OBITUARY: Madge Sinclair
Wednesday 03 January 1996
Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Sinclair was educated at the Shortwood College for Women and taught in schools in Jamaica until she was 30. Moving to New York, she acted with the New York Shakespearean Festival and at Joseph Papp's Public Theatre. She made her film debut with an impressive performance as Mrs Scott, the single-minded South Carolina school principal who clashes with Jon Voigt in Martin Ritt's Conrack (1974). Other film roles included the madame of a bordello in Leadbelly (1976), the captain of the USS Saratoga in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986) and as Eddie Murphy's mother in Coming to America (1988). In 1994 she was the voice of the lion queen in Disney's smash hit animated feature The Lion King.
Television provided Sinclair with numerous roles. She appeared in everything from The Waltons to the made-for- television feature I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, adapted from Maya Angelou's eloquent autobiography. Sinclair once said: "Some people get snooty about it, but I like working for television. I can finish something and see it the next week." For her regular role as the unflappable nurse Ernestine Shoop in the popular drama series Trapper John, M.D., a spin- off from M*A*S*H*, Sinclair was nominated for three Emmy awards. She won a Los Angeles regional Emmy for the 1987 drama Look Away in which she portrayed the former slave who was Mary Todd Lincoln's dressmaker. More recently she won another Emmy for her role as James Earl Jones's love interest in the ABC series Gabriel's Fire. In 1994 Sinclair was featured in the miniseries A Century of Women.
In addition to her Emmy awards, Sinclair was honoured by the prime minister of Jamaica with the Order of Distinction, Rank of Commander. Besides television, Sinclair also found time to make stage appearances with the Los Angeles Theatre Center which, she said, reminded her of her beginnings at the Public Theatre in New York. One reviewer was moved to describe her performance in Boseman and Lena at the Center as "magnificent".
In 1993 Sinclair came to London to appear at the Cochrane Theatre as the sharp-witted Isabella in The Lion, Michael Abbensetts's play directed by Horace Ove for the Talawa Theatre Company.
Madge Sinclair, actress: born Kingston, Jamaica 28 April 1940; married (two sons); died Los Angeles 20 December 1995.
- 1 Morgan Freeman on the riot-focused coverage of the Baltimore protests: 'F**k the media'
- 2 The man who filmed the Freddie Gray video has been arrested at gunpoint
- 4 Frankie Boyle on Scottish independence: 'In the Interests of Unity, F**k Off'
- 5 Length of pregnancy can vary by up to five weeks, scientists discover
Boston Marathon runner's search for mystery man she kissed ends with letter from his wife
Saudi Arabia's King Salman sacks senior aide for 'slapping' a journalist behind him live on TV
Frankie Boyle on Scottish independence: 'In the Interests of Unity, F**k Off'
Italian police 'reveal' what Jesus looked like as a young boy
Florida couple forced to register as sex offenders for having sex on public beach
In defence of liberal democracy
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
General election live: SNP suspends two members for disrupting Labour rally
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils
Andy McSmith's Sketch: Feisty audience is the real star of an enlightening show
£36000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, Stock...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join one of...
£18000 - £20000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events busi...