Known for movies

Short Info

Date Of BirthDecember 25, 1932
DiedNovember 9, 1999, Los Angeles, California, United States
SpouseMelvin King
FactHad one son, Larry, with King. He died in 1996.

Mabel King (born October 22, 1932) is an American actress, singer and songwriter. She is best known for her role as Mama Mattie in the sitcom What’s Happening!! (1976–1979), for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award.

King was born in Charleston, South Carolina, the daughter of Ella Mae (née Dingle) and Henry King. She began her career as a child actress, appearing in various stage productions. She made her film debut in the 1949 drama The Window, and later had roles in such films as The Jackie Robinson Story (1950), The Ten Commandments (1956) and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967).

King’s television credits include guest roles on such shows as The Bill Cosby Show, The Mod Squad, The Love Boat and Fantasy Island. From 1976 to 1979, she starred as Mama Mattie in the sitcom What’s Happening!!, for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award.

In addition to her acting career, King is also a singer and songwriter. She has released two albums, Mabel King Sings (1972) and It’s a Woman’s World (1975).

King has been married three times: to James Saunders from 1951 to 1957, to Harold Wheeler from 1960 to 1963, and to Richard Deacon from 1967 until his death in 1984. She has three children: James Saunders Jr., Harold Wheeler Jr. and Richard Deacon Jr.

King currently resides in Los Angeles, California.

General Info

Full NameMabel King
Date Of BirthDecember 25, 1932
DiedNovember 9, 1999, Los Angeles, California, United States
Place Of BirthCharleston, South Carolina, United States
ProfessionActor, Singer


SpouseMelvin King
ChildrenLarry King
ParentsJoseph Washington, Rosalie Washington


NominationsDrama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical, TV Land "She Works Hard for the Money" Award
MoviesDead Men Don't Die, Scrooged, The Gong Show Movie, The Jerk, The Wiz, Scott Joplin, The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings, Don't Play Us Cheap, Ganja & Hess
TV ShowsWhat's Happening!!

Social profile links


1She was a conservative Republican, and in 1984 was a featured speaker at the Lincoln Memorial for a "Blacks for Reagan" rally; she spoke very passionately in support of Ronald Reagan's re-election.
2Her most famous role (both on Broadway and in the screen version) was as Evil-lene, the Wicked Witch of the West, in 'The Wiz'.
3According to the Chinese Calendar, she was born in the Year of the Monkey, and she died in the Year of the Rabbit.
4In 1986, she lost a toe to diabetes. In 1989, she had a stroke, leaving her left side paralyzed and virtually speechless for over a year. She also lost both her legs. In the 1990s, she almost died in surgery during a hip replacement. She was once dropped by an ambulance crew and another time fell out of her wheelchair and fell face first to the floor. She lost some of her top teeth. She died on November 9, 1999, at 3:55 AM EST at the Kaiser Foundation Hospital. She was cremated.
5Battled diabetes for many years. She also lost her legs to the disease.
6Had one son, Larry, with King. He died in 1996.




Dead Men Don't Die1990Chafuka
Black Vampire1988
Wiseguy1988TV SeriesMae Nina
Tales from the Darkside1986TV SeriesRuby Cuzzins
The Colbys1986TV SeriesFortune Teller
Amazing Stories1986TV SeriesJennifer Mowbray
The Jeffersons1984TV SeriesMother Tobin
The Master1984TV SeriesWillie
The Jerk, Too1984TV MovieMama Johnson
Whiz Kids1983TV Series
Lottery!1983TV SeriesMabel
ABC Weekend Specials1983TV SeriesMrs. Trussker
Fantasy Island1978-1981TV SeriesMama Parker / Bertha Jones / Lelani
Getting Over1981Mabel Queen
Palmerstown, U.S.A.1981TV SeriesAunt Toog
The Gong Show Movie1980Mabel
The Jerk1979Mother
Barney Miller1979TV SeriesMother Zilla
The Wiz1978VideoEvillene, the Wicked Witch of the West
The Wiz1978Evillene
What's Happening!!1976-1978TV SeriesMabel 'Mama' Thomas / Mrs. Thomas
Scott Joplin1977TV MovieMadam Amy
The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings1976Bertha Dewitt, Owner of Charcoal Kings
Don't Play Us Cheap1973House guest at the party
Ganja & Hess1973Queen of Myrthia


Love Is Not Enough1979performer: "Don't Nobody Bring Me No Bad News" - uncredited
The Wiz1978performer: "Don't Nobody Bring Me No Bad News", "Don't Nobody Bring Me No Bad News Reprise"
Ganja & Hess1973performer: "March Blues"


American Film Institute Comedy Special1987TV SpecialGrandmother (segment "The Rec Room")
All-Star Party for 'Dutch' Reagan1985TV SpecialHerself
Match Game 731978TV SeriesHerself
The Mike Douglas Show1977-1978TV SeriesHerself - Vocalist / Herself - Actress / Vocalist
The 22nd Annual Tony Awards1968TV SpecialHerself - Performer

Archive Footage

The 72nd Annual Academy Awards2000TV SpecialHerself - Memorial Tribute
What's Happening Now!1987TV SeriesMabel 'Mama' Thomas


Nominated Awards

2007TV Land AwardTV Land AwardsThe "She Works Hard for the Money" Award (Favorite Working Mom)What's Happening!! (1976)
1979Saturn AwardAcademy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USABest Supporting ActressThe Wiz (1978)

Source: IMDb, Wikipedia

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