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Irma P. Hall

Born:   June 3, 1935
Place of Birth:   Beaumont, TX
Zodiac Sign:   Gemini

Irma Dolores Player Hall is an American actress who has appeared in films and television shows since the early 1970s. Hall often played matriarchal figures in films including A Family Thing, The Ladykillers and Soul Food, in which she portrayed Josephine "Big Mama Joe" Joseph, a role she reprised in the television series of the same name.

She also appeared in Collateral and two films by director Werner Herzog. For her performance in The Ladykillers, she won the Jury Prize at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival.

Hall's first acting role was in an independent film, Book of Numbers, at the age of 36. She had taught languages for many years in Dallas, Texas, when actor/director Raymond St. Jacques hired her as interim publicist for Book of Numbers. He saw her performing at a poetry reading and liked her so much that he offered her a role on the spot. She discovered a love for acting, and soon co-founded a repertory theatre in Dallas.

 

Hall's personality and age made her a natural to be cast as a middle-aged, strong authority figure. She worked steadily in films and TV throughout the 1980s. But it was not until her role as the loving Aunt T. in 1996's A Family Thing that critics and audiences began to notice her talents. She won the Chicago Film Critics Association Award and the Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role, and the success of that film helped establish her as a major supporting actress in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Sizable roles in major films such as Nothing to Lose and Steel followed. Hall then landed the role as Big Mama Joseph in the film Soul Food. Also in 1997, she appeared in the Clint Eastwood-directed film adaptation of John Berendt's novel Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Her character, root doctor Minerva, was based on Valerie Boles. Soul Food was a hit at the box office, prompting a television spinoff, Soul Food: The Series, in which Hall reprised her role. She landed another acclaimed role in the 2004 remake of The Ladykillers. She won a special Jury Prize at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival and an Image Award for her performance.

 

Shortly before the film release of The Ladykillers, Hall was seriously injured in a car accident in Chicago. In the midst of a snowstorm, she lost control of her vehicle, crossed lanes into oncoming traffic, and hit another car head on. She underwent emergency open-heart surgery for a puncture wound to her aorta caused by a broken rib. In addition, Hall also suffered a shattered ankle and a broken arm. Hall was cited for driving with a suspended license, and not staying in her lane. She made a full recovery, and was able to continue her career

 

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