Sheryl Underwood, born October 28, 1963, started her career in comedy back in 1992 as one of the frequent performers on “Def Comedy Jam” (1992) and has since become one of America’s most loved television personalities and mainstay comedic performers. Millions of Americans welcome her into their homes daily as one of the familiar faces on their favorite talk show. At the same time, some recognize her as the hilarious performer in some iconic B.E.T. programming and events. Here’s to her on her birthday.
The much-loved comedian, actress, and television host is no stranger to our television screens, from being the longest-running co-host on “The Talk” (2010) to playing Catfish Rita in “Beauty Shop” (2005) opposite Queen Latifah and appearances on daytime television juggernauts, “The Young and the Restless” (1973) and “The Bold and the Beautiful” (1978). Her origins are a little more humble than Hollywood. Underwood was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, and grew up there before her family moved to Atwater, California, where she ended up attending high school. She graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts and from Governors State University with a master’s degree in media management and mass communication. The latter continues to serve her as she is an integral part of “The Talk,” a talk show in which a group of noteworthy women discuss important topics, gab about popular culture, and have celebrity guests.
Following her studies, she joined the United States Air Force, serving in the reserves for two years. Upon her return to California, she rose to prominence after receiving the B.E.T. Comedy Awards’ platinum Mic Viewers’ Choice Award in 2005 and the B.E.T. Comedy Awards’ ‘Funniest Female Comedian on Comic View’ award in 1994, setting her up for a fruitful journey to the big time. Following her breakthrough in stand-up comedy, Underwood landed a few minor acting parts, including “Bullworth” (1998) and “I Got the Hook-Up” (1998) before she landed a role that would make her more of a household name as Catfish Rita in the comedic film “Beauty Shop” (2005).
Off-screen, she has also been celebrated, especially after winning a Daytime Emmy in 2017 for outstanding entertainment talk show host along with her “The Talk” co-hosts and being voted as the 23rd International Grand Basileus (President) at Zeta Phi Beta’s biennial business conference in Las Vegas, Nevada in 2008. After her election, she became the first professional performer to be elected to the highest elected post of a National Pan-Hellenic Council organization. Today, she continues her stint on the famed talk show, participates in regular U.S. Army charity events and projects, and is a go-to host and guest at many stand-up comedy events and shows.
Underwood becomes a regular stand-up performer on H.B.O.’s “Def Comedy Jam,” a series produced by Russell Simmons to find the next generation of American comedians.
She delivers a memorable and hilarious performance in Michael Martin’s “I Got the Hook-Up” as Bad Mouth Bessie.
Underwood’s breakout role comes in Bille Woodruff’s “Barbershop” spin-off, “Beauty Shop,” playing Catfish Rita.
Following multiple guest appearances on “The Michael Baisden Show,” she becomes a regular co-host on Baisden’s radio show.
Underwood starts her long-running stint as co-host of C.B.S’s talk show, “The Talk.”
Why We Love Sheryl Underwood
She makes us laugh
From her first appearances on a national stage, Underwood has captured the hearts of all Americans with her quick humor and loving demeanor. And in the years since, she has kept us all on the edge of our seats as she unpacks the topics that matter while making us laugh out loud on her show.
She’s an inspiration
Following the death of her husband in the early ‘90s, she has worked hard to make a better life for herself in terms of her mental health, and she has been flourishing while doing it. She has come from a dark place and period in her life and made the necessary choices to move on and embrace a new reality in which she is successful and admired.
She understands people
Underwood’s master's degrees in media management and mass communication have helped her understand and navigate the industry that she is in and made her a professional at reading and analyzing people and their behaviors. This is evident in “The Talk,” as she always knows how to conduct stellar interviews with guests and handle the panel of co-hosts.
5 Surprising Facts
She’s made history
Underwood became the first female finalist in the national search for the next big stand-up comedian, “The Miller Lite Comedy Search.”
She is good friends with Steve Harvey
Because of her closeness with Harvey and her immense likeability on television, she’s a regular on his talk show, the “Steve Harvey Show.”
She is very private
She tends not to share much of her personal life with her social media followers and chooses not to talk about her life outside of work when interviewed or in front of the camera.
She tragically lost her husband
In 1990, her husband tragically committed suicide after struggling with depression.
She’s an Emmy favorite
Underwood has been nominated for seven Emmys and has won one, all for appearing on “The Talk.”
Sheryl Underwood FAQs
Does Sheryl Underwood have a child?
The comedian and war veteran’s complex background may have contributed to her decision not to remarry or have children.
How many Ph.D.s does Sheryl Underwood have?
She has four honorary doctorates, including one from Benedict College in Columbia, South Carolina; South Carolina State University in Orangeburg, South Carolina; the University of Illinois, Chicago; and Voorhees College in Denmark, South Carolina.
How much does Sheryl make on The Talk?
According to a source, Sheryl and her co-hosts were offered raises of up to 5% in October 2020. Sharon Osbourne allegedly earns $1 million every season and is the highest-paid lady in the trio, owing to her global fame.
Sheryl Underwood’s birthday dates