The Young and the Restless
“I hope in the future, daytime will consider more Hispanic, Asian and black actors, directors and producers to participate in this rich performance arena to give shows a true depiction of what the world really looks like.” Victoria Rowell
American actress and dancer Victoria Rowell is popular for playing Drucilla Winters on the CBS daytime drama “The Young and the Restless” (1990-2007), from which she picked up eleven Image Awards, a Soap Opera Digest Award and three Daytime Emmy nominations, and Dr. Amanda Bentley on the CBS drama series “Diagnosis: Murder” (1993-2001). In addition, she has guest starred in “The Cosby Show,” “Deadly Games,” “Family Law,” “Noah's Arc,” “All of Us” and “Ghost Whisperer” as well as acted in the films “The Distinguished Gentleman” (1992), “Eve's Bayou (1997), “A Wake in Providence” (1999), “A Perfect Fit” (2005) and “Of Boys and Men” (2008). Rowell began her professional career as a dancer at age 17 before branching out to modeling, television commercials and then acting.
Rowell has been married twice. She has one daughter, Maya, with her first husband, Tom Fahey (together from 1989 to 1990). She also has a son named Jasper Armstrong Marsalis with trumpeter and composer Wynton Marsalis (born October 18, 1961, together from 1988 to 1997). Once named one of AIM's “100 Hottest Brunettes,” Rowell began dating Chris Spencer in the fall 1997, but they later broke up. She was then linked to actor/screenwriter Vincent Pagano, whom she met on the set of “A Wake in Providence” (1999) before marrying Radcliffe Bailey in 1990.
In 1990, Rowell established the Rowell Foster Children Positive Plan, which provides emotional support and financial help to foster children. She also founded the Rowell Foster Children's Fine Arts Scholarship Fund, which gives ballet classes to foster children. In May 2006, she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters by the University of Southern Maine in recognition of her work with foster children. She published a memoir called “The Women Who Raised Me,” which focuses on her time in foster care, in 2007. The next year, she received the Gift of Adoption Celebration of Adoption Award, an award given to individuals or groups who help children unite with families.
Childhood and Family:
Victoria Lynn Rowell was born on May 10, 1960, in Portland, Maine, to Dorothy Rowell, who was of English descent, and an African American father, whom she knew very little about. When she was 16 days old, Victoria was given to child services with her two sisters, Sheree and Lori. She was a foster child until she was 18 years old.
While living in Maine with her foster parents Agatha C. and Robert Armstead, the then-8 year old Victoria began taking ballet lessons and later earned a Ford Foundation scholarship to study at the Cambridge School of Ballet. At age 17, she earned scholarships to the School of American Ballet, the American Ballet Theatre and the Dance Theatre of Harlem. She later continued to dance with various companies, including the American Ballet Theatre (ABT) II and the Twyla Tharp Workshop, before eventually realizing that acting was her true calling. She is a member of the Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Incorporated.
Victoria was married to Tom Fahey from 1989 to 1990 and they have one daughter together named Maya Fahey (born 1990). Victoria gave birth to her second child, son Jasper Armstrong Marsalis, on December 26, 1995. His father is musician Wynton Marsalis. She married her current husband, Radcliffe Bailey, on June 27, 2009, in Dublin, New Hampshire.
After training as a dancer, Victoria Rowell decided to go professional when she was 17 years old and worked with the American Ballet Theater (ABT) II and the Twyla Tharp Workshop, among other companies. She went on to try her hand at modeling and appeared in “Seventeen” and “Mademoiselle.” She also landed work on television commercials before Bill Cosby spotted her.
In 1987, Rowell made her feature film acting debut in “Leonard Part 6,” a forgettable comedy written, produced by and starring Cosby. She went on to appear in the CBS soap opera “As the World Turns” (1988), playing Nella Franklin #1, and landed a two episode role in the Bill Cosby hit sitcom “The Cosby Show” (1989-1990). She also appeared in “Clubba Hubba” (1990), an episode of Will Smith's comedy series “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” However, it was not until she joined the cast of the soap opera “The Young and the Restless” that she experienced her big break. As ballerina turned model Drucilla Winters, she first appeared on the series on July 10, 1990, and went on to play the role until she quit in 1998. She briefly returned to the show in 2000 and again on a regular basis from August 2002 to April 2007. For her performance, Rowell was handed an Image Award in the category of Outstanding Actress in a Daytime Drama Series eleven times (1994-1999, 2001, 2003-2006) and a Soap Opera Digest Award for Outstanding Scene Stealer once (1994). She also received three Daytime Emmy nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series (1996-1998) for her performance on the show.
