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“K” is for King, Mabel (1932-1999)

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

“K” is for King, Mabel (1932-1999). Actress, singer, television personality. Born in Charleston, King had a starring role in the Broadway hit musical Don’t Play Us Cheap, in which two imps are sent by the Devil to break up a party in Harlem. She was a talented entertainer whose most memorable role was that of the oversized, all-powerful “Mama” in the ABC sitcom What’s Happening!!  The main comedic events of the show centered on her role as the loving mother to a teenage son, his friends, and a precocious daughter. King played the role of Evilene the Wicked Witch of the West in the Broadway production of The Wiz. Her stellar performance earned King a Tony nomination in 1975 for best actress. Mabel King reprised her role in the 1978 film version of the musical.

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Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar received his B.A. degree from Davidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.