Jonelle Allen

Jonelle Allen
Born New York City, New York, U.S.
Occupation Actress, singer, dancer
Years active 1970–present

Jonelle Allen is an American actress, singer, and dancer.

Born in New York City, Allen grew up in Harlem's Sugar Hill in a neighborhood that included Duke Ellington, Sonny Rollins, and Johnny Hodges, and NAACP founder Walter White. She made her Broadway debut at the age of six in The Wisteria Trees, Joshua Logan's Americanized adaptation of The Cherry Orchard starring Helen Hayes. As a child, she also made regular appearances on a local children's television series, The Merry Mailman, hosted by Ray Heatherton.

Allen returned to Broadway for a revival of Finian's Rainbow. She was in the cast of the original off-Broadway production of Hair at Joseph Papp's Public Theater and also appeared in George M! before receiving critical acclaim and a Tony Award nomination for Two Gentlemen of Verona, which earned her New York Drama Critics' Circle, Drama Desk, Theatre World, and Outer Critics Circle Awards for her performance. Despite her success, it proved to be her last Broadway appearance to date.

Allen's film credits include Cotton Comes to Harlem, The Hotel New Hampshire, and The River Niger, for which she won an NAACP Image Award. Other television appearances include Barney Miller, The Love Boat, All in the Family, Trapper John, M.D., Hill Street Blues, Cagney and Lacey, ER, and Girlfriends. She played a lesbian prison inmate in the 1975 television movie Cage Without a Key, which starred Susan Dey.

Her most notable roles are Grace, the entrepreneurial cafe owner in the old west, that she played for seven years on Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, as well as the flamboyant and outspoken Doreen Jackson on the NBC soap opera, Generations and Lucinda Cavender, the vampire witch in the horror comedy film The Midnight Hour. Before her role of Doreen on Generations, Jonelle played ambitious salesgirl turned boutique manager Stacey Russell, on the short-lived primetime soap, Berrenger's.

Allen appeared as the legendary Harlem Jazz Queen Florence Mills in Harlem Renaissance at the 2007 Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Ms. Allen is currently heading up the New Works//Staged Reading Projects at Saddleback College, and is also writing and directing new shows which Ms. Allen calls "plays with music' which have been presented at Saddleback, notably an adaptation of Dickens Christmas Carol and The Journey both with composer, David Jayden Anthony. This year, Ms. Allen has a film The Divorce by Donald B. Welch, being released on Amazon, and this summer, Ms. Allen will be starring in Hello Dolly at Saddlebacks CLO. Later this year, Ms. Allen will be starring in Donald B. Welch's Secret Garden, and doing an updated version of her Florence Mills one woman show, which Ms. Allen is writing with her collaborators, Stevi Meredith and David Jayden Anthony.


Year Film Role Notes
1970 Cotton Comes to Harlem Secretary
1970 The Cross and the Switchblade Bishop Deb
1972 Come Back, Charleston Blue Carol
1974 Wide World Mystery Eva Episode: 'Legacy of Blood'
1974 Police Woman Laurette Blake/Maxine Played Laurette in the 1974 episode 'The End Game' & played Maxine in the 1975 episode 'Above & Beyond'
1975 Cage Without a Key Tommy
1975 Foster and Laurie Jacqueline Foster
1975 Barney Miller Officer Turner Episode: 'Hot Dogs'
1975 Police Story Mary Sue/Merrily Goodwin Played Mary Sue in the episode 'The Execution' & played Merrily in the episode 'The Company Man'
1976 The American Woman: Portraits of Courage Rosa Parks
1976 The River Niger Ann Vanderguild
1976 Joe Forrester Episode: 'The Boy Next Door'
1978 What's Happening!! Love-is-Life Episode: 'Rerun Sees the Light"
1978 The Love Boat Andrea Martin Episode: 'Gopher the Rebel/Cabin Fever/Pacific Princess Overture'
1978 All in the Family Marabel Episode: 'Archie's Other Wife'
1979 The White Shadow Shelley Episode: 'Airball'
1979 Vampire Brandy
1980 Brave New World Fanny Crowne
1980 Palmerstown, U.S.A. Bessie Freeman Appeared in 11 episodes, 1980–1981
1982 Victims Maydene Jariott
1982 Trapper John, M.D. Episode: 'Medicine Man'
1983 Cagney & Lacey Elizabeth Carter/Claudia Petrie Played Elizabeth in the 1983 episode 'Open & Shut Case' & played Claudia in the 1984 episode 'A Killer's Dozen'
1984 Hill Street Blues Linda Talbot Episode: 'The Count of Monty Tasco'
1984 The Hotel New Hampshire Sabrina
1985 Berrenger's Stacey Russell
1985 The Midnight Hour Lucinda Cavender
1986 The Penalty Phase Susan Jansen
1987 The Hitchhiker Sunny Episode: 'Made for Each Other'
1987 Werewolf Episode: 'Big Daddy'
1989 Generations Doreen Jackson
1992 The Royal Family Nina Martin Episode: 'The Big Stink'. Episode was never aired.
1992 Grave Secrets: The Legacy of Hilltop Drive Madeline Garrick
1993 Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman Grace Appeared in 106 episodes, 1993–1998
1997 The Eddie Files Eddie's Music Teacher Episode: 'Patterns: The Big Concert'
1998 Next Time Evelyn
1999 Blues for Red Dora
1999 Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman: The Movie Grace
1999 Twice in a Lifetime Dr. Grace Grant-Heistings, M.D./Nurse Daisy Bradford Episode: 'Healing Touch'
2000 ER Debbie Marlin Episodes: 'Foreign Affairs' & 'Rescue Me'
2001 Flossin Viola
2002 Strong Medicine Connie Episode: 'Stages'
2003 Mr. Barrington Mother Anne
2005 As Seen on TV Shauna
2007 Girlfriends Eleanor Episode: 'Operation Does She Yield'
2008 Float Madge
2014 "The Divorce" Thelma
2016 American Crime Story Mom Darden
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