Victoria Rowell

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Victoria Rowell
De'Von Brown with Actress Victoria Rowell.jpg
BornVictoria Lynn Rowell
(1959-05-10) May 10, 1959 (age 55)
Portland, Maine, U.S.
OccupationActress, presenter, writer
Years active1987–present
Spouse(s)Tom Fahey (1989-1990)
Radcliffe Bailey (2009-present)
 
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Victoria Rowell
De'Von Brown with Actress Victoria Rowell.jpg
BornVictoria Lynn Rowell
(1959-05-10) May 10, 1959 (age 55)
Portland, Maine, U.S.
OccupationActress, presenter, writer
Years active1987–present
Spouse(s)Tom Fahey (1989-1990)
Radcliffe Bailey (2009-present)

Victoria Lynn Rowell (born May 10, 1959)[1] is an American actress and dancer. She is best known for her portrayal of Drucilla Winters on the CBS daytime drama The Young and the Restless, and medical examiner/pathologist Dr. Amanda Bentley on the CBS drama Diagnosis: Murder. From 1993 to 2000, she appeared on both series simultaneously.

Biography[edit]

Early life[edit]

Rowell was born in Portland, Maine, on May 10, 1959. Her biological mother, Dorothy Rowell, was of English descent and a Mayflower descendant, and her birth father, whose surname was Wilson, was of African-American descent.[2][3] Rowell knew very little about her father. Dorothy, who suffered from schizophrenia, took a taxi to a hospital to give birth to Rowell, leaving a son and two small daughters unsupervised. When she was 16 days old, Rowell, along with her two sisters, Sheree and Lori, was surrendered to child services.[4]

While living in Maine with foster parents Agatha C. and Robert Armstead,[3] Rowell, then eight, began ballet lessons. She became a member of Sigma Gamma Rho sorority, an African-American Greek-Lettered Sorority. After dancing with the American Ballet Theater II and the Juilliard School of Music Dance Extension program with Antony Tudor, Rowell accepted guest artist teaching posts in New England.[5]

Acting career[edit]

In the 1980s, Rowell became an in-demand runway and catalog model. She began to take acting lessons and earned featured roles on television shows such as The Cosby Show. In 1990, she was cast as street urchin-turned-fashion model Drucilla Barber on the long-running soap opera The Young and the Restless. Rowell became a fan favorite and was nominated for three Daytime Emmy awards in 1996, 1997 and 1998. She won 11 NAACP Image Awards for her portrayal of Drucilla. Rowell's first run as Drucilla was from 1990 to 1998. She briefly returned in 2000, then returned on a regular basis from 2002 until early 2007.

Rowell also played Dr. Amanda Bentley on the CBS series Diagnosis: Murder, opposite Dick Van Dyke, replacing Cynthia Gibb. For much of Rowell's stint on Diagnosis: Murder, she was working on that show and on The Young and the Restless simultaneously. One episode of Diagnosis Murder centered around murder on the set of The Young and the Restless; Rowell was featured as both Amanda and Drucilla in that episode. During her time on Diagnosis, Rowell enjoyed a wonderful on- and off-screen friendship with Van Dyke, learning every case and medical terms in almost every episode. She was on the show until the series ended in 2001.

Rowell's departure from Y&R in April 2007 generated some media coverage and controversy. Rowell expressed her anger about routine backstage politics at the show, and in particular, how she perceived those events impacted her and prevented her from being nominated for a Daytime Emmy. Sony Pictures Television, which produces Y&R, ordered then-Head Writer Lynn Marie Latham to kill off Drucilla Barber Winters. Rowell herself said a few months prior to her exit (and before it was revealed that her character would be killed) that she quit Y&R because she had asked to be allowed to write for the show and was turned down.

Rowell was hired as a guest star to appear on Noah's Arc, a TV series about four gay black men living in Los Angeles. She appeared in Season Two as "Vonda," who is having an affair with a woman while married to her husband.

Rowell has also made appearances in several feature films, including The Distinguished Gentleman, Dumb & Dumber, Barb Wire, Eve's Bayou and Home of the Brave (in 2007).

In spring 2009, Rowell signed a six-figure deal with Atria Books for a book about the world of daytime TV. Rowell is currently on a national tour for her newest book, "Secrets Of A Soap Opera Diva", which some say is a thinly veiled look into her own life on Y&R.

She has been cast in a leading role on the CBS television pilot Peachtree Lines, a dramatic examination of political, social, and cultural issues in Atlanta. Also starring Treat Williams, Ving Rhames, James Van Der Beek, Jason Dohring, and Jena Malone.

Personal life[edit]

Rowell's first marriage was to Tom Fahey in 1989. They had a daughter, Maya, and divorced the following year. Rowell had a long-term relationship with musician Wynton Marsalis; and they had a son, Jasper (Jasper played Rowell's son CJ on Diagnosis: Murder starting with season 3).[6] In May 2008, Rowell announced her engagement to Radcliffe Bailey, an Atlanta artist, at her annual High Tea at Noon fundraiser. Victoria and Radcliffe married on June 27, 2009, in Dublin, New Hampshire.

