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Who Plays Lucious Lyons' Mom On 'Empire'? Leslie Uggams Has An Impressive Career


Deadpool fans may recognize the actress who plays Lucious' mom on Empire as "Blind Al," the no-nonsense, tough as nails roommate of Wade Wilson (played by Ryan Reynolds). But Leslie Uggams has been in the business since the age of six, and her many accolades barely do her sweeping career justice. The 72-year-old actress has won a Tony and a Daytime Emmy, with Primetime Emmy and Golden Globe nominations under her belt, too, for her performance in the prolific 1977 miniseries Roots. She was also the first black woman to have her own variety show on CBS in 1969. Basically, Empire is the perfect home for this musical performance legend.

Her first big break was a gig at The Apollo, which she scored at the tender age of nine. Her co-stars on that gig? Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, and Dinah Washington. Uggams told People of working with the legends:

She also landed a record deal at 15 after a performance on Name That Tune, and later attended Juilliard. Oh and, by the way, she counted Sammy Davis Jr. a close personal friend, and then there was this little duet she sang with Frank Sinatra in his 1977 special Sinatra and Friends.

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And, as if her storied career with the previously mentioned legends wasn't enough, she even performed with The Beatles once while Bob Dylan was hanging out backstage. She told People the performance was so electric, she couldn't even remember what she sang:

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In spite of her huge success, she continues to be conscious of the struggle women of color face in Hollywood, counting Viola Davis (another former co-star and friend) among her favorite activists:

Lee Daniels and Danny Strong may never top this guest star.