Known for movies

Short Info

Date Of BirthApril 4, 1928
DiedMay 28, 2014, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, United States
SpousePaul du Feu, Enistasious Tosh Angelos
FactHer mother, Vivian Althea Baxter Wilburn, had her when she was 16.

Maya Angelou (/ˈændʒəloʊ/; born Marguerite Annie Johnson; April 4, 1928 – May 28, 2014) was an American poet, memoirist, and civil rights activist. She published seven autobiographies, three books of essays, several books of poetry, and is credited with a list of plays, movies, and television shows spanning over 50 years. She received dozens of awards and more than 50 honorary degrees. Angelou is best known for her series of seven autobiographies, which focus on her childhood and early adult experiences. The first, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969), tells of her life up to the age of 17 and brought her international recognition and acclaim.

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, on April 4, 1928, Maya Angelou was raised in St. Louis and Stamps, Arkansas. She is the second child of Bailey Johnson, a doorman and navy dietitian, and Vivian (Baxter) Johnson, a nurse and card dealer. Angelou had a brother, Bailey Jr., who died ten years before she was born. Angelou’s parents divorced when she was three and she and her brother were sent to live with their paternal grandmother in the small town of Stamps, Arkansas. Angelou’s grandmother, Annie Henderson, was a former slave who instilled a love of reading in her granddaughter. Angelou’s interest in writing began at an early age; she wrote her first poem at the age of eight.

After graduating from high school, Angelou moved to San Francisco to live with her mother. There she worked as a waitress and began writing for the African-American newspaper The Sun Reporter. In 1951, she met South African freedom fighter Vusumzi Make; the two married and had a son, Guy. The marriage ended after eight years.

In the early 1960s, Angelou became active in the Civil Rights movement. She worked with Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. In 1964, she moved to Ghana to teach at the University of Ghana; she returned to the United States in 1966.

In 1968, Angelou’s close friend Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. The following year, her only child, Guy, was killed in a car accident. These tragedies had a profound effect on Angelou and she stopped writing for several years.

In 1974, Angelou published Gather Together in My Name, the second book in her autobiography series. The book chronicles her life from age 17 to 19 and details her experiences as a single mother in New York City.

In 1977, Angelou published Singin’ and Swingin’ and Gettin’ Merry Like Christmas, the third book in her autobiography series. The book chronicles her life from age 20 to 31 and details her experiences working as a nightclub singer and dancer in Europe and Africa.

In 1981, Angelou published The Heart of a Woman, the fourth book in her autobiography series. The book chronicles her life from age 32 to 40 and details her experiences as a civil rights activist in the United States.

In 1986, Angelou published All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes, the fifth book in her autobiography series. The book chronicles her life from age 41 to 50 and details her experiences living in Ghana and working as a journalist in Cairo, Egypt.

In 1992, Angelou published A Song Flung Up to Heaven, the sixth book in her autobiography series. The book chronicles her life from age 51 to 62 and details her experiences working as a university professor in North Carolina and New York City.

In 2002, Angelou published Mom & Me & Mom, the seventh and final book in her autobiography series. The book chronicles her relationship with her mother from Angelou’s childhood to her mother’s death in 2000.

Angelou died on May 28, 2014 at her home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. She was 86 years old.

General Info

Full NameMaya Angelou
Date Of BirthApril 4, 1928
DiedMay 28, 2014, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, United States
Height1.82 m
ProfessionJournalist, Female Prostitute, Screenwriter, Television producer, Pimp, Musician, Film producer, Author, Film director, Poet, Playwright, Professor, Actor, Dancer, Essayist, Civil rights activist
EducationGeorge Washington High School, California Labor School


SpousePaul du Feu, Enistasious Tosh Angelos
ChildrenGuy Johnson
ParentsBailey Johnson, Vivian Baxter Johnson
SiblingsBailey Johnson Jr.


AwardsPresidential Medal of Freedom, Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album, Spingarn Medal, Marian Anderson Award, Langston Hughes Medal, NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work, Nonfiction, Quill Award for Poetry, Gracie Awards, NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work - Poetry, The BET ...
Music GroupsRock Bottom Remainders
NominationsScreen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture, Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play, NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture, NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work - Children's, Goodreads Choice Awards Best Me...
MoviesMadea's Family Reunion, Down in the Delta, Poetic Justice, How to Make an American Quilt, Georgia, Georgia, The Black Candle, Elmo Saves Christmas, The Journey of August King, On the Shoulders of Giants, Sister, Sister, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, The Runaway, How Do You Spell God?, Boogeyman, ...
TV ShowsThe Richard Pryor Show, Roots, Shiva