Rowell also played Susan Bracken in two episodes of the Fox sitcom “Herman's Head” (1991-1993), had her first screen lead in “The Distinguished Gentleman” (1992, opposite Eddie Murphy and Lane Smith) and made her television movie debut in the HBO film “Full Eclipse,” (1993) which starred Mario Van Peebles. She next portrayed Yolanda Seeley in the NBC television movie “Secret Sins of the Father” (1994), which was directed by and starred Beau Bridges, appeared with Jim Carrey, Jeff Daniels, Lauren Holly, Mike Starr and Karen Duffy in the Farrelly Brothers’ comedy “Dumb and Dumber” (1994), starred with Hill Harper in the short film “One Red Rose” (1995, directed by Charlie Jordan) and guest starred in the UPN science fiction series “Deadly Games” (1995).
After portraying Cora in “Barb Wire” (1996), a film adaptation of the Dark Horse comic book series of the same name, Rowell offered a notable portrayal as Stevie Hobbs in Kasi Lemmons' drama “Eve's Bayou” (1997), which starred Samuel L. Jackson, Jurnee Smollett and Meagan Good. The film received various awards and nominations, including Independent Spirit Awards for Best First Feature and Best Supporting Female, an Acapulco Black Film Festival Award for Best Film and Image nominations for Outstanding Motion Picture, Outstanding Lead Actor in a Motion Picture, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Motion Picture, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture, Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture, and Outstanding Youth Actor/Actress. She followed it up with appearances in the short films “Dr. Hugo” and “Secrets” (both 1998), a guest stint in “Sin City Spectacular” (also 1998), a costarring role in the independent comedy “A Wake in Providence” (1999), opposite Vincent Pagano and Adrienne Barbeau, and a supporting role in Robert Townsend's “Fraternity Boys” (1999).
During her stint on “The Young and the Restless,” Rowell simultaneously played the role of medical examiner/pathologist Dr. Amanda Bentley on the CBS primetime show “Diagnosis Murder,” which ran from October 1993 to May 2001. The role brought the actress three Image nominations for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series. Costars of the series included Dick Van Dyke, Barry Van Dyke, Scott Baio (1993-1995), Michael Tucci (1993-1997) and Delores Hall (1993-1995).
In 2001, Rowell played Ms. Wilkes in an episode of “Family Law” titled “Moving On” and Josette Metoyer on the Showtime television movie “Feast of All Saints” (starred Robert Ri'chard, Peter Gallagher, Gloria Reuben and Jennifer Beals). The next year, she reprised her role of Dr. Amanda Bentley on the last two television film versions of “Diagnosis Murder,” “A Town Without Pity” and “Without Warning,” before returning to “The Young & the Restless” as Drucilla in August of the same year.
Rowell next appeared with Robert Townsend, Harry Lennix and Vanessa Williams in the direct to video film “Black Listed” (2003), which Townsend also directed and wrote, supported Vivica A. Fox and Shemar Moore in the straight to video release “Motives” (2004), which was directed by Craig Ross Jr. and written by Kelsey Scott, costarred in the short “Midnight Clear” (2005) and played Sheila in the Ron Brown written and directed thriller “A Perfect Fit” (2005), opposite Adrian Grenier, Polly Draper, Leila Arcieri and Michele Santopietro. She then played the recurring role of Vonda in “Noah's Arc” (2 episodes, 2006), was cast as Penelope Marsh in Irwin Winkler's drama “Home of the Brave” (2006), starred as Rebecca McCaw in the TV film “Polly and Marie” (2007) and appeared as Deborah Cooper in an episode of the UPN sitcom “All of Us” called “He's Got Game” (2007).
After leaving “The Young and the Restless,” Rowell costarred with Robert Townsend and Angela Bassett in the 2008 dramatic film “Of Boys and Men,” for director Carl Seaton and writer Michelle Amor. Two years later, she played Adrienne in an episode of the CBS supernatural drama “Ghost Whisperer” called “Living Nightmare,” which was broadcasted on January 29, 2010.
Image: Outstanding Actress in a Daytime Drama Series, “The Young and the Restless,” 2006
Image: Outstanding Actress in a Daytime Drama Series, “The Young and the Restless,” 2005
Image: Outstanding Actress in a Daytime Drama Series, “The Young and the Restless,” 2004
Image: Outstanding Actress in a Daytime Drama Series, “The Young and the Restless,” 2003
Image: Outstanding Actress in a Daytime Drama Series, “The Young and the Restless,” 2001
Image: Outstanding Actress in a Daytime Drama Series, “The Young and the Restless,” 1999
Image: Outstanding Actress in a Daytime Drama Series, “The Young and the Restless,” 1998
Image: Outstanding Actress in a Daytime Drama Series, “The Young and the Restless,” 1997
Image: Outstanding Actress in a Daytime Drama Series, “The Young and the Restless,” 1996
Image: Outstanding Actress in a Daytime Drama Series, “The Young and the Restless,” 1995
Image: Outstanding Actress in a Daytime Drama Series, “The Young and the Restless,” 1994
Soap Opera Digest: Outstanding Scene Stealer, “The Young and the Restless,” 1994