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Remember The “Coming To America” Actress? Many Never Knew THIS About Her

Madge Sinclair is best known for her roles as the take-no-mess Queen in Coming To Americaand as “Belle,” the devoted wife of “Kunta Kinte” in the miniseries, Roots, but Madge has also made a big impact with many other roles in the 1970’s movies Cornbread, Earl, and Me,Convoy, and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home; and also in the 80’s TV show, Trapper John M.D. and as the voice of of “Sarabi,” “Simba’s” mother, in The Lion King.

Still there are still several facts that many never knew about her, so we wanted to pay homage to this Old School legend by highlighting a few facts about her life:

  • Madge Sinclair passed away from leukemia in 1995. Many people didn’t know this because there was not a lot of mainstream media coverage about it (although there should have been in my humble opinion). She was diagnosed with leukemia just 2 years after being nominated for an Emmy for her incredible portrayal of “Belle” in theRoots miniseries. Her diagnosis just lit a fire up under Madge and made her even more determined to accomplish all that she’d set out to accomplish when she made the trek from her native country Jamaica, to America. Madge is survived by her husband, Dean Compton, and her two sons, Garry and Wayne Sinclair. She was born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica, where she was a school teacher. She ultimately made the very risky decision to leave her secure life in Jamaica in 1968, at the age of 30, to pursue her dream of acting in the United States. At that time, Madge was married to her then-husband, Royston Sinclair and they have two sons. She later divorced and married actor, Dean Martin in 1982.

  • Madge is the third cousin of the late, great political leader and entrepreneur, Marcus Garvey. Her paternal great-grandmother was the sister of Garvey’s father. Her oldest son, Garry Sinclair once said this about his mother: “I grew up in a home in which I was constantly reminded that I was Marcus Garvey’s fourth cousin.” Although Madge was born in Kingston, Jamaica, she had roots in St. Ann, Jamaica (where Garvey was born).
  • Madge was a very successful businesswoman. She owned three business that she developed after her move to the U.S.: She was a successful art dealer; the chairwoman of her women’s clothing manufacturing company Madge Walters Sinclair Inc., which specialized in making nurses’ uniforms. That idea was inspired by her role on the show,Trapper John, and by the mid 80’s her uniforms were in over 100 stores.; She was the owner of the Action Income Tax Service. Madge was a no-nonsense women who prided herself on being very focused and determined and once she made a decision to do something, she did it, no matter who thought it was a bad idea.


It seems as if Madge’s career came full circle when she made her mark as a slave in Rootsand then a little over a decade later, she was hailed as an African Queen in Coming To America. Mrs. Sinclair will forever be remembered as a very versatile actress who’s legacy will continue to live on through her outstanding work in film and we’re grateful that she was a part of the Old School era.

Madge Sinclair in “Star Trek”

Image result for madge sinclair on star trek

Below is a 1985 interview that gives us much more insight into the strong-willed, determined woman that Madge Sinclair actually was…
(via Orlando Sentinel)

When Madge Sinclair left her sons and her husband in Jamaica and headed to America in 1968, to seek her fame and fortune, a cousin castigated her for ”greed.” After all, she already had all a woman was entitled to.

Although she says that it was a life-threatening illness that…

Image result for madge sinclair and john amos

Madge Sinclair and actor, John Amos in “Roots”

triggered her determination to demand more from life than what she describes as a ”calm, marvelous, middle-class existence.”

For her, the desire was as good as action. ”I’m not one of those people who daydreams,” said Sinclair. ”Once a thought comes into my head, I set about to make a reality of it.”

Her immediate reality was a ticket to New York. ”The American dreamis America’s best seller,” she said. ”I bought it.”

In those early New York days, she found herself a far distance from the career she sought, instead supporting herself by working ”on Wall Street, as a cashier at a theater chain, in the garment district.”

She did begin modeling, and one assignment involved a revue with some acting attached. An agent saw her and suggested she see theatrical impresario Joseph Papp, who needed someone for a show he was casting.

