This Day in Black History: March 20, 1957

Actress Vanessa Bell Calloway was born in Cleveland, Ohio.

Posted: 03/20/2014 08:30 AM EDT

Vanessa Bell Calloway has performed in numerous television programs and films, but began her career as a dancer in the original Broadway production of Dreamgirls. Born on March 20, 1957, she became a professional actor with her debut on the iconic soap opera All My Children in 1982.

Since then, she has been a guest or recurring actor in several television series, movies and miniseries, including Days of Our Lives, The Temptations, The Closer, Shameless and Rizzoli and Isles. Calloway also starred in the BET Networks series Baldwin Hills.

The Ohio University graduate first appeared on the silver screen in 1988 when she played the role of Imani Izzi in the comedic hit Coming to America. Other film credits include Love Don't Cost a Thing, Cheaper By the Dozen, Crimson Tide and The Obama Effect.

But most important, Calloway, the mother of two daughters, is a survivor. In 2013, she chronicled her struggle with breast cancer and her brave, but grueling, decision to undergo a double mastectomy.

"I can still hear my husband saying to me, 'We have graduations and weddings to attend and you have to be there.' I knew he was right. I knew I had to do what I needed to do to be there for my girls," Calloway wrote in post on the Daily Beast.

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Follow Joyce Jones on Twitter: @BETpolitichick

 (Photo: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

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