Salli Richardson

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Salli Richardson
Richardson in 2012
Salli Elise Richardson

(1967-11-23) November 23, 1967 (age 56)
Other namesSalli Richardson-Whitfield
  • Actress
  • television director
Years active1991–present
(m. 2002)
Children2 (archived copy)

Salli Richardson-Whitfield (Born Salli Elise Richardson, November 23, 1967[1]) is an American actress and television director. Richardson is known for her role as Angela in the film A Low Down Dirty Shame (1994) and for her role as Dr. Allison Blake on the Syfy comedy-drama series Eureka (2006–2012).

She is also known for her voice acting as Elisa Maza on the Disney animated series Gargoyles (1994–1996),[2] and as Viveca Foster on the CBS series Family Law (1999–2002). Richardson also has appeared in a number of other films such as The Great White Hype (1996), Antwone Fisher (2002), Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid (2004) and I Am Legend (2007). She had leading roles in the independent films Pastor Brown (2009), Black Dynamite (2009) and I Will Follow (2010). In the 2010s, Richardson started working as a television director.

Early life[edit]

Richardson was born in Chicago, Illinois.[3] Her mother is of African American ancestry (with distant Cherokee roots), and her father was of English and Italian descent.[4] She played tennis in high school at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, and launched her acting career in the Kuumba Workshop theater there; she graduated in 1985.[5]



Richardson "began her acting career in the theater before transitioning to roles in television and film".[6] In film, she played small roles in Prelude to a Kiss, Mo' Money, Posse, and later had major roles in Sioux City and A Low Down Dirty Shame. From 1994 to 1996 she voiced the character Elisa Maza on the animated series Gargoyles.[2] She had many guest-starring roles in numerous television shows, such as Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, New York Undercover, The Pretender, Stargate SG-1, NYPD Blue, House, Bones, Criminal Minds, NCIS and Castle.[7]

Richardson in 2008

Richardson starred opposite Dixie Carter and Kathleen Quinlan in the CBS legal drama series, Family Law, from 1999 to 2002. She had recurring roles as Nancy Adams on Rude Awakening, and as Laura on CSI: Miami. She starred opposite Denzel Washington in the 2002 drama film Antwone Fisher.[8] She also appeared in the 2004 horror film Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid, and starred opposite Will Smith in 2007's post-apocalyptic film I Am Legend.[8] She later had a leading role in the independent dramas Pastor Brown (2009), and in I Will Follow (2010) directed by Ava DuVernay.[8][9] She also starred in The Sin Seer with Isaiah Washington, set for 2015 release.[10]

From 2006 to 2012, Richardson starred as Department of Defense agent (and later head of Global Dynamics) Allison Blake in the Syfy comedy-drama series Eureka. Her second pregnancy was written into the storyline of the series.[6] After the series' cancellation, she was cast as the lead in the Lifetime drama pilot The Secret Lives of Wives.[11] In 2014, Richardson was cast in a recurring role on Lifetime's The Lottery as the first lady of the United States,[12] but she lost it to Shelley Conn;[13] She also has a role on BET's Being Mary Jane as an old friend of the lead character.[14][15] In 2015, Richardson was cast in the ABC Family series, Stitchers.[16] The series was canceled after three seasons in 2017.[17]


Richardson has also worked as a director of episodic television, her latest being episodes 5 and 6 of the first season of Wheel of Time for Amazon. Following her directorial debut on two episodes of her show Eureka,[18] in 2016 she directed two episodes of Ava DuVernay's drama series for Oprah Winfrey Network, Queen Sugar (on which her husband Dondre Whitfield appears as a series regular).[19] In 2016, Richardson also directed an episode of the historical action-drama Underground for WGN America.[20] In 2017, she directed two episodes of BET drama Rebel, and Shonda Rhimes' Scandal. Her comedy directing credits include Survivor's Remorse, I'm Dying Up Here, Black-ish and Dear White People. In 2018, she also directed the 16th episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s fifth-season episode "Inside Voices".[21] Her other notable directing credits include Chicago Med, Luke Cage, Black Lightning, The Punisher, American Gods, See and Altered Carbon.[22]

