August 18


August 18, 1935 Gail Fisher, the first African American to win an Emmy Award, was born in Orange, New Jersey. As a teenager, Fisher entered several beauty contests and won a two year scholarship to study acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City. She made her first television appearance in 1960 in “Play of the Week.” Also in the early 1960s, she appeared in a television commercial for All laundry detergent, making her the first black female to appear in a national TV commercial with lines. From 1968 to 1975, Fisher appeared in the detective series “Mannix.” For that role, she was nominated for the Emmy Award for Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in Drama four times and won the award in 1970. After “Mannix” was cancelled, Fisher rarely appeared again on television and she died December 2, 2000.


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