Obscure Black C-List Actors: Bebe Drake
Only Bebe Drake (sometimes Drake-Massey) could have played David Allen Grier’s mother carrying a bucket of chitlins in Boomerang. Or howabout the episode of Martin where we find out “You gotta go to work on Myra’s feet,” then Gina gives her a perm with no neutralizer and has Myra growlin’ like Eartha Kitt by the end? It’s really Bebe Drake’s voice and attitude that’s memorable in combination with the face. Although I did see Bebe Drake playing a straight role on Good Times once, her first recurring televison role was on A Different World playing Mr. Gaines’ wife Velma. She’s been in pretty much every black sitcom and movie playing that kind of nasty sassy lady that might hit someone but is also bawdy and salacious somehow. She’s been working steadily since 1975 and is in Wild Hogs right now. I admit that she does always play the same stereotype but that lady DOES exist in real life. I think that she is the kind of actress black entertainment needs – there’s no one like her!