In 2019, Richardson received an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Directing in a Drama Series nomination for her work directing Luke Cage.[23] Also in 2019, she won a Black Reel Award for Outstanding Directing in a Comedy Series for directing Black-ish.[24] In September 2020, she signed a project development deal with HBO.[25] Richardson produces and had had directed episodes of HBO period drama The Gilded Age and Adam McKay's untitled Lakers project.[25] Also in 2020, she directed the Zoom Where It Happens special The One with the Diverse Cast, a Friends one-night reboot starring Sterling K. Brown, Uzo Aduba, Ryan Michelle Bathe, Aisha Hinds, Kendrick Sampson and Jeremy Pope.[26]

Personal life[edit]

On September 8, 2002, she married long-time boyfriend and fellow actor Dondre Whitfield. She and Whitfield have one daughter and one son.[27]



Year Title Role
1991 Up Against the Wall Denise
1992 Prelude to a Kiss Bridesmaid No. 2
Mo' Money Pretty Customer
How U Like Me Now Valerie
1993 Posse Lana
1994 I Spy Returns (Television film) Nicole Scott
Sioux City Jolene Buckley
A Low Down Dirty Shame Angela
Lily in Winter (Television film) Ada Covington
1995 Gargoyles the Movie: The Heroes Awaken Elisa Maza (voice)
Once Upon a Time...When We Were Colored Miss Alice
1996 Soul of the Game (Television film) Lahoma
The Great White Hype Bambi
1997 True Women (Television film) Martha
1998 Butter Blusette Ford
1999 Lillie Lillie
2002 Book of Love: The Definitive Reason Why Men Are Dogs Karen
Antwone Fisher Berta Davenport
Baby of the Family Nelli McPherson
2003 Biker Boyz Half & Half
2004 Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid Gail Stern
2007 I Am Legend Zoe Neville
2009 Black Dynamite Gloria
Pastor Brown Jessica "Jesse" Brown
2010 I Will Follow Maye
2012 We the Party Principal Reynolds
2013 Playin' for Love Talisa McCoy
Teachers (Television film) Christine
2015 The Sin Seer Nia


Year Title Role Notes
1992 Silk Stalkings Shelley Episode: "Wild Card"
1993 Space Rangers - Episode: "Fort Hope"
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Fenna/Nidell Episode: "Second Sight"
1994 Roc Diane Hubbard Episode: "The Last Temptation of Roc"
New York Undercover Tammy Barrett Episode: "Eyewitness Blues"
1994–97 Gargoyles Elisa Maza (voice) Main cast
1997 Stargate SG-1 Drey'auc Episode: "Bloodlines"
Between Brothers Vanessa Episode: "The Player"
1998 The Pretender Cynthia Sloan Episode: "Gigolo Jarod"
1998–99 Mercy Point Kim Salisaw Main cast
1999 The Jamie Foxx Show Camille Turner Episode: "Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire"
1999–2002 Family Law Viveca Foster Main cast
2000 Secret Agent Man Rachel Episode: "WhupSumAss"
2000–01 Rude Awakening Nancy Adams Recurring cast: season 3
2003 CSI: Miami Laura Recurring cast: season 1
2004 Line of Fire Erica Logan Episode: "The Senator"
Second Time Around Amanda Episode: "Coupling Up"
NYPD Blue Bobbi Kingston Episodes: "My Dinner with Andy" & "I Like Ike"
2005 House Sharon Episode: "Sports Medicine"
1-800-Missing Kelly Episode: "Sisterhood"
The War at Home Vanessa Episode: "Guess Who's Coming to the Barbecue"
2006 Bones Kim Kurland Episode: "Aliens in a Spaceship"
2006–12 Eureka Allison Blake Main cast
2009 Criminal Minds Tamara Barnes Episodes: "Hopeless" & "The Eyes Have It"
2011 The Secret Lives of Wives Reed TV pilot
2012 The Finder Athena Brookes Episode: "Life After Death"
2012–13 The Newsroom Jane Barrow Guest: season 1, recurring cast: season 2
2013–15 NCIS Carrie Clark Guest Cast: season 11-13
2014 House of Lies Sandra Joy Episode: "Power(less)"
Castle Elizabeth Weston Episode: "The Greater Good"
2015 Being Mary Jane Valerie Recurring cast: season 2
2015–17 Stitchers Maggie Main cast
2016 Rosewood Dr. Aubrey Joseph Episode: "Wooberite & the Women of Rosewood"
2018 Black Lightning Rebecca Montez Episode: "The Book of Consequences: Chapter Four: Translucent Freak"
2020 Altered Carbon Commission Leader Episode: "Broken Angels"


