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Brooklyn-born actress Novella Nelson dead at 77

New York Daily News logo New York Daily News 9/4/2017 Leonard Greene

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit © Virginia Sherwood/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Actress Novella Nelson, who starred in “Antwone Fisher” and earned more than 100 credits in television, film and stage roles during a career that spanned nearly six decades, has died.

She was 77.

The Brooklyn-born actress died Friday, according to Broadway World. There was no immediate cause of death reported.

Nelson landed the lead role in Broadway’s “Purlie” in 1970 and was a stand-in several years later for Pearl Bailey in “Hello, Dolly!” Her credits included “Law and Order: SVU,” “One Life to Live,” “Sex and the City,” and “The Devil’s Advocate.” She also played the mythical Aunt Ester in August Wilson’s “Gem of the Ocean.”

But it was for her role as the abusive adoptive mother in “Antwone Fisher” that she won critical acclaim.

Nelson was honored last year by New York’s New Federal Theater for her contribution to African-American theater and film.

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