“People think that I am Persian, Indian, East Indian, Spanish, everything. People think that I am everything. Nobody knows what I am and that was a problem when I was first working because it was like, 'She doesn't really look this or that.' Now people know who I am and it is not a problem. If I get some work, I'll just have to get the work looking like me.” Salli Richardson
American actress Salli Richardson-Whitfield (also known as Salli Richardson) got her start in theater in Chicago. She is known for working with such filmmakers as Mario Van Peebles in “Posse” (1993), Lou Diamond Phillips in “Sioux City” (1994), Keenan Ivory Wayans in “A Low Down Dirty Shame” (1994), Tim Reid in “Once Upon a Time... When We Were Colored” (1995) and Reginald Hudlin in “The Great White Hype” (1996). More recent movie credits include “Butter” (1998), the Denzel Washington directed “Antwone Fisher” (2002), “Biker Boyz” (2003), “Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid” (2004), “I Am Legend” (2007) and “Black Dynamite” (2008). Upcoming projects include “Pastor Brown,” “I Will Follow” and “Forgiveness” (all 2010). On the small screen, she had recurring roles on UPN's “Mercy Point” (1998-1999, as Kim), CBS' “Family Law” (1999, as Viveca Foster) and “CSI: Miami” (2003, as Erica Logan), and regular roles in Showtime's “Rude Awakenings” (2000-2001, as Nancy Adams) and Sci-Fi Channel's “Eureka” (2006-2010, as Allison Blake). She has also done several TV films, including “Soul Of The Game” (1996) and “True Women” (1997) and guest starred in such series as “Silk Stalkings,” “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,” “Stargate SG-1,” “House M.D.,” “NYPD Blue” and “Bones.” Her voice was heard as Elisa Maza on Disney's cartoon series “Gargoyles” (1994-1996).
“The things that are most important to me are my close friends, my family, and being good to them. The people I've met in LA have been wonderful. It’s great to be living here.” Salli Richardson
5' 4” Richardson has been married to actor Dondre Whitfield since 2002. They currently reside in Los Angeles, California, with their two kids.
Childhood and Family:
Salli Elise Richardson was born on November 23, 1967, in Chicago, Illinois. Her father, who works as the director of Neighborhood Relations/Educational Programs and Office of Community Affairs for the University of Chicago, is of Italian and Irish lineage and her mother, Marcia Harris, is African-American/Cherokee. Growing up in Chicago, Salli played tennis for the University of Chicago Laboratory High School and studied opera during her high school years.
Salli married her long-time boyfriend, fellow actor Dondre Whitfield, on September 8, 2002. The couple has a daughter named Parker and a son named Dre.
I Am Legend
Salli Richardson launched her professional acting career with the Chicago-based Kuumba Workshop before eventually heading to Hollywood. While still in Chicago, she received her first taste of acting in front of the film cameras as Denise in the independent movie “Up Against the Wall” (1991), starring Marla Gibbs and Ron O'Neal. She went on to appear with Alex Baldwin, Meg Ryan and Kathy Bates in Norman Rene's comedy “Prelude to a Kiss” and Damon and Marlon Wayans and Stacey Dash in the Damon Wayans written “Mo' Money” (both 1992).
Richardson began her career in Hollywood with a guest spot in a 1992 episode of the series “Silk Stalkings” called “Wild Card.” She returned to Chicago to film the romantic comedy “How U Like Me Now” (1993), which was written and directed by Darryl Roberts, and was cast by Mario Van Peebles in the supporting role of Lana in the director/actor's western “Posse” (also 1993). In addition to acting, she also sang “If I Knew Him At All” on the soundtrack of “Posse.” Richardson stated, “I don't think there's anything else I've ever wanted to do. My mother used to run a recording studio in Chicago and I used to sit in the studio and watch all the bands record. I was interested in singing. I would sing to Minnie Riperton records. I was always in a choir and I have a song on the soundtrack of ‘Posse.’”
