Sally Hemings: An American Scandal
Actress, screenwriter, TV producer, author and playwright Tina Andrews is famous as the first African American to win the Writers Guild of America Award for Original Long Form thanks to her writing on the successful TV miniseries “Sally Hemings: An American Scandal” (2001), which she adapted from her play “The Mistress of Monticello.” She was nominated for an Acapulco Black Film Festival Award for her screenplay of “Why Do Fools Fall in Love” (1998).
Andrews first gained fame as an actress with work in the soap operas “Days of Our Lives” (1975-1977; as Valerie Grant) and “Falcon Crest” (1983; as Valerie) and the films “Conrack” (1974), “Carny” (1980) and “Off the Mask” (1987) before focusing on writing. She published the nonfiction book “Sally Hemings: An American Scandal: The Struggle to Tell the Controversial Truth” in 2001, the essay “The First Time I Got Paid For It: Writers Tales From The Hollywood Trenches” in 2002 and a novel titled “The Hollywood Dolls” in 2009.
Childhood and Family:
Tina Yvonne Andrews was born on April 23, 1951, in Chicago, Illinois. She majored in drama at New York University.
Tina is married to documentary filmmaker and award winning theatrical producer Stephen Gaines. In her spare time, she enjoys photography.
Why Do Fools Fall in Love
While in college, Tina Andrews landed the role of Ermendarde in a staging of “Hello, Dolly,” opposite Pearl Bailey and Cab Calloway. Her television debut came in 1971 with a guest appearance in “The Brady Bunch.” Following guest spots in “The ABC Saturday Superstar Movie” and “The Mod Squad” (both 1972), she acted in television’s “The Weekend Nun” (also 1972), which was based on a true story about a young nun who worked as a probation officer. The ABC drama, directed by Jeannot Szwarc and written by Ken Trevey, starred Joanna Pettet. In the ABC made for TV film “The Girls of Huntington House” (1973), she played the supporting role of Tina. Costars of the drama included Shirley Jones and Sissy Spacek. 1973 also saw her in episodes of “Tenafly” and “Love Story” and she portrayed the recurring role of Esther in the Emmy Award winning series “Room 222” from 1972 to 1973.
Andrew made the jump to the big screen with the role of Jeannie Allen in “Hit” (1973), an action film helmed by Sidney J. Furie that starred Billy Dee Williams and Richard Pryor. It was followed by a supporting role in the film “Conrack” (1974), adapted from the Pat Conroy 1972 autobiographical book “The Water Is Wide.” The movie starred Jon Voight and was directed by Martin Ritt. It was Ritt who persuaded Andrews to relocate to Los Angeles to pursue more opportunities.
1974 also found roles in the made for TV film “Born Innocent,” opposite Linda Blair, Joanna Miles and Kim Hunter, and an episode of “Marcus Welby, M.D.” She then played Elizabeth in an episode of “Sanford and Son” called “Sanford and Niece” and appeared in an episode of “The Odd Couple” called “The Big Broadcast” (also 1974). She returned to “The Odd Couple” to play Tina in the 1975 episode “Old Flames Never Die.”
After guest stints in “Good Times,” “The Streets of San Francisco,” “Mannix” and “Police Story,” (all 1975), Andrews originated the role of Valerie Grant on the popular soap opera “Days of Our Lives.” She played the role from 1975 to 1977. She then teamed up with Susan Clark, Ricardo Montalban, James T. Callahan, John Elerick, Vera Miles and Mike Farrell in the NBC made for TV film “McNaughton's Daughter” (1976), guest starred in the TV series “Quincy M.E.” (1977), played Roseanne in the TV film “Billy: Portrait of a Street Kid” (NBC, 1977) and appeared as Aurelia in the critically acclaimed TV miniseries “Roots” (ABC, 1977), which was based on Alex Haley's 1976 novel “Roots: The Saga of an American Family.” She also received a role on the short lived NBC comedy series “The Sanford Arms,” opposite Teddy Wilson, Don Bexley and LaWanda Page.
In 1980, Andrews portrayed Missy Dinwittie in the TV miniseries “The Contender” and Sugaree in the film “Carny,” a drama starring Jodie Foster, Gary Busey and Robbie Robertson. She also appeared in the episode “Life and Death of a Beauty Queen “of “B.A.D. Cats” and after guest appearances in “Trapper John, M.D.” (1982) and “At Ease” (1983), she portrayed Valerie in several episodes of the primetime television soap opera “Falcon Crest” (1983). In 1985, she portrayed Gwendolyn in the TV miniseries “The Atlanta Child Murders” and appeared as Willa Harper in an episode of “Spenser: For Hire” the following year. She went on to guest star in various TV shows during the remainder of the 1980s, including “ What's Happening Now” (1987), “Small Wonder” (1988), “Beauty and the Beast” (1989) and “Charles in Charge” (1989). She revisited the wide screen with the small role of Justine in the comedy “Off the Mask” (1987), which was directed and co-written by Bill Berry. The film starred Mark Neely and Terry Farrell.
Andrews put her acting career on the backburner to pursue other interests, such as writing and producing. In 1998, she made her debut as a screenwriter with the film “Why Do Fools Fall in Love,” helmed by Gregory Nava and starring Halle Berry, Vivica A. Fox, Lela Rochon and Larenz Tate. A biographical film about the life of singer Frankie Lymon, the film brought Andrews a Black Film nomination for Best Screenplay at the 1999 Acapulco Black Film Festival.
Entering the new millennium, Andrews received praise for writing for the CBS miniseries “Sally Hemings: An American Scandal” (2000), which was directed by Charles Haid and starred Sam Neill and Carmen Ejogo. Adapted from her play “The Mistress of Monticello,” the miniseries brought Andrews a 2001 Writers Guild of America for Original Long Form. The show, which she co-executive produced, also received a 2001 Image Award for Outstanding Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special and a Golden Satellite nomination for Best Miniseries. Still in 2000, Andrews wrote and co-executive produced the TV film “Jackie Bouvier Kennedy Onassis.” The CBS film was nominated for Emmys for Outstanding Hairstyling for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special and Outstanding Makeup for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special. In 2003, Andrews directed and wrote “Sistas 'N the City,” a collection of short animation films that followed the sex lives of four women based in Chicago.
As a published writer, Andrews released a nonfiction book titled “Sally Hemings: An American Scandal: The Struggle to Tell the Controversial Truth,” in 2001. Her subsequent book, “The First Time I Got Paid For It: Writers Tales From The Hollywood Trenches,” was released in 2002. Her novel, “The Hollywood Dolls,” published by Malibu Press, hit the book stores in 2009.
Writers Guild of America (WGA): Original Long Form, “Sally Hemings: An American Scandal,” 2001