Broadway Vet and Acclaimed Actress Novella Nelson Dies at 77

BroadwayWorld has learned that acclaimed actress and Broadway vet Novella Nelson died on Friday, September 1st at the age of 77.

Starting in 1961, Nelson had a decades-long stage career, performing, directing and producing, primarily in New York. She was a featured performer on Broadway in 1970 in the musical, Purlie. In 1975, Nelson directed the play La Femme Noire at The Public Theater. Her film career began at age 39 with a small part in 1977's An Unmarried Woman, and continued for the next several decades with roles in movies and television. She was last seen on the stage in 2014 in Horton Foote's The Old Friends opposite Betty Buckley, HAllie Foote, Annalee Jefferies and Veanne Cox.

Her Broadway and Off-Broadway credits include Having Our Say; The Little Foxes; Caesar and Cleopatra; Purlie; Hello, Dolly; Division Street; A Piece of My Heart; Simon McBurney's The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui; Passing Games and In White America, among others.

Regional credits include Seattle Repertory Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, ALLIANCE THEATRE, Hartford Stage and American Conservatory Theater. She has appeared in such productions as The People's Temple at The Guthrie Theater, The Big White Fog at London's Almeida Theatre, Oedipus at American Repertory Theater and in a highly acclaimed London production of A Raisin in the Sun which played both the Lyric Hammersmith and The Young Vic theatres.

Film/TV credits include RIPD, Lars Von Trier's Dear Wendy, Denzel Washington's Antwone Fisher, Chris Rocks' Head of State, Spike Lee's Clockers, Francis Ford Coppola's The Cotton Club, Peter Weir's Green Card, Taylor Hackford's The Devil's Advocate, Jonathan Glazer's Birth, Emily Hubley's The Toe Tactic, The Starter Wife, One Life to Live, Sex and the City, and Oz, among others.

She has directed projects at Lincoln Center Theater, Hartford Stage, Manhattan Class Company, The Public Theater, and the Negro Ensemble Company.

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