Here are the details off MSNBC. Very Sad to hear this!!
Actress and singer
Nell Carter dies
Starred in ‘Gimme a Break’
and won Tony on Broadway
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif., Jan. 23 — Nell Carter, who played the sassy, matronly housekeeper on the 1980s sitcom “Gimme a Break!” and received a Tony Award for her performance in the Broadway musical “Ain’t Misbehavin’,” died Thursday, her publicist said. She was 54.
‘I was a weirdo to want to be in show business. Most kids wanted to be teachers or nurses.’
— NELL CARTER
THE SINGER-ACTRESS collapsed in her Beverly Hills home and was found by her 13-year-old son, Joshua, spokesman Roger Lane said.
Carter had suffered from diabetes for years, Lane added, and underwent brain surgery in 1992 to remove an aneurysm. She recovered and continued to perform, mostly on stage.
At the time of her death, Carter was in rehearsals at a Long Beach theater for “Raisin,” a musical version of “Raisin in the Sun.” That show was set to run from Feb. 7 to March 9, and is expected to continue with a replacement.
Shashin Desai, co-director of the show with his wife, Karen, said he felt like “the roof caved in” when he heard about Carter’s death. “It wasn’t for the money that she was doing the show, it was for the passion and love of the piece,” he said.
Blessed with a big voice and strong stage presence despite her 4-foot-11 height, the heavyset Carter prided herself on her range as a performer, doing musicals and drama as well as comedy.
“She was a pioneer in many ways,” said fellow Tony winner Audra McDonald. “She had the ability to be such an incredible comedic musical-theater actress, blow a song all the way to the back of the wall and then come down and be so intimate and beautiful in a ballad.”
In addition to her Tony for “Ain’t Misbehavin,”’ Carter received an Emmy in 1982 for a TV broadcast of the show, which was a revue of Fats Waller songs. Her quietly soulful number “Mean to Me” was a show highlight.
Her NBC comedy “Gimme a Break!” ran from 1981 to 1987, and garnered her two more Emmy nominations, in 1982 and 1983.
In February 1985, an episode of the show was broadcast live — the first for a situation comedy in nearly 30 years. Carter and her costars performed flawlessly, and at the end, she threw up her arms and yelled, “We did it!”
She played the housekeeper to a family headed by a widower who was the town police chief, played by Dolph Sweet. After Sweet died in May 1985, his character “died” too and the show went through a series of plot and cast changes.
Blessed with a big voice and stage presence, the heavyset Carter prided herself on her range as a performer, doing musicals and drama as well as comedy.
Early in her career, she performed as a singer on the gospel circuit. She moved on to coffeehouses and nightclubs in her native Birmingham, Ala., before going on to New York.
She aspired to be a belter: a singer who gave her all. “You’re afraid you might hyperventilate or crack, but you do it for the excitement of it,” she said. “Head singers have to hold everything tight to get the note. I like belters, people who have that non-control but control.”
Growing up, Carter listened to her mother’s recordings of Dinah Washington and B.B. King, and her brother’s Elvis Presley records. She liked Doris Day, the Andrews Sisters, Johnny Mathis, and admired the work of Cleo Laine and Barbra Streisand.
Carter said she would have preferred to be an opera singer.
“When I was growing up, (performing) was not something you aspired to,” she said in 1988. “I was a weirdo to want to be in show business. Most kids wanted to be teachers or nurses.”
She converted to Judaism in the early 1980s after marrying a Jewish businessman from Austria, Georg Krynicki. “I needed to know where God was, and I went back to the basics,” she said of her conversion.
From early in her career until the mid-1980s, Carter struggled with alcohol and drugs, eventually shaking her addictions through a 12-step program.
Carter was married and divorced twice. She is survived by an adult daughter, Tracy, and two sons, Joshua and Daniel, both 13.