Year Title Notes
2011 Grace Short film, also writer
2011–13 Eureka Episodes: "Worst Case Scenario" & "Omega Girls"
2015 Different Position Short film
2016 Post Life Short film
Queen Sugar Episodes "So Far" and "All Good"
2017 Underground Episode: "Nok Aaut"
Rebel Episodes: "Conceal and Carry" and "Black Not Blue"
Scandal Episode: "Tick Tock"
Stitchers Episode: "Kill It Forward"
Survivor's Remorse Episodes: "Reparations" and "Closure"
Lethal Weapon Episode: "Birdwatching"
2017–19 Shadowhunters Episodes: "A Kiss from a Rose" & "Dust and Shadows"
2018 Chicago Med Episode: "Lock It Down"
Star Episode: "Take It to Church"
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Episode: "Inside Voices"
I'm Dying Up Here Episode: "Between Us"
Luke Cage Episode: "I Get Physical"
Love Is_ Episode: "Not Valentine's Day"
Black Lightning Episode: "The Book of Consequences: Chapter Four: Translucent Freak"
2018–19 The Magicians Episodes: "The Side Effect" & "Six Short Stories About Magic"
2019 Black-ish Episode: "Black Like Us"
The Punisher Episode: "Flustercluck"
All American Episode: "Legacy"
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Episode: "Chapter Fourteen: Lupercallia"
American Gods Episode: "The Ways of the Dead"
Doom Patrol Episode: "Hair Patrol"
The Chi Episode: "Lean into It"
Dear White People Episodes: "Volume 3: Chapter IX " and "Volume 2: Chapter V"
Pearson Episode: "The Former City Attorney"
See Episode: "House of Enlightenment"
Reprisal Episode: "dammit"
Treadstone Episode: "The Seoul Asylum" and "The McKenna Erasure"
2020 Altered Carbon Episodes: "Broken Angels" and "Experiment Perilous"
2021 The Wheel of Time Episodes: "Blood Calls Blood" and "The Flame of Tar Valon"
2022–present The Gilded Age 4 episodes; also executive producer
2022–2023 Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty 5 episodes; also executive producer

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominated Work Result
2011 NAACP Image Awards NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series Eureka Nominated
2019 NAACP Image Awards NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Directing in a Drama Series Luke Cage Nominated
2019 Black Reel Awards Black Reel Award for Outstanding Directing, Comedy Series Black-ish Won
2022 Hugo Awards Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation The Wheel of Time Nominated


