Gloria Foster

Gloria Foster Photo


Date of Birth: November 15, 1933

Born in Chicago, Illinois, Gloria Foster was raised by her grandmother. She studied at the Goodman Theatre School of Drama and made her earliest professional appearances with the University of Chicago County Theater. When she was 29, Foster moved to New York City and attended an open audition for a play called In White America. She won the role, which required her to play 27 different characters. Her performance was met with widespread approval, and she not only won an Obie award, but Life Magazine featured a two-page spread on the young, upcoming actress. Her next appearance was in the plum role of Medea, for which she won another Obie award, as well as a Theatre World Award. She made her feature film debut in The Cool World (1963) alongside actor Clarence Williams III, and the two were later married.

Foster worked steadily in films, including playing Bill Cosby's wife in Man and Boy (1972) and opposite Sidney Poitier in the TV-movie Separate But Equal (1991). She also made many guest appearances on TV shows including I Spy, The Mod Squad (which starred her husband as Linc Hayes), The White Shadow, The Cosby Show, Law & Order and Soul Food. She often returned to the stage, and won a third Obie in 1989 playing Miss Molly Hofenburg in Bill Gunn's Forbidden City. In 1995 she appeared on Broadway at the Booth Theater to rave reviews, playing 103-year-old Sadie Delany in Having Our Say.

In 1999 Foster played the grandmotherly mystical seer Oracle in The Matrix, and had filmed most of the scenes for the sequel, The Matrix Reloaded (2003), when she died at her home in Manhattan on September 29, 2001, of complications relating to diabetes.


The Matrix Reloaded (2003)
The Matrix (1999)
Percy & Thunder (1993)
City of Hope (1991)
Leonard Part 6 (1987)
Top Secret (1978)
Man and Boy (1972)
The Angel Levine (1970)
The Comedians (1967)
Nothing But a Man (1964)
The Cool World (1963)