From 1994 to 1996, Richardson provided the voice of Elisa Maza on the Disney animated series “Gargoyles.” Other actors who participated on the syndicated show included Jonathan Frakes (as David Xanatos), Marina Sirtis (as Demona), Edward Asner (as Hudson) and Keith David (as Goliath). Richardson then voiced Maza in three episodes of “Gargoyles: The Goliath Chronicles” (1996) and several videos, including “Gargoyles: The Heroes Awaken” (1995), “Gargoyles: Brothers Betrayed” (1998) and “Gargoyles: Deeds of Deception” (1998).
Besides her voiceover gigs, Richardson costarred with Lou Diamond Phillips in his directorial debut movie “Sioux City” (1994), played Nicole Scott, the daughter of Bill Cosby, on the TV series reunion “I Spy Returns” (1994, directed by Jerry London), and costarred with Keenen Ivory Wayans, Charles S. Dutton and Jada Pinkett Smith in the Wayans directed “A Low Down Dirty Shame” (1994). She next supported Natalie Cole in the TV film “Lily in Winter” (1994) and worked with Award winning filmmaker Tim Reid on the drama “Once Upon a Time... When We Were Colored” (1995). In the HBO television movie “Soul Of The Game” (1996), which was nominated for an Image for Outstanding Television Movie or Mini-Series, she played Lahoma. She also appeared with Samuel L. Jackson and Jeff Goldblum in the boxing comedy “Great White Hype” (1996, directed by Reginald Hudlin), joined Dana Delany, Angelina Jolie, Rachael Leigh Cook and Michael York for the television film “True Women” (1997), adapted from a book by Janice Woods Windle, portrayed the costarring role of Blusette Ford in the indie thriller “Butter” (1998) and starred in Mario Avila's “Lilie” (1999).
The busy performer could also be seen as a guest star in such television series as “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” (1993), “Roc” and “New York Undercover” (both 1994), “Stargate SG-1” (1997), “The Pretender” (1998) and “The Jamie Foxx Show” (1999). She played the recurring role of Kim in four episodes of the UPN medical drama “Mercy Point” during 1998 and 1999 and began her three episode role of Viveca Foster on the CBS television drama “Family Law” in 1999. After leaving the show, she won the regular role of Nancy Adams on the comedy series “Rude Awakenings,” a gig she held from 2000 to 2001. Salli returned to film to play Nelli McPherson in the 2002 comedy “Baby of the Family.” That same year, she also appeared as Karen in Jeffrey W. Byrd's “Book of Love,” but did not snag a high profile role until actor Denzel Washington cast her as Berta Davenport in his directorial debut, the biopic “Antwone Fisher,” which starred Derek Luke.
Billed as Salli Richardson-Whitfield since her marriage to actor Dondre Whitfield in late 2002, Richardson rejoined Derek Luke for the next year's action film “Biker Boyz,” which also starred Laurence Fishburne, Kid Rock, Djimon Hounsou, Orlando Jones, Lisa Bonet and Meagan Good. She then landed the role of Gail Stern in the horror movie “Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid” (2004) for director Dwight H. Little. In between the projects, she had a recurring role on the CBS crime series “CSI: Miami” (2003), playing Erica Logan.
Next up for Richardson, she guest starred in the series “Second Time Around,” “NYPD Blue” (both 2004), “House M.D.,” “1-800-Missing,” “The War at Home” (all 2005) and “Bones” (2006) before undertaking the regular role of Allison Blake on the science fiction series “Eureka,” opposite Colin Ferguson as Sheriff Jack Carter and Joe Morton as Henry Deacon (2006-2010). She revisited the big screen in December 2007 to play the wife of Will Smith, Zoe Neville, in “I Am Legend,” which received a Saturn nomination for Best Science Fiction Film and an Image nomination for Outstanding Motion Picture. Also in 2007, she co-hosted an infomercial with her husband for TimeLife's “Midnight Soul” music collection.
In 2009, Richardson costarred with Michael Jai White in the action comedy “Black Dynamite” (2009), which was directed by Scott Sanders. She will also have a starring role in the upcoming movie “Pastor Brown” (2010), star in “I Will Follow” (2010) and is currently filming the movie “Forgiveness,” which was written by Hakim Khalfani.