  1. ^ Mallegg, Kristin B., ed. (2009). Who's Who Among African Americans. Farmington Hills, MI : Gale. p. 1025. ISBN 9781414433363.
  2. ^ a b Dretzka, Gary (August 8, 1995). "What's Dramatic, Fun and Keeping These Actors Busy? Sounds Like Gargoyles". Chicago Tribune. p. 7. Archived from the original on November 7, 2017. Retrieved April 18, 2015.
  3. ^ "Salli Richardson Facts, information, pictures | articles about Salli Richardson". Retrieved May 29, 2014.
  4. ^ Whitfield, Salli; et al. (July 1997). "Black America and Tiger's Dilemma". Ebony: 28–34, 138ff (esp. 29, 34). Retrieved March 12, 2019.
  5. ^ "Salli Richardson |". Retrieved July 5, 2021.
  6. ^ a b "Salli Richardson-Whitfield Biography". TV Guide. Retrieved May 29, 2014.
  7. ^ "Salli Richardson-Whitfield | TV Guide". TV Guide.
  8. ^ a b c "Salli Richardson-Whitfield". Rotten Tomatoes.
  9. ^ "I Will Follow: Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter. March 10, 2011.
  10. ^ "Richard Brooks, Salli Richardson-Whitfield Join Isaiah Washington in 'The Sin Seer'". TheWrap. May 8, 2014. Retrieved May 29, 2014.
  11. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (August 25, 2012). "Salli Richardson-Whitfield To Star in Lifetime's 'Secret Lives of Wives' Pilot". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 29, 2014.
  12. ^ "'Homeland's' Martin Donovan Joins Lifetime's 'Lottery' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. December 2, 2013. Retrieved May 29, 2014.
  13. ^ "A+E Networks – Life is Entertaining". May 22, 2014. Retrieved June 4, 2014.
  14. ^ "MacKenzie Porter Joins AMC's 'Hell on Wheels'; Salli Richardson-Whitfield in BET's 'Being Mary Jane'". Deadline Hollywood. April 8, 2014. Retrieved May 29, 2014.
  15. ^ "TV News: Salli Richardson-Whitfield Joins 'Being Mary Jane,' Omar J. Dorsey In 'Ray Donovan' + New Oxygen Greenlights|Shadow and Act". Archived from the original on April 13, 2014. Retrieved May 29, 2014.
  16. ^ "ABC Family Adds 3 to Cast of First Crime Procedural 'Stitchers'". TheWrap. January 14, 2015. Retrieved April 18, 2015.
  17. ^ Nemetz, Dave (September 15, 2017). "Stitchers Cancelled at Freeform".
  18. ^ "'Underground' director Salli Richardson-Whitfield". March 30, 2017.
  19. ^ "Ava DuVernay and Queen Sugar Look Like the Future of Television". Essence. March 30, 2017. Retrieved April 2, 2017.
  20. ^ "Salli Richardson-Whitfield On Underground's "Nok Aaut" & The Age of the Black Female Director". Essence. March 30, 2017. Retrieved March 31, 2017.
  21. ^ "Scoop: Coming Up On All New MARVEL'S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D on ABC - Today, April 6, 2018". BWW. April 6, 2018. Retrieved April 7, 2018.
  22. ^ "Salli Richardson Whitfield: From Screen Queen To Directorial Maestro". The Shadow League. May 9, 2019.
  23. ^ "Outstanding Directing in a Dramatic Series - NAACP Awards: 'Black-ish,' 'Black Panther' Top Winners List". The Hollywood Reporter. March 30, 2019.
  24. ^ "BRATs Winners". August 8, 2019. Archived from the original on October 27, 2021. Retrieved February 1, 2020.
  25. ^ a b White, Peter (September 1, 2020). "HBO Strikes Overall Deal With Salli Richardson-Whitfield; Actor-Turned-Director To Helm Eps Of 'The Gilded Age' & Adam McKay's Lakers Drama". Deadline. Retrieved September 2, 2020.
  26. ^ Pedersen, Erik (September 21, 2020). "'Friends' Table Read Set With All-Black Cast Including Sterling K. Brown & Uzo Aduba; Gabrielle Union To Host".
  27. ^ "Dondre and Salli Welcome Son Dre Terrell Whitfield". People. February 25, 2009. Archived from the original on February 26, 2009 – via

External links[edit]