to Black History Month : Judyann Elder Directs Husband's Classic Play That Offers Sad but Hopeful Statement". Los Angeles Times.
- LA Theatre Works: The Whipping Man, latw.org