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Subject: ARCHIVE: December 2, 2000 ~Actress Gail Fisher, one of the 1st black women to play substantive roles in American television, best known for playing the role of 'Peggy Fair' on TV's "Mannix", earning an EMMY, the 1st black woman to win, dies of from renal failure at 65. ...

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Date Posted: Saturday, December 02, 09:21:05pm

Gail Fisher
(August 18, 1935 – December 2, 2000)

American actress who was one of the first black women to play substantive roles in American television. She was best known for playing the role of secretary Peggy Fair on the television detective series Mannix from 1968 through 1975, a role for which she won two Golden Globe Awards and an Emmy Award; she was the first black woman to win either award. She also won an NAACP Image Award in 1969.

Early years ...
The youngest of five children, Fisher was born in Orange, New Jersey. Her father died when she was two years old, and she was raised by her mother, Ona Fisher, who supported her family with a home-operated hair-styling business while living in the Potter's Crossing neighborhood of Edison, New Jersey. She graduated from Metuchen High School in Metuchen, New Jersey. During her teenaged years, she was a cheerleader and entered several beauty contests, winning the titles of Miss Transit, Miss Black New Jersey, and Miss Press Photographer.

In a contest sponsored by Coca-Cola, Fisher won the opportunity to spend two years studying acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. As a student of acting in New York City, she worked with Lee Strasberg and became a member of the Repertory Theater at Lincoln Center, where she worked with Elia Kazan and Herbert Blau. As a young woman, she also worked as a model.

Television ...
Fisher made her first television appearance in 1960 at age 25, appearing in the syndicated program Play of the Week. Also during the early 1960s, she appeared in a television commercial for All laundry detergent, which she said made her "the first black female—no, make that black, period—to make a national TV commercial, on camera, with lines." In 1965, Herbert Blau cast her in a theatrical production of Danton's Death.

She first appeared in Mannix during the second season, when Mannix left
the detective firm Intertect and set up shop as a private investigator. ...

In 1968, she made guest appearances on the TV series My Three Sons,
Love, American Style, and Room 222. In 1970, her work on Mannix
was honored when she received the Emmy Award for outstanding
performance by an actress in a dramatic supporting role. ...

...She was the first black woman to win an Emmy (the other nominees that year were Susan Saint James in The Name of the Game and Barbara Anderson in Ironside). After Mannix was canceled in 1975, she rarely appeared on television. She guest-starred in a 1980 episode of The White Shadow.

Personal life ...
Fisher was married and divorced twice. She had two daughters, Samara and Jole, from her 1964 marriage to John Levy. Her marriage to Wali Muhammad (Walter Youngblood), famed cornerman to Sugar Ray Robinson and Muhammad Ali, ended in divorce when he changed religions. Wali was also an assistant minister to Malcolm X at Nation of Islam Mosque No. 7.

Jet magazine reported in its July 26, 1973, issue that she was also married to Robert A. Walker, a businessman from Los Angeles.

Death ...
Fisher died in Los Angeles in 2000, aged 65, reportedly from renal failure.
Twelve hours after Gail Fisher died, her brother Clifton died from heart failure.
Gail Fisher's ashes were scattered at sea.

Link ...

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Subject Author Date
She was purdy ...Link ...Saturday, December 02, 09:57:22pm

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