Telma Hopkins
December 26, 2003 AT 05:00 AM EST

Farewell: Telma Hopkins pays tribute to Nell Carter

You had to brace yourself in order to stay standing when Nell Carter went past. She was a force to be reckoned with. She did what she wanted, and you just had to get on board with that. I was not a disciplined performer until I started doing Gimme a Break! Nell taught me to think on my feet. It was the only way you could work with her. She had an astounding memory. You can’t do physical comedy with a script in your hand, so the day after getting a script, she’d toss it aside.

There was a greatness about Nell that I don’t think she had a chance to realize. She was good at everything she touched. She had so much more to do. She adopted two boys more than a decade ago, and being a mother was really her greatest role. They’re fortunate that she put a whole lot of good stuff in them by the time she passed away. I’m so grateful she’ll live on through them. (Carter died of diabetes-related causes in Beverly Hills, CA.)

You May Like