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Shirley Hemphill

Shirley Hemphill

Shirley Ann Hemphill (July 1, 1947 – December 10, 1999) was an American stand-up comedian and actress. A native of Asheville, North Carolina, Hemphill moved to Los Angeles in the 1970s to pursue a career as a stand-up comedian. After working the Los Angeles comedy club circuit, her routine eventually attracted attention leading to her being cast in guest starring roles on television. In 1976, she landed the role of waitress Shirley Wilson on the sitcom What's Happening!! The series was a modest hit for ABC, but production and cast problems caused ABC to cancel the series in 1979. The following year, Hemphill was cast in her own sitcom, One in a Million. The series failed to attract an audience and was canceled in June 1980. In 1985, Hemphill reprised her role as Shirley Wilson in the syndicated revival of What's Happening!! Titled What's Happening Now!! Like its predecessor, What's Happening Now!! Aired for three seasons. After the show's cancellation, Hemphill returned to stand-up comedy and also made occasional appearances in films and television until her death in December 1999.
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