Renn Woods (born Ren Woods; January 1, 1958) is an American film, television and stage actress, vocalist and songwriter. She is best known for her role as Fanta in Roots, and also for her role as Aquarius in the film version of Hair (1979).
Woods in Los Angeles, 2014
January 1, 1958
|Occupation||Actress, vocalist, songwriter|
|Home town||Portland, Oregon, U.S.|
Woods was born in Chicago and raised in Portland, Oregon, where she attracted attention as part of Three Little Souls, a local musical trio she formed at age ten. The group subsequently became known as Sunday's Child, and toured internationally through Wood's adolescent years, appearing on television with such acts as Bob Hope. In adulthood, Woods transitioned into acting, starring as Fanta in Roots (1977), and Aquarius in Hair (1979). She also had a supporting role in the comedy The Jerk (1979).
Woods was born in Chicago, Illinois, one of six children, and was raised in Portland, Oregon by her divorced mother, who was a nurse. Woods described her mother as a "politically conscious and very unusual woman." Woods and her siblings attended private Catholic schools in Portland. At age eight, Woods began singing in a trio with two friends in her neighborhood, performing as the Three Little Souls.
Renn began singing at the age of six. By age 10, she and two girlfriends began performing under the group name Sunday's Child, and performed on television programs with Jack Benny, Bob Hope, and Bing Crosby. The trio toured the world, performing the very last tour of duty with Bob Hope in Vietnam.
In 1979, she released a solo album, Out of the Woods, which was produced by Earth, Wind & Fire member Al McKay. A second album, Azz Izz, was released in 1982. Azz Izz was well received. The second album featured a new composition by Prince titled "I Don't Wanna Stop." Woods released a third album featuring jazz standards, Crazy, in 2015.
Renn is currently recording her first American Songbook CD.
Woods achieved fame as Fanta in Roots in 1977, a role for which she won a People's Choice Award. She also starred as Aquarius in Miloš Forman’s movie musical version of Hair (1979). She appeared in other American television series, including What's Happening!!, Lou Grant, Hill Street Blues, The White Shadow, The Jeffersons, Roc, Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, Beauty and the Beast and NYPD Blue. She starred as Edie in the Golden Globe-winning tv series Beauty and the Beast. She starred as Mrs. McGill in the tv movie Detention: The Siege at Johnson High.
In 2015, she appeared in the TVOne documentary series Unsung. In 2016, she appeared in the TruInside tv documentary The Jerk, about the film she had co-starred in with Steve Martin, exploring what makes the comedy a classic.
She subsequently appeared as Dorothy in the first national Broadway tour of "The Wiz." She created a one-woman autobiographical musical, A Diva Like Me, in the 1990s, which she expanded into an ensemble version, Sold: Renn Woods in Concert (A Play in Rhythm and Blues).
|1976||Sparkle||Jim Dandy Singer||Uncredited|
|1980||9 to 5||Barbara|
|1984||The Brother from Another Planet||Bernice|
|1986||Jumpin' Jack Flash||Jackie|
|1988||From Hollywood to Deadwood||Christine|
|1997||Detention: The Siege at Johnson High||Mrs. McGill|
|2007||The Blue Hour||Aria|
|2016||TruInside "The Jerk"||Herself||Documentary|
|1977||What's Happening!!||Brenda||Episode: "Dwayne's Dilemma"|
|1977||We've Got Each Other||Donna||9 episodes|
|1978||Insight||Angie||Episode: "It Can't Happen to Me"|
|1979||The White Shadow||Darlene Robinson||Episode: "Pregnant Pause"|
|1982||Lou Grant||Karly||Episode: "Suspect"|
|1984||The Jeffersons||Rhonda||Episode: "A New Girl in Town"|
|1986–1987||Hill Street Blues||Hooker / Jackie Lowrie||2 episodes|
|1989||TV 101||Teenage Pregnancy Counselor||Episode: "First Love: Part 2"|
|1987–1989||Beauty and the Beast||Edie||44 episodes|
|1989||Monsters||Cora||Episode: "Love Hurts"|
|1993||Roc||Pam||Episode: "Shove It Up Your Aspirin"|
|1995||The Client||Doctor||Episode: "The Prodigal Father"|
|1995||NYPD Blue||Lisa||Episode: "These Old Bones"|
|1996||Sabrina, the Teenage Witch||Mrs. Hecht||Episode: "Pilot"|
|1996||Relativity||Receptionist||Episode: "Jake Gets a Job"|
|2001||That's Life||Clerk||Episode: "Larva"|
- Sharon Eberson (October 4, 2013). "Preview: Actress Renn Woods writes musical based on life story". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved January 15, 2017.
- Eberson, Sharon (October 4, 2013). "Preview: Actress Renn Woods writes musical based on life story". Post-Gazette. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Archived from the original on May 9, 2019.
- Breslauer, Jan. "Easing On Down Life's Road With Her Own Songs". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on May 9, 2019.
- "Actress Renn Woods explains how she ended up in East Falls". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. February 25, 1999. p. 43 – via Newspapers.com.
- Bob Leszczak (November 2, 2012). Single Season Sitcoms, 1948–1979: A Complete Guide. McFarland. p. 198. ISBN 9780786493050. Retrieved January 15, 2017.
- "Renn Woods' Musical SOLD: RENN WOODS IN CONCERT Makes Industry Debut at Shelter Studios, 10/20". Broadway World. October 19, 2012. Retrieved January 15, 2017.
- "CD of the Month: Renn Woods – Crazy". The Funk Show. January 24, 2015. Retrieved January 15, 2017.
- "'Sold: Renn Woods in Concert'". New Pittsburgh Courier. October 18, 2013. Retrieved January 15, 2017.