Loretta Devine (born August 21, 1949) is an American actress and singer, best known for her roles as Marla Hendricks in the Fox drama series Boston Public, and for her recurring role as Adele Webber on the Shonda Rhimes' Grey's Anatomy, for which she won Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series in 2011. In film, Devine appeared in Waiting to Exhale, The Preacher's Wife, I Am Sam, Urban Legend, Crash, Woman Thou Art Loosed, For Colored Girls, This Christmas and Jumping the Broom.
Devine was born in Houston, Texas. Her mother, Eunice O'Neal (nÃ©e Toliver), was a beautician, and her father, James Devine, worked as a laborer. She grew up in the Acres Homes area of Houston. She was very active on the pep squad, and performed in talent shows at George Washington Carver High School. Devine graduated from the University of Houston in 1971 with a Bachelor of Arts in Speech and Drama and Brandeis University in 1976 with a MFA in Theater. Devine was initiated into Alpha Kappa Alpha the Epsilon Lambda Chapter.
Devine appeared in the 1978 flop A Broadway Musical, which closed after one performance. She captured attention in Dreamgirls, a Broadway musical loosely based on the history of The Supremes, in which she originated the role of Lorrell Robinson (a fictional character based on Mary Wilson). Minor roles for Devine followed in films such as Little Nikita and Stanley & Iris. She has a cameo performance in the film version of Dreamgirls. She was a repertory character in the play The Colored Museum with Vickilyn Reynolds. Devine and Reynolds both went on to play sisters in the short-lived TV series Sugar and Spice. During the period between the play and the series, Devine appeared in the first season of the TV series A Different World as Stevie Rallen, dormitory director at fictional Hillman College.
In 1995, she landed a major role as Gloria Matthews in Waiting to Exhale, opposite Whitney Houston, Gregory Hines, and Angela Bassett. The role earned her an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture, as did her next movie, The Preacher's Wife, her second movie with Houston and Hines. She later co-starred opposite Alfre Woodard in Down in the Delta (1998) and Funny Valentines (1999).
From 2000 to 2004, Devine starred as high school teacher Marla Hendricks on the Fox drama series Boston Public. Devine won three more Image Awards for her work in the series. She also continued to work in film, playing prominent roles in Urban Legend, Urban Legends: Final Cut, and I Am Sam. Devine earned yet another Image Award nomination and an Independent Spirit Award nomination for her work in the 2004 film Woman Thou Art Loosed. She also appeared in the 2005 film Crash. In 2007, she appeared in This Christmas, and in the next year had a series regular role on the ABC comedy-drama Eli Stone. Devine also was part of the ensemble casts of two Tyler Perry-directed films For Colored Girls and Madea's Big Happy Family.
Devine had a recurring role in the Shonda Rhimes drama series Grey's Anatomy as Dr. Richard Webber's wife, Adele. In 2011 she won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series for her performance. She was nominated for a second time for her performance in 2012. Devine also won Gracie Allen Award for Outstanding Female Actor in a Feature Role for Grey's Anatomy in 2012. In 2011, she also starred on the short-lived ABC Family comedy State of Georgia. In 2012, she played Hallie, a nurse, on Playhouse Disney's Doc McStuffins. Later that year she began starring in the Lifetime series The Client List, playing the role of Georgia Cummings, the owner of the massage parlor where the lead character Riley Parks works. The series was cancelled after two seasons.
- Minister, Godsong, La MaMa E.T.C., New York City, 1978
- (Broadway debut) Dionne, Hair (revival), Biltmore Theatre, 1977
- Soloist, Langston Hughes, AMAS Repertory Theatre, 1977
- Title role, Karma, Richard Allen Center, New York City, 1977
- Gloria, Verandah, New Dramatists, 1977
- Soloists, Seasons Reasons, Henry Street Settlement Playhouse, New York City, 1977
- Yenta lady, A Broadway Musical, Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, New York City, 1978
- Loretta, Miss Truth, Apollo Theatre, New York City, 1978
- Bones, Circle in the Square Theatre, New York City, 1978
- Ms. Dabney, Mahalia, Henry Street Settlement Playhouse, 1978
- Virtue, The Blacks, Richard Allen Center, New York City, 1978
- Young Mary, Comin' Uptown, Winter Garden Theatre, New York City, 1979
- Jewel, Lion and the Jewel, Lincoln Center, New York City, 1980
- Precious, Dementos, City Center, New York City, 1980
- Lorell Robinson, Dreamgirls, Imperial Theatre, New York City, 1981
- The Casting of Kevin Christian, Shepherd Street Art Gallery, 1983
- Mermaid, Gotta Getaway!, Radio City Music Hall, New York City, 1984
- Janeen Earl-Taylor, Long Time Since Yesterday, Henry Street Settlement Playhouse, New York City, 1985
- Lilly, Big Deal, Broadway Theater, New York City, 1986
- Lala, Wigs, and model, The Colored Museum, Public Theaters/Susan Stein Shiva Theater, New York City, 1986
- Delia, Spunk, Mark Taper Forum, Los Angeles, 1990
- Billie Holiday, Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill, Old Globe Theatre, San Diego, CA, then Little Theatre, Phoenix, AZ, 1991
- Holly Day, Rabbit Foot, Los Angeles Theatre Center, Los Angeles, 1991
- Charlesetta, East Texas Hot Links, The Met, Los Angeles, 1991
- Soloist, Rodgers, Hart, Hammerstein Tribute, Embassy Theatre, 1991
- Soloist, Big Moments on Broadway, Kennedy Center Opera House, Washington, DC, 1991
- Also appeared as Cissy, Woman from the Town and in A Midsummer Night's Dream and The Hot Mikado in 1990.
- History of the African-Americans in Houston
- Loretta Devine at the Internet Movie Database
- Loretta Devine at the Internet Broadway Database
- Loretta Devine at the Internet Off-Broadway Database