Rowell was raised Protestant and later converted to the Catholic Church.[7]

In 1990, Rowell founded the "Rowell Foster Children Positive Plan",[8] which gives emotional support and financial aid to foster children, especially to those who aspire to become actors and dancers - the road Rowell took. In 2004, she was a special guest on the talk show Dr. Phil, in which she gave an emancipated foster child a chance at a job with Sony, dental care, and a scholarship from her foundation.

Work with foster children[edit]

In May 2006, Rowell was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters by the University of Southern Maine in recognition of her work for the benefit of foster children. In 2007, Rowell published a memoir of her life that focused on her time in foster care. Entitled The Women Who Raised Me, Rowell discusses all of the foster mothers who cared for her and for her sisters. She also pays tribute to the women in a documentary film, The Mentor, that she participated in.[4] Rowell says that she began writing the book when Y&R turned down her offer to write for the show. She began a national book tour in April 2007.[9]

In March 2008, Victoria was the first recipient of the Gift of Adoption Celebration of Adoption Award, an award given to individuals or groups who are helping to unite children with forever families.

In March 2012, Storey Publishing will release a book titled Tag, Toss & Run: 40 Classic Lawn Games, which Rowell co-authored with well-known environmental activist Paul Tukey.

Filmography[edit]

YearFilmRoleNotes
1987Leonard Part 6Joan Parker
1988As the World TurnsNella Franklin (created by Douglas Marland; hired by Laurence Caso)
1989–1990The Cosby ShowPaula2 Episodes
1990The Fresh Prince of Bel-AirMimi Mumford1 Episode
1992The Distinguished GentlemanCelia Kirby
1991–1993Hermans HeadSusan Bracken2 Episodes
1994Dumb and DumberBeth Jordan
1995Deadly GamesCourtney Lake1 Episode
1996Barb WireCora D
1997Eve's BayouStevie Hobbs
1999A Wake in ProvidenceAlissa
1993–2001Diagnosis: MurderAmanda Bentley-Livingston176 Episodes
2001Family LawMs. Wilkes1 Episode
2001Feast of All SaintsJosette Metoyer
2002A Town Without PityDr. Amanda BentleyTV movie based on the series Diagnosis: Murder
2003Without WarningDr. Amanda BentleyTV movie based on the series Diagnosis: Murder
2003Black ListedPatricia Chambers
2004MotivesDetective Pierce
2005A Perfect FitSheila
2006Noah's ArcVonda2 Episodes
2006Home of the BravePenelope Marsh
2007Polly and MarieRebecca McCaw
2007All of UsDeborah Cooper1 Episode
1990–2007The Young and the RestlessDrucilla Winters488 episodes
2008Of Boys and MenAunt Janay
2010Ghost WhispererAdrienne1 Episode
2013 & 2014Law & Order: Special Victims UnitJudge Delilah Hawkins2 Episodes

Appearances[edit]

Awards and nominations[edit]

YearAwardCategoryWorkResult
19928th Soap Opera Digest AwardsOutstanding Female Newcomer: DaytimeThe Young and the RestlessNominated
199410th Soap Opera Digest AwardsOutstanding Scene StealerThe Young and the RestlessWon
199426th NAACP Image AwardOutstanding Actress in a Daytime Drama SeriesThe Young and the RestlessWon
199511th Soap Opera Digest AwardsHottest Female StarThe Young and the RestlessNominated
199627th NAACP Image AwardOutstanding Actress in a Daytime Drama SeriesThe Young and the RestlessWon
199623rd Daytime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama SeriesThe Young and the RestlessNominated
199724th Daytime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama SeriesThe Young and the RestlessNominated
199728th NAACP Image AwardOutstanding Actress in a Daytime Drama SeriesThe Young and the RestlessWon
199825th Daytime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama SeriesThe Young and the RestlessNominated
199829th NAACP Image AwardOutstanding Actress in a Daytime Drama SeriesThe Young and the RestlessWon
199930th NAACP Image AwardOutstanding Actress in a Daytime Drama SeriesDiagnosis MurderNominated
199930th NAACP Image AwardOutstanding Actress in a Daytime Drama SeriesThe Young and the RestlessWon
200131st NAACP Image AwardOutstanding Actress in a Daytime Drama SeriesThe Young and the RestlessWon
200334th NAACP Image AwardOutstanding Actress in a Daytime Drama SeriesThe Young and the RestlessWon
200318th Soap Opera Digest AwardsFavorite ReturnThe Young and the RestlessNominated
200435th NAACP Image AwardOutstanding Actress in a Daytime Drama SeriesThe Young and the RestlessWon
200519th Soap Opera Digest AwardsOutstanding Actress in a Supporting RoleThe Young and the RestlessNominated
200536th NAACP Image AwardOutstanding Actress in a Daytime Drama SeriesThe Young and the RestlessWon
200637th NAACP Image AwardOutstanding Actress in a Daytime Drama SeriesThe Young and the RestlessWon

References[edit]

External links[edit]