It’s not enough to say Jenifer Lewis is the life of the party. The actress literally is the party with a personality that was so very clearly meant for the stage and any set in Hollywood, whether TV or film. Our generation knows Ms. Lewis for always playing “somebody’s mama” — she currently plays Dre’s on ABC’s Black-ish — but there was a time when the comedian, singer, and activist was a hot young thang running around with some of our most cherished stars. And she wasn’t afraid to show off that body of hers either.
In honor of her 61st birthday today, here are 10 throwback pics of Jenifer Lewis being Jenifer Lewis for no other reason than they will brighten your day.
NEW YORK CITY – DECEMBER 9: Actress Jenifer Lewis and singer Whitney Houston attend “The Preacher’s Wife” Premiere Party on December 9, 1996 at Roseland Ballroom in New York City. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Jenifer Lewis singing with Whitney Houston at “The Preacher’s Wife” Premiere Party at the Roseland Ballroom in New York City in 1996
6/2/99 Beverly Hills, Ca Jenifer Lewis At The Premiere Of “Jackies Back.” (Photo By David Keeler/Getty Images)
Ms. Lewis showing a little leg at the premiere Of “Jackies Back” in 1999.
LOS ANGELES, CA. – JUNE 18: Actors Miguel A. Nunez Jr. (L) and Jennifer Lewis attend the film premiere of Juwanna Mann June 18, 2002 in Los Angeles, California. The film opens in theaters nationwide June 21, 2002. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
And more leg with Miguel A. Nunez Jr. at the premiere of “Juwanna Mann” in 2002.
LOS ANGELES – SEPTEMBER 10: Actress Debbie Allen and Jennifer Lewis attending First Annual Minority Motion Picture Awards on September 10, 1993 at the Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
How fly are these two at the first Minority Motion Picture Awards in 1993?
Actress Jenifer Lewis attends the Seventh Annual Commitment to Life Gala to Benefit AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA) on January 27, 1994 at Universal Amphitheatre in Universal City, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Now this is how you show up to an AIDs gala.
Actress Jenifer Lewis attends the Ninth Annual Commitment to Life Gala to Benefit AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA) on July 18, 1996 at Universal Amphitheatre in Univeral City, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
And two years later in 1996, Ms. Lewis decided to go super glam on ’em at the Ninth Annual Commitment to Life Gala to Benefit AIDS Project.
Actress Jenifer Lewis attends the 26th Annual NAACP Image Awards on January 5, 1993 at Pasadena Civic Auditorium in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
She was clearly ready to get the party started at the NAACP Image Awards back in ’93.
CANADA – DECEMBER 01: Rob lies down on the job interviewing Jenifer Lewis On The Couch. Mary Wilson (inset left) autographs Dreamgirl: My Life As A Supreme. (Photo by Keith Beaty/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
Back in 1986, rehearsing lines for the musical Dreamgirls.
1/15/97 Los Angeles, Ca Heavy D and Jennifer Lewis at the premiere of “Metro”
Having fun with Heavy D at the premiere of “Metro” in 1997.
Actress Jenifer Lewis attends ‘The American President’ Century City Premiere on November 14, 1995 at Century City Cinemas in Century City, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Fly as ever at the premiere of “The American President” in 1995.