Marla Gibbs

Actress


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In her two-and-a-half hour Archive interview, Marla Gibbs talks about her start as an actress in Los Angeles after working many jobs and raising a family in the Midwest. She speaks in great detail about the role and the series for which she is most identified, "Florence Johnston" on The Jeffersons. She recalls how she retained her job at United Airlines while appearing on the series until she was comfortable that her work on the series would be steady. She describes the premise of the show, talks about the series ensemble, and outlines the series work-week, which started with a read-through on Wednesday and taped the following Tuesday. She comments on the brief spin-off series Checking-In and her return to The Jeffersons. She then recounts the way she landed her next series, 227, which was developed from a play in which she starred.  She talks about the casting of the series, the production, and her role as uncredited producer. She describes her work outside of television as the owner of several performance spaces in Los Angeles. She then talks about her later work on such series as The Hughleys, ER, and Passions. Throughout the interview she stresses the importance of keeping active and healthy and staying mentally young. Gary Rutkowski conducted the interview in Los Angeles, CA on July 27, 2006.

"I'd get off from 'Jeffersons' and come right up 6th Street, zoom around the corner, and I'd be sitting at my desk at United Airlines.  'Good Evening, United Airlines, may I help you?' Sometimes people would say, 'your voice sounds familiar.'... Then I decided that if you only stretch one leg, you can't go very far, you've got to take both legs with you. I decided to give it a shot. And of course, I wasn't sorry."

Highlights
Marla Gibbs on being cast on The Jeffersons
01:46
Marla Gibbs on staying behind at the first table read of The Jeffersons to offer her opinions
01:34
Marla Gibbs on practical jokes done on the set of The Jeffersons
01:54
Marla Gibbs on starring in the short-lived The Jeffersons spinoff Checking In
03:07
Marla Gibbs on the genesis of 227
02:15
Marla Gibbs on producing and starring in 227
03:15
Marla Gibbs on guest-starring on The Hughleys
02:38
Marla Gibbs on her role as Aunt Irma on Passions
02:03
Marla Gibbs on her guest role on ER
01:41
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On her early years; on her first jobs; on moving to Los Angeles; on starting in theatre and beginning her career as an actress

Chapter 2

On her early work in television on Barney Miller; on changing her name
On co-starring on The Jeffersons

Chapter 3

On co-starring on The Jeffersons; on Florence Johnston, the character she played (continued)
16:30
On starring in the short-lived The Jeffersons spinoff Checking In
03:07
On the genesis of 227
02:15
Marla Gibbs on returning to The Jeffersons after her short-lived spinoff series Checking In; on the cancellation of The Jeffersons; on the legacy of the series
05:19
Marla Gibbs on producing and starring in 227
03:15

Chapter 4

On producing and starring in 227 (continued)
28:20

Chapter 5

On producing and starring in 227; on ageism; on fame
16:00
On her television roles on Pryor's Place and The Hughleys
04:12
On her work in Los Angeles theatre; on her then-current projects (2006)

Chapter 6

On her other projects including roles on Passions and ER ; on her recording career; on her achievements; on being a working mother; on her advice to aspiring actors; on how she would like to be remembered
Shows

Barney Miller

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Marla Gibbs on the constant rewriting she endured when she was a guest actor on the Barney Miller episode "Vigilante"
00:28

Checking In

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Marla Gibbs on starring in the short-lived The Jeffersons spinoff Checking In
03:07

ER

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Marla Gibbs on her guest role on ER
01:41

Hughleys, The

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Marla Gibbs on guest-starring on The Hughleys
02:38

Jeffersons, The

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Marla Gibbs on being cast on The Jeffersons
01:46
Marla Gibbs on staying behind at the first table read of The Jeffersons to offer her opinions
01:34
Marla Gibbs on how she kept her job at United Airlines on The Jeffersons until her role became a regular one.
02:46
Marla Gibbs on practical jokes done on the set of The Jeffersons
01:54
Marla Gibbs on creating the memorable sequence from classic The Jeffersons episode "Mr. Piano Man," which had her crawling under the piano in a crowded party to try to answer the front door before George Jefferson
01:41
Marla Gibbs on working with her Jeffersons co-star Sherman Hemsley
02:04
Marla Gibbs on Sherman Hemsley's request to take "honky" out of the script when refering to George Jefferson's now-friend Tom Willis
00:13
Marla Gibbs on her Jeffersons co-star Isabel Sanford
01:06
Marla Gibbs on co-starring on The Jeffersons; on Florence Johnston, the character she played (continued)
16:30
Marla Gibbs on returning to The Jeffersons after her short-lived spinoff series Checking In; on the cancellation of The Jeffersons; on the legacy of the series
05:19

Passions

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Marla Gibbs on her role as Aunt Irma on Passions
02:03

Pryor's Place

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Marla Gibbs on co-starring on Pryor's Place
00:51

227

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Marla Gibbs on the genesis of 227
02:15
Marla Gibbs on producing and starring in 227
03:15
Marla Gibbs on producing and starring in 227 (continued)
28:20
Marla Gibbs on producing and starring in 227; on fame
16:00
Topics

Comedy

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Marla Gibbs on creating the memorable sequence from classic The Jeffersons episode "Mr. Piano Man," which had her crawling under the piano in a crowded party to try to answer the front door before George Jefferson
01:41

Minorities

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Marla Gibbs on staying behind at the first table read of The Jeffersons to offer her opinions on such things as naturalistic dialogue
01:34
Marla Gibbs on Sherman Hemsley's request to take "honky" out of the script when referring to George Jefferson's now-friend Tom Willis
00:13

We Laughed

View Topic
Marla Gibbs on creating the memorable sequence from classic The Jeffersons episode "Mr. Piano Man," which had her crawling under the piano in a crowded party to try to answer the front door before George Jefferson
01:41
People

Sherman Hemsley

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Marla Gibbs on working with her Jeffersons co-star Sherman Hemsley
02:04

Isabel Sanford

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Marla Gibbs on her Jeffersons co-star Isabel Sanford
01:06

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