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1If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.
2Success is liking yourself.
3I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
4[describing herself] A too- big Negro girl, with nappy black hair, broad feet, and a space between her teeth that would hold a number-two pencil.
5By love I mean that condition in the human spirit so profound, it encourages us to the develop courage and then bridges, and then to trust those bridges and cross the bridges in attempts to reach other human beings.
6[on the George Zimmerman acquittal] A number of people think that only blacks were hurt, that African Americans were hurt by this decision, but that is not true. All you have to do is look at the protesters - they are white and black, Spanish-speaking and Asian. What is really injured - bruised if you will - is the psyche of our national population. We are all harmed. We are all belittled, and we give to the rest of the world more ammunition to sneer at us. It really makes me see how far we have to go, that one man armed with a gun can actually profile a young man because he is black and end up shooting him dead. It is so painful.
7[on Michelle Obama] Philosophers tell us that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Mrs. Obama is as if it doesn't touch her. She hasn't tried to become anybody else's idea of First Lady. She has remained herself, with her grace, her gentleness, and her sense of humor. That she would dare to wear clothes off the rack, or go out and garden, or have a grandmother in the White House - she knows how to be a public figure without being separate from her family.
8[on reconnecting with her mother who had abandoned her ten years before] I didn't know her. I didn't trust her. But I began to like her because she was kind. I said, 'I'd like to call you Lady'. She told everybody, "Call me Lady from now on'. Amazing. And she was kind to people, all sorts of people - white ones and black ones and Spanish-speaking ones. If they needed something, my mother was the one.
9I think men are as crazy as they were, and women as crazy as they were.. I've never had a dislike for men. I've been badly mistreated by some. But I've been loved greatly by some. I married a lot of them.
10I like to have guns around. I don't like to carry them.
11[observation at 85] I've still not written as well as I want to. I want to write so that the reader in Des Moines, Iowa, in Kowloon, China, in Cape Town, South Africa can say, 'You know, that's the truth. I wasn't there , and I wasn't a six-foot black girl, but that's the truth'.
12On experience: A cynical young person is almost the saddest sight to see, because it means that he or she has gone from knowing nothing to believing nothing.
13On childhood: Few, if any survive their teens. Most surrender to the vague but murderous pressure of adult conformity.
14On love: The loss of young first love is so painful that it borders on the ludicrous.
15Everything in the universe has rhythm. Everything dances.
16Self-pity in its early stage is as snug as a feather mattress. Only when it hardens does it become uncomfortable.
17Children's talent to endure stems from their ignorance of alternatives.
18The quality of strength lined with tenderness is an unbeatable combination, as are intelligence and necessity when unblunted by formal education.
19I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life's a bitch. You've got to go out and kick ass.
20At fifteen life had taught me undeniably that surrender, in its place, was as honorable as resistance, especially if one had no choice.
21If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude. Don't complain.
22Love is that condition in the human spirit so profound that it allows me to survive, and better than that, to thrive with passion, compassion, and style.


1Her mother, Vivian Althea Baxter Wilburn, had her when she was 16.
2Upon her death, she was cremated, her ashes were scattered.
3Inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 1993 (inaugural class).
4Pictured on a USA 'forever' commemorative postage stamp issued 7 April 2015. Price on day of issue was 49¢.
5Was narrator for "Hall of Presidents" at Walt Disney Theme Parks following Rex Allen.
6She had been awarded more than thirty honorary college and university degrees.
7Awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama in 2011.
8Hosted and was a subject-matter expert for the instructional telecourse "Humanities Through the Arts".
9Toured Europe and Africa in an American production cast of 'Porgy and Bess' between 1954 and 1955.
10Considered Oprah Winfrey her dear friend and the daughter she always wanted, while Oprah considered her as "a mother-sister-friend" and "one of the greatest influences in her entire life".
11She recorded an album with Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson, called "Been Found" in 1996.
12Thanked by Fiona Apple in the liner notes of her album "Tidal".
13She was awarded the American National Medal of the Arts in 2000 by the National Endowment for the Arts in Washington D.C.
14Spoke fluent French, Spanish, Italian, Arabic and West African Fanti.
15Was nominated for Broadway's 1973 Tony Award as Best Supporting or Featured Actress (Dramatic) as Mary Lincoln confidant Elizabeth Keckley in "Look Away.".
16Biography/bibliography in: "Contemporary Authors". New Revision Series, Vol. 133, pp. 14-25. Farmington Hills, MI: Thomson Gale, 2005.
17Honorary member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.
18Attended and graduated from George Washington High School in San Francisco, California, USA.
19The title of her memoir "I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings" comes from the poem "Sympathy" (specifically, the last stanza) by Paul Laurence Dunbar.
20Inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame in 1998.
21Mother of Guy B. Johnson, author of the novel "Standing at the Scratch Line" (2001) and 'Echoes of a Distant Summer: A Novel" (2011).
22At age seven, Maya was raped by her mother's boyfriend. She wasn't going to tell anyone, but her brother Bailey persuaded her to tell him who raped her. As a result, the man was killed. Maya believed her spoken word caused his death, and as a result refused to speak for years.
23She recorded an album for Liberty Records in 1957 titled "Miss Calypso".
24Her nickname "Maya" came from her older brother, Bailey, who called her "My" and "Mine".
25She was the first black and female cable car conductor in San Francisco.
26She read her poem "On the Pulse Into Morning" at the inauguration of President Bill Clinton on January 20, 1993, only the second poet asked to compose and deliver a poem at a US Presidential Inauguration, after Robert Frost at the inauguration of President John F. Kennedy in 1961.
27Received the Women's International Center (WIC) Living Legacy Award in 1986.




Madea's Family Reunion2006May
Phenomenal Woman2001ShortPhenomenal Woman
The Runaway2000TV MovieConjure Woman
Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child2000TV SeriesFairy Godmother
Talking with David Frost1997TV Series
Elmo Saves Christmas1996VideoNarrator
Touched by an Angel1995TV SeriesClarice Mitchell
How to Make an American Quilt1995Anna
The Journey of August King1995Narrator (voice)
Sesame Street1995TV SeriesGuest Appearance in 'A New Way to Walk'
There Are No Children Here1993TV MovieLelia Mae
Poetic Justice1993Aunt June
Roots1977TV Mini-SeriesNyo Boto Yaisa
Porgy and Bess1959Dancer (uncredited)
Calypso Heat Wave1957Maya Angelou


The Black Candle2008Documentary poetry written by
America's Dream1996TV Movie story "The Reunion"
Sister, Sister1982TV Movie
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings1979TV Movie book
The Richard Pryor Special?1977TV Special soliloquy
Georgia, Georgia1972


Michael Feinstein's American Songbook2010TV Mini-Series documentary lyrics - 1 episode
The Mystic Masseur2001performer: "Scandal in the Family"
For Love of Ivy1968lyrics: "You Put It on Me"
Calypso Heat Wave1957performer: "All That Happens in the Market Place" / writer: "All That Happens in the Market Place"


Down in the Delta1998
Visions1976TV Series 1 episode

Music Department

Georgia, Georgia1972composer: score


Sister, Sister1982TV Movie producer


Poetic Justice1993poetry


Reading Rainbow1983TV SeriesHerself
Creativity with Bill Moyers1982TV Series documentaryHerself
Hungry i reunion1981DocumentaryHerself
Dinah!1976-1977TV SeriesHerself
The Richard Pryor Special?1977TV SpecialWillie's Wife
Sammy and Company1975TV SeriesHerself
The 27th Annual Tony Awards1973TV SpecialHerself
The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson1971-1972TV SeriesHerself
The Mike Douglas Show1971TV SeriesHerself - Author
Song for Cesar2017Documentary filmingHerself
Scales of Injustice2012Documentary post-productionHerself
I Hope You Dance: The Power and Spirit of Song2015DocumentaryHerself
Oprah's Master Class: Belief Special2015TV MovieHerself
The Power of the Heart2014DocumentaryHerself
The Arsenio Hall Show2014TV SeriesHerself
Super Soul Sunday2013TV SeriesHerself
Michael Feinstein's American Songbook2012TV Mini-Series documentaryHerself
The BET Honors2012TV MovieHerself
Under African Skies2012DocumentaryHerself
The Oprah Winfrey Show2004-2011TV SeriesHerself
Good Morning America2011TV SeriesHerself - Guest
Oprah's Master Class2011TV Series documentaryHerself
On the Shoulders of Giants: The Story of the Greatest Team You Never Heard Of2010DocumentaryHerself (as Dr. Maya Angelou)
30 for 302010TV Series documentaryHerself
Andrew Young Presents2008-2009TV Series documentaryHerself
Leading Women2009TV Series documentary
Tavis Smiley2004-2009TV SeriesHerself
Good Hair2009DocumentaryHerself
Books Equal Gifts Commercial2008Short
The Black Candle2008DocumentaryNarrator
As Seen Through These Eyes2008DocumentaryNarrator
Joe Louis: America's Hero... Betrayed2008TV Movie documentaryHerself
African American Lives2008TV Mini-Series documentaryHerself
We Have a Dream2008TV Movie documentaryHerself
The Joy of Lex2008TV MovieHerself
Entertainment Weekly & TV Land Present: The 50 Greatest TV Icons2007TV Movie documentaryHerself
Iconoclasts2006TV Series documentary
The 2nd Annual Quill Awards2006TV SpecialHerself
Legends Ball2006TV Movie documentaryHerself
An Evening of Stars: Tribute to Stevie Wonder2006TV Movie documentaryHerself
Celebrate! Christmas with Maya Angelou2005TV Movie documentaryHerself
The Heaven and Earth Show2005TV SeriesHerself
Breakfast2005TV SeriesHerself
Larry King Live2005TV SeriesHerself
The Ballad of Greenwich Village2005DocumentaryHerself
Out of Africa: Heroes and Icons2005TV Movie documentaryHerself
CMT: 20 Greatest Songs of Faith2005TV SpecialHerself - Host
Sisters in Cinema2003DocumentaryHerself
Heart Health for the Generations2003TV Movie documentaryHerself - Spokesperson
America Beyond the Color Line with Henry Louis Gates Jr.2002TV Mini-Series documentaryHerself
The Sunday Programme2002TV SeriesHerself
Peace Pilgrim: An American Sage Who Walked Her Talk2002DocumentaryHerself
Inside TV Land: African Americans in Television2002TV Movie documentaryHerself
Roots: Celebrating 25 Years2002TV MovieHerself
American Masters1989-2001TV Series documentaryHerself
Reputations2001TV Series documentaryHerself, writer
Sesame Street1993-2000TV SeriesHerself
The Unfinished Journey1999Documentary shortHerself
Yari Yari: Black Women Writers and the Future1999DocumentaryHerself
Moesha1999TV SeriesHerself
The Jonathan Dimbleby Interviews1999TV MovieHerself
30th NAACP Image Awards1999TV SpecialHerself
The Directors1999TV Series documentaryHerself
The Living Edens1998TV Series documentaryNarrator
Quincy Jones... The First 50 Years1998TV Movie documentaryHerself
Great Performances1998TV SeriesHerself
The Gregory Hines Show1997TV SeriesHerself
3rd Annual Soul Train Lady of Soul Awards1997TV SpecialHerself (as Dr. Maya Angelou)
Dateline NBC1997TV Series documentaryHerself - Poet (segment "Language Barrier?")
Charlie Rose1996TV SeriesHerself - Guest
The Rosie O'Donnell Show1996TV SeriesHerself
American Dreamers1996TV MovieHerself
Lauren Hutton and...1995TV SeriesHerself
Arthur Ashe: Citizen of the World1994TV Movie documentaryHerself (voice)
The Essence Awards1994TV SpecialHerself
Face to Face1994TV SeriesHerself
The Arsenio Hall Show1990-1994TV SeriesHerself
Ebony's 15th Annual Black Achievement Awards1994TV SpecialHerself
American Experience1994TV Series documentaryHerself - Author
A Century of Women1994TV Mini-Series documentaryHerself
The Great Depression1993TV Series documentaryHerself
The Real Malcolm X1992TV Movie documentaryHerself - Friend
Alistair Cooke Salute1992TV MovieHerself
Ebony/Jet Showcase1990TV SeriesHerself
22nd NAACP Image Awards1990TV SpecialHerself
The 8th Annual Black Achievement Awards1987TV SpecialHerself

Archive Footage

Democracy Now!2013-2016TV SeriesHerself
Maya Angelou and Still I Rise2016DocumentaryHerself
The 87th Annual Academy Awards2015TV SpecialHerself - Writer, Director, Actress (In Memoriam)
The 57th Annual Grammy Awards2015TV SpecialHerself - In Memoriam
The 66th Primetime Emmy Awards2014TV SpecialHerself - In Memoriam
Entertainment Tonight2014TV SeriesHerself
Inside Edition2014TV Series documentaryHerself
The Insider2014TV SeriesHerself
NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt2006TV SeriesHerself - Poet
Inside the White House1995TV Movie documentaryHerself (uncredited)
All-Star 25th Birthday: Stars and Street Forever!1994TV SpecialHerself
Forty Years at the I.C.A.1987TV SeriesHerself


Won Awards

1998Audience Choice AwardChicago International Film FestivalBest FeatureDown in the Delta (1998)
1992Crystal AwardWomen in Film Crystal Awards

Nominated Awards

2008GrammyGrammy AwardsBest Spoken Word AlbumFor the album "Celebrations."
1999Black Film AwardAcapulco Black Film FestivalBest DirectorDown in the Delta (1998)
1996Image AwardImage AwardsOutstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion PictureHow to Make an American Quilt (1995)
1996ActorScreen Actors Guild AwardsOutstanding Performance by a CastHow to Make an American Quilt (1995)

Source: IMDb, Wikipedia

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