Natalie Desselle-Reid’s death at the age of 53 is shocking to her fans. As we look back on her life, we can see that she has left behind many memorable roles for us to remember her by. Here are eight of Desselle-Reid’s best-known roles, spanning television and film.
1. Mickey (B.A.P.S.)
Desselle-Reid’s most popular role is as flamboyant waitress/hairdresser Mickey in Robert Townsend’s 1997 film B.A.P.S. Mickey goes with her best friend and fellow waitress and trendsetter Nisi, played by Halle Berry, to California to try out for a Heavy D music video, hoping the role will lead them towards making the money to open up their dream joint hair salon and soul food restaurant. But soon, they’re caught up in taking care of Mr. Blakemore, played by Martin Landau. Mr. Blakemore is an elderly millionaire who initially doesn’t realize that his nephew, Isaac (Jonathan Fried) wants to fleece his money.
2. Jenny Jackson (How to Be a Player)
Desselle-Reid starred in 1997’s Def Jam Comedy film How to Be a Player as Jenny, the sister to Bill Bellamy’s character Dray Jackson. Jenny is one of the people early in the film who hates Dray’s “player” lifestyle. With her friend Katrina, played by Mari Morrow, they decide to frame Dray at the cookout they are set to attend. The hope is that if Dray is caught red-handed being a dog to women, he will change his ways, setting the stage for tons of comedy.
3. Minerva (Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella)
Desselle-Reid won over a new generation of fans when she played one of the evil stepsisters, Minerva, in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella. This televised version of the classic Cinderella story was groundbreaking in its representation, starring Brandy as the title character, executive producer Whitney Houston as the Fairy Godmother, Whoopi Goldberg as Queen Constantina, and Paolo Montalban as Prince Christopher.
4. Tanika (Set It Off)
Desselle-Reid was featured in F. Gary Gray’s 1996 film Set It Off, starring Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Vivica A. Foxx and Kimberly Elise. The film focused on four friends who are tired of being mistreated in their jobs and their lives and decide to set up a bank heist. The film has become a cult classic, with many considering it one of Queen Latifah’s most popular film roles.
5. Janie Egins (Eve)
Desselle-Reid starred opposite rapper-actress Eve in the self-titled sitcom airing between 2003 to 2006. Desselle-Reid played Janie Egins, the happily married friend to Eve’s fashion designer character Shelly Williams. Janie’s character was in stark contrast to Shelly’s other best friend, former model Rita Lefleur, played by Ali Landry.
6. Tammy (Madea’s Big Happy Family)
Desselle-Reid starred in Madea’s Big Happy Family as Tammy, one of Madea’s great-nieces. Desselle-Reid’s mother, Madea’s cancer-stricken niece Shirley, was played by Loretta Devine. Also making up Desselle-Reid’s on-screen family included Shad “Bow Wow” Moss as Byron and Shannon Kane as Kimberly.
7. Eunetta (For Your Love)
Desselle-Reid had a recurring role as Eunetta on Yvette Lee Bowser’s For Your Love, which aired from 1998 to 2002. The series, following three couples trying to help each other understand the opposite sex, starred Holly Robinson Peete, who became one of Desselle-Reid’s family friends through Robinson’s mother Dolores, who served as Desselle-Reid’s manager. The series also starred fellow ’90s It Girl Tamala Jones, who starred in Booty Call, Blue Streak and more, and is currently starring in 9-1-1: Lone Star.
8. Tammy Watkins (Built to Last)
Desselle-Reid starred in the short-lived 1997 sitcom Built to Last, based loosely on actor Royale Watkins’ real life. Watkins father ran a construction company, and similar to reality, the series focuses on Watkins’ self-named character running his father’s construction company after his father suffers a heart attack. Desselle-Reid played one of the many Watkins’ family members, Tammy Watkins. Veteran film and TV actor Paul Winfield starred as patriarch Russell Watkins, and The Bernie Mac Show child star Jeremy Suarez was also featured among the cast as Ryce Watkins. The Cosby Show‘s Geoffrey Owens also starred as Robert Watkins.
Which of Desselle-Reid’s roles is your favorite? Let us know in the comments.