Irma P. HallPlays MeMaw
Irma P. Hall's television career launched with her appearance in several episodes of Dallas, as Tilly, the housekeeper. Two TV movies followed, as well as a small role in the telefilm, Skyward, directed by Ron Howard, Crisis At Central High, and Broken Promise. Ms Hall also loved performing on stage at various Dallas theaters. Finally, after 27 years of teaching, she quit to pursue acting full time. In the late 1980's, Hall moved back to Chicago where she performed on stage at the Chicago Theatre Company, the Court Theatre, Goodman Theatre and with the Steppenwolf Theatre Company. At the same time she was appearing in Chicago-themed movies such as Backdraft, starring Kurt Russell and directed by Ron Howard, and Straight Talk, starring Dolly Parton and James Woods. In 1996, Irma won the Chicago Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance as tough but lovable Aunt T in the film A Family Thing starring James Earl Jones and Robert Duvall. In 1998 she won an NAACP Image Award for Best Supporting Actress for her work as Big Momma in the feature film Soul Food, and was again nominated for an Image Award in 2001 when she reprised her role in the Showtime series based on the film. Since then, she has appeared in Bad Company, Don't Let Go, Our America, Patch Adams, Beloved, Midnight In the Garden of Good and Evil, Steel, Buddy, A Lesson Before Dying, Babe and The Long Hot Summer, to name a few. She won the coveted Special Jury Award at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival for that performance, where Quentin Tarintino called her "a force of nature." The other 2004 films were A Slipping Down Life with Guy Pierce and Lili Taylor, and Collateral, starring Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx in an Academy Award nominated performance. Ms. Hall received an NAACP Image Award nomination for Best Actress for The Ladykillers, as well as the Movie Guide Awards. She was presented as a Black History Maker by the DuSable Museum in Chicago, and was inducted into the Texas Film Hall of Fame in Austin, Texas where she was introduced by Ethan and Joel Coen, the directors of The Ladykillers.