She not only got the role, but continued to work in Papp’s Public Theater for the next three years, where she gained experience and training and met her future husband, Dean Compton, who was production stage manager.

In 1974 she starred in Conrack with Jon Voight, and chose that time to move to California. ”I thought to my clever self,” she said, ”why don’t I run around and see casting agents and if they ask me what I’ve done, I can tell them they can go to the Fox Theatre and see the movie.”

It worked. ”If I had come out here with just a picture and a resume at my age, I don’t think anyone would have paid any attention to me,” she said.

She began to be cast in what she describes as ”serious parts, and they all built a certain kind of career for me. They were all little-bitty parts, but rather interesting, and I took them all and made something nice out of them.” Looking back, she has no regrets about having left home and family.

She spent the first years returning to Jamaica to see the boys between jobs and having them with her for vacations. When they were teenagers, they joined her here. She said, ”We’re very good friends. I feel fortunate I was smart enough to keep the lines of communication open so that, even when upheavals came, we could discuss everything.”

She said part of her satisfaction with her choice lies in the pride the Jamaican community feels in her. She received achievement awards from Jamaican groups in Chicago and Boston, and ”the Jamaican-West Indian- Caribbean community has indicated it is very pleased with me.”

”That’s one of the things I wanted to do: Make a difference in terms of national pride. ”

Sinclair maintains another tie with Jamaica: the handling of Jamaican artists. They and her husband ran an art gallery in Los Angelesuntil recently, now deal privately and hope to purchase a building for their art work.

”I see artas feeding my soul,” she said. ”I can’t live without that. It’s not easy for me to live without paintings on the wall. I did for part of my life — but I spent a lot of time in museums.”

She also has a line of nursing uniforms, which has become the family business.

She explains she went into the business after she started getting inquiries about the uniforms she was wearing on the show. She had designed the outfits herself. She explains, ”I like to wear nice clothes. I thought if I was going to be on television for a considerable length of time I should make some kind of personal statement in terms of what I looked like. So I tried to make my character as attractive as possible in her dress.”

Madge Sinclair in “Trapper John” 20th Century-Fox, which produces Trapper John, chose to merchandise another line of uniforms, and Sinclair plunged into business independently. She reports her line is now in more than 100 stores. Not only does she say she is not making any money, but laughs that she may be the first actress to be on a successful series and not have any financial security to show for it.

”I put two boys [her sons] through college, and I put my money into art and clothes — and they aren’t making me any money.”

She does appreciate the fact that Trapper John has provided her with visibility during the past five years but acknowledges that the work ”has not challenged me as much as I want to be challenged.”

”In terms of career, I have not even scratched the surface. I haven’t yet had a role that has tested the quality of the work I can do. I think that is still to come.”

-ILoveOldSchoolMusic, Old School news with a new point of view

Click here  http://www.iloveoldschoolmusic.com/remember-the-coming-to-america-a...

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The Madge Sinclair Story above is from:

Click here http://www.iloveoldschoolmusic.com/remember-the-coming-to-america-a...

Madge Sinclair

Madge SinclairAKA Madge Dorita Sinclair

Born: 28-Apr-1938
Birthplace: Kingston, Jamaica
Died: 20-Dec-1995
Location of death: Los Angeles, CA
Cause of death: Cancer - Leukemia
Remains: Cremated

Gender: Female
Race or Ethnicity: Black
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Actor

Nationality: Jamaica
Executive summary: Nurse Shoop on Trapper John

Husband: Royston Sinclair (div. 1969, two sons)
Husband: Dean Compton (m. 18-Aug-1982, until her death)

    Emmy 1991 for Gabriel's Fire

    Me and the Boys Mary Tower (1994-95)
    Pros and Cons Josephine Austin (1991-92)
    Gabriel's Fire Empress Josephine (1990-91)
    Ohara Gussie Lemmons (1987-88)
    Trapper John, M.D. Ernestine Shoop, RN (1980-86)

Continued here  http://www.nndb.com/people/729/000131336/


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