• Lynn Butler-Smith (Lynn Whitfield) is an American actress and producer.
• She has an estimated net worth of over $3 million.
• She is best known for her titular role in “The Josephine Baker Story”.
• She has won numerous awards during her career.
• She is active on social media, mainly Instagram and Facebook.

Known for movies

Short Info

Net Worth$3 million
Date Of BirthMay 6, 1953
SpouseBrian Gibson, Vantile Whitfield
FactShe is of Cherokee descent.

Who is Lynn Whitfield?

Lynn Butler-Smith was born on 6 May 1953, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA, and is a producer as well as an actress, best known for rising to prominence in her titular role in “The Josephine Baker Story”. Since then, she’s had starring roles in films such as “A Think Line Between Love and Hate”, and “Head of State”.

The Wealth of Lynn Whitfield

How rich is Lynn Whitfield? As of late-2019, sources estimate a net worth that is over $3 million, earned through a successful career as an actress.

She’s been active in the entertainment industry since 1981, and has won numerous awards during her career. As she continues on with her endeavors, it is expected that her wealth will also continues to increase.

Early Life, Education, and Career Beginnings

Lynn grew up in Baton Rouge with her father who worked as an officer for a finance agency, while her mother was a dentist. She grew up as the eldest among four children, and her father helped develop her interest in acting as he was an active figure in forming community theatre in her area.

After matriculating from high school, she enrolled at Howard University to complete a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts. The private university is an historically black university, though is now open to all sexes and races. Following the completion of her degree, she moved permanently to Washington, D.C. to study and perform with the Black Repertory Company. She started to gain a bit of attention, and would later move to New York to perform in off-Broadway productions. In 1977, she gained acclaim for her work in the production “for colored girls who have considered suicide / when the rainbow is enuf” in which she appeared alongside Alfre Woodard.

Lynn Whitfield

Television Career

After her run on theatre, Whitfield started to gain more projects on television, making her debut as a part of the critically acclaimed NBC show entitled “Hill Street Blues”, in which she played Jill Thomas. In 1983, she worked on the comedy film “Doctor Detroit” in a supporting role before having a string of other films, including “The Slugger’s Wife” and “The Revenge”. She had a starring role in “The George McKenna Story”, and “The Women of Brewster Place”, in which she appeared alongside Oprah Winfrey. She also became a cast member of the medical drama series “HeartBeat”, but which was short lived.

In 1991, she gained wide recognition for her performance in “The Josephine Baker Story” portraying the cabaret star who would become a French Resistance fighter during World War II –  she was chosen over hundreds of women who auditioned. She had to appear nude on screen and had to age from 18 to 68 as a part of the story. She won a Primetime Emmy Award, Golden Globe Award, and NAACP Image Award for her performance. This led her to more television projects, including “Equal Justice”, and “A Triumph of the Heart: The Rickey Bell Story”.

Latter Career

After a string of television movies, Lynn had a regular role in “The Cosby Mysteries”, which aired in 1994 but was short lived, only lasting for a year. She then had a lead role in the film “A Thin Line Between Love and Hate” opposite Martin Lawrence. The film was successful at the box office, and she then worked on “Gone Fishin’” alongside Danny Glover. She had a supporting role in “The Planet of Junior Brown”, and portrayed the mother in the acclaimed independent film “Eve’s Bayou”. In the 2000s, she settled for taking more supporting roles.

Some of the projects she worked on during this period include “Head of State”, “Madea’s Family Reunion”, and “The Women”. She also had roles in low profile movies, and worked on the Disney Channel film “The Cheetah Girls” as well as its sequel. She had recurring roles in both “Without a Trace” and “Boston Public” before appearing as a villain in “How to Get Away with Murder”. One of her most recent projects is the Oprah Winfrey Network series entitled “Greenleaf”, which follows the story of a family and their megachurch. She portrays a power- and money-hungry matriarch of the family, and received positive reviews for her performance.

Personal Life and Social Media

For her personal life, it is known that Lynn married Vantile Whitfield in 1974, adopting his last name during the time before she had risen to fame as an actress, but  they stayed together for only four years before getting a divoring. Her next marriage would be to director Brian Gibson, again short-lived, from 1990 to 1992, with their marriage also ending in divorce. They have a child together, and since then, there have been no new relationships reported on her end. Reports state that she lived in the Upper East Side of Manhattan during the 2000s though it is not known if she continues to reside there.

Similar to numerous actresses, Lynn is highly active online through accounts on social media. She has over 220,000 followers on Instagram, her profile stating that she is a Christian, music lover, and traveler. She is also an enthusiast of interior design. Her daughter has opted to pursue a career in music, and Lynn has been very supportive of her endeavors. Another account she has is on Facebook, with over 25,000 followers, but the account has not been updated since 2018. Her accounts mostly post personal photos, behind the scenes footage, and promotions of her projects.

General Info

Full NameLynn Whitfield
Net Worth$3 million
Salary$3 million
Date Of BirthMay 6, 1953
Height1.61 m
ProfessionFilm producer, Actor
EducationHoward University


SpouseBrian Gibson, Vantile Whitfield
ChildrenGrace Gibson
ParentsJean Butler, Valerian Smith
SiblingsValerian Butler-Smith, Shawne Langston, Kimberlegh Butler-Smith


AwardsPrimetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or a Movie, NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Performance in a Youth/Children's Series or Special, NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Television M...
NominationsGolden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actress In A Mini-series or Motion Picture Made for Television, NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture, Black Movie Award for Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
MoviesA Thin Line Between Love and Hate, The Josephine Baker Story, Eve's Bayou, Madea's Family Reunion, Head of State, Jaws: The Revenge, The Women of Brewster Place, Doctor Detroit, Mama, I Want to Sing!, Redemption: The Stan Tookie Williams Story, The Cheetah Girls, Gone Fishin', The Rebound, Silverado...
TV ShowsThe Cosby Mysteries, Equal Justice, Greenleaf, HeartBeat (US)

Social profile links


1Lives in a New York Townhome on Manhattan's Upper East Side. [2004]
2Gave birth to her 1st child at age 38, a daughter Grace Ginson on Augst 2, 1991. Child's is her 2nd husband, Brian Gibson.
3She is of Cherokee descent.
4Her younger brother's name is Valerian (Pepper) Butler-Smith.
5She is a member of the Links Inc.
6Member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
7She has two younger sisters and a younger brother.
8Modeled a Millenium Creation outfit designed by Anand Jon at the NYC 2000 fashion show in Times Square on September 13, 1999.
9Daughter of Valerian Smith




Stompin' at the Savoy1992TV MovieEsther
The Trials of Rosie O'Neill1991TV Series
Equal Justice1991TV SeriesMaggie Mayfield
A Triumph of the Heart: The Ricky Bell Story1991TV MovieNatala
The Josephine Baker Story1991TV MovieJosephine Baker
Matlock1990TV SeriesAngela Page
American Playhouse1982-1990TