Lynn Whitfield Biography, family, career, Net Worth 2024. Lynn Whitfield’s path to fame and elements that played a role in her net worth in 2024.

Lynn whitfield
Lynn whitfield

Lynn Whitfield, formerly known as Lynn Smith, born on February 15, 1953, is an accomplished American actress. Commencing her acting journey in television and theatre, she later transitioned to impactful supporting roles in the realm of film.

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Her noteworthy performance as Josephine Baker in the HBO biographical film The Josephine Baker Story (1991) earned her a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie, along with a Golden Globe Award nomination.

Throughout the 1990s, Whitfield assumed leading roles in numerous made-for-television movies and secured pivotal parts in theatrical films such as A Thin Line Between Love and Hate (1996), Gone Fishin’ (1997), Eve’s Bayou (1997), Stepmom (1998), Head of State (2003), Madea’s Family Reunion (2006), and The Women (2008). Her cinematic presence remained strong in the 2000s and 2010s with various notable roles.

Notably, from 2016 to 2020, she portrayed Lady Mae Greenleaf in the Oprah Winfrey Network dramatic series Greenleaf, receiving critical acclaim and clinching two NAACP Image Awards and a Gracie Award. In total, Lynn Whitfield has earned seven NAACP Image Awards for her outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment.

Lynn Whitfield Family

Lynn Whitfield Father

Lynn Whitfield’s father, Valerian Smith, who also served as a composer, crafting the musicals “The Supper” and “The Wake.”

Lynn Whitfield Mother

Whitfield was born to Jean Butler, who had previously served as the president of the Louisiana Housing Finance Agency.

Both of her parents played a crucial role in fostering Whitfield’s early passion for acting, being actively engaged in the Baton Rouge art scene. This interest in movies was instilled in her by her maternal grandmother, Estelle Devall Butler.

Lynn Whitfield Daughter (Grace Gibson)

Lynn whitfield and daughter Grace Gibson
Lynn whitfield and daughter Grace Gibson

After divorcing Vantile Whitfield in the late 70s, Lynn subsequently tied the knot with British director Brian Gibson in 1990. The couple shares a daughter named Grace.

Lynn Whitfield Career

After completing her education, she initially gained recognition on stage with the Black Repertory Company in Washington, D.C.

In 1974, she married Vantile Whitfield, a playwright, director, and actor, who was one of the co-founders of the company and a trailblazer in black theatre. Transitioning to New York, she took on off-Broadway roles in productions like The Great Macdaddy and Showdown Time.

Her international acclaim came with the 1977 production of the groundbreaking play “for colored girls who have considered suicide / When the Rainbow Is Enuf,” where she toured the United States, Australia, and London’s West End alongside Alfre Woodard.

Whitfield marked her professional screen debut in 1981 as Jill Thomas in the critically acclaimed NBC serial drama Hill Street Blues.

In 1983, she ventured into film with a supporting role in the comedy Doctor Detroit (1983), playing Thelma Cleland. Her filmography expanded with roles in The Slugger’s Wife, Silverado, and Jaws: The Revenge. Notable television appearances included The George McKenna Story opposite Denzel Washington, Johnnie Mae Gibson: FBI, and The Women of Brewster Place alongside Oprah Winfrey and Cicely Tyson. She also joined the cast of the short-lived 1988 ABC female-driven medical drama series Heartbeat.

Whitfield gained widespread recognition for her portrayal of Josephine Baker in The Josephine Baker Story (1991). The HBO biopic required her to age from 18 to 68 and earned her a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie. She received a Golden Globe nomination and won the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie. Following this success, she had a recurring role in the ABC legal drama Equal Justice and starred in various made-for-television movies, including Stompin’ at the Savoy (1992), Taking the Heat (1993), The Wedding (1998), and Deep in My Heart (1999).

In 1996, she played the lead role opposite Martin Lawrence in the dark romantic comedy A Thin Line Between Love and Hate.

Whitfield continued her career with supporting roles in films such as Head of State (2003), Madea’s Family Reunion (2006), The Women (2008), and Nappily Ever After (2018).

On television, she had recurring roles in Boston Public, Without a Trace, and Mistresses. Her significant TV role came as Lady Mae Greenleaf in the Oprah Winfrey Network series Greenleaf, where she received critical acclaim and won NAACP Image Awards and a Gracie Award.

In 2015, she played the main villain in Greenleaf and later took on a leading role in the series’ planned spinoff. Whitfield has remained active in both film and television, with recent appearances in Vacation Friends (2021) and plans for the action comedy film, The Retirement Plan (2023), alongside Nicolas Cage and Ron Perlman.

Lynn Whitfield Awards, Nominations and Achievements

Year Award Category Result
1991 Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Special Won
1992 Golden Globe Awards Best Performance by an Actress in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV Nominated
1992 CableACE Award Actress in a Movie or Miniseries Nominated
1993 NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, Mini-Series or Television Movie Won
1998 Outstanding Lead Actress in a Motion Picture Nominated
1998 Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Won
1999 Outstanding Lead Actress in a Television Movie or Mini-Series Nominated
2000 Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie/Miniseries/Dramatic Special Nominated
2000 Outstanding Performance in a Youth or Children’s Series/Special Won
1999 Online Film & Television Association Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture or Miniseries Nominated
2000 Black Reel Awards Network/Cable – Best Actress Nominated
2004 Television: Best Supporting Actress Nominated
2005 Best Actress, Network/Cable Television Won
2005 Women Film Critics Circle Awards Acting and Activism Award Won
2005 NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special Won
2016 Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Nominated
2017 Gracie Awards Actress in a Supporting Role – Drama Won
2017 Los Angeles Film Festival Best Ensemble Cast Won
2018 NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Nominated
2019 Won
2018 Black Reel Award Outstanding Supporting Actress, Drama Series Nominated
2019 Nominated
2020 NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Won


Lynn Whitfield Movies and TV Shows


Year Title Role Notes
1983 Doctor Detroit Thelma Cleland
1985 The Slugger’s Wife Tina Alvarado
1985 Silverado Rae Johnson
1987 Jaws: The Revenge Louisa McCay
1989 Dead Aim Sheila Freeman
1994 In the Army Now Sgt. Ladd
1996 A Thin Line Between Love and Hate Brandi Web
1997 Gone Fishin’ Angie
1997 The Planet of Junior Brown Mrs. Brown
1997 Eve’s Bayou Roz Batiste
1998 Stepmom Dr. P. Sweikert
2002 A Time for Dancing Linda Derricks
2003 Head of State Debra Lassiter
2006 Madea’s Family Reunion Victoria Breaux
2006 Confessions Dr. Page
2008 Kings of the Evening Gracie
2008 The Women Glenda Hill
2009 The Rebound Laura Reilly
2011 Mama, I Want to Sing! Lillian Winter
2011 All Things Fall Apart Bee
2012 Battlefield America Ms. Lynn Parker
2012 Redemption of a Dog Francine
2012 Training to Be A Superhero MiMi Jakes (Short film and also producer)
2013 Lonely Boy Dr. Christine Nolan
2013 24 Hour Love Cynthia
2013 King’s Faith Vanessa
2013 Act Like You Love Me Harriett Lofton
2013 Someone to Love Sophia Brent (Also producer)
2013 The Last Letter Lorraine
2013 The Dempsey Sisters Olivia Norman
2014 Blood Lines Vivian
2014 Take the Spotlight Lynn Watson
2014 30 Days in Atlanta Clara the Immigration Lawyer
2014 Lap Dance Momma Pearl
2015 Curve Ball Dr. Layne
2016 Prayer Never Fails Loral Hess
2016 The North Star Miss Grace
2017 Espionage Tonight Sydney Greenstreet
2018 Nappily Ever After Paulette Jones
2018 Solace Irene
2020 Tales from the Hood 3 Marie Benoit (Video)
2021 Vacation Friends Suzanne Conway
2023 The Retirement Plan Francine Drisdale



Year Title Role Notes
1981 Hill Street Blues Jill Thomas Recurring cast: season 1, guest: season 2
1982 American Playhouse Woman in the bath Episode: “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf”
1983 Matt Houston Val Episode: “The Centerfold Murders”
1985 Cagney & Lacey Eleanor Taggart Episode: “Who Says It’s Fair: Part 1 & 2”
1985 Miami Vice Odette Ribaud Episode: “Bought and Paid For”
1985 The Insiders Yvonne Episode: “All This and the Old School Tie”
1985 The Fall Guy Jeanne Episode: “Escape Claus”
1985 The Fisher Family Episode: “How Shall We Then Live?”
1986 The New Mike Hammer Della Marvel Episode: “Harlem Nocturne”
1986 Tall Tales & Legends Pollie Ann Episode: “John Henry”
1986 Johnnie Mae Gibson: FBI Johnnie Mae Gibson TV movie
1986 The George McKenna Story Bobbie Maxwell TV movie
1988 St. Elsewhere Annie Callan Episode: “Curtains”
1988–89 HeartBeat Dr. Cory Banks Main cast
1989 The Women of Brewster Place Lucielia “Ciel” Turner Episode: “Episode #1.1 & #1.2”
1989 Snoops Denise Kendall Recurring cast
1990 American Playhouse Episode: “Zora Is My Name!”
1990 Matlock Angela Page Episode: “The Informer Part 1 & 2”
1991 Equal Justice Maggie Mayfield Recurring cast: season 2
1991 The Trials of Rosie O’Neill Episode: “Domestic Silence”
1991 The Josephine Baker Story Josephine Baker TV movie
1991 A Triumph of the Heart: The Ricky Bell Story Natala TV movie
1992 Stompin’ at the Savoy Esther TV movie
1993 Taking the Heat Carolyn Hunter TV movie
1994 State of Emergency Dehlia Johnson TV movie
1994 Thicker Than Blood: The Larry McLinden Story Bobbie Mallory TV movie
1994–95 The Cosby Mysteries Barbara Lorenz Main cast
1996 Sophie & the Moonhanger Sophie TV movie
1997 Martin Ellen Episode: “Goin’ Overboard: Part 1 & 2”
1997 Touched by an Angel Dr. Serena Hall Episode: “Amazing Grace: Part 1 & 2”
1998 The Wedding Corinne Coles TV movie
1998 The Color of Courage Minnie McGhee TV movie
1999 Deep in My Heart Corinne Burrell TV movie
1999 Dangerous Evidence: The Lori Jackson Story Lori Jackson TV movie
1999 Love Songs Jean Simpson TV movie
2001 A Girl Thing Nia Morgan TV movie
2001 Boston Public Louanna Harper Recurring cast: season 2
2002 Lost in Oz Bellaridere TV movie
2002–06 Without a Trace Paula Van Doren Recurring cast: season 1, guest: season 2 & 4
2003 The Cheetah Girls Dorothea Garibaldi TV movie
2004 Redemption: The Stan Tookie Williams Story Barbara Becnel TV movie
2004 Strong Medicine Dr. Marshall Episode: “Race for a Cure”
2006 Shark Anita Astin Episode: “Pilot”
2006 The Cheetah Girls 2 Dorothea Garibaldi TV movie
2009 FlashForward Anastasia Markham Episode: “White to Play”
2012 Somebody’s Child Constance TV movie
2012 Are We There Yet? Pamela “Pam” Washington Episode: “The Mother’s-in-Law Episode” & “The Thanksgiving Episode”
2014 Family Time Donna Episode: “The Will”
2014 My Other Mother Mary Jo TV movie
2014 The Fright Night Files Madame Mabry TV movie
2014–15 How to Get Away with Murder Mary Walker Recurring cast: season 1
2014–16 Hit the Floor Vanessa Howard Recurring cast: season 2-3
2015 Chasing Life Karen Callahan Episode: “Model Behavior” & “No News Is Bad News”
2015 Fear Files Madame Mabry TV movie
2015–16 Mistresses Marjorie Guest: season 3, recurring cast: season 4
2016–20 Greenleaf Lady Mae Greenleaf Main cast
2019 The Resident Josephine Okeke Episode: “Queens”
2022 We Need a Little Christmas Irene TV movie
2023 Fantasy Island Judy Jackson Episode: “Mystery in Miami”
2023 The Chi Alicia 4 episodes


Lynn Whitfield Net Worth 2024

Lynn Whitfield has had a career that spans both the stage and screen. her net worth is estimated to reach $15 million in 2024, underscoring a journey adorned with roles that have garnered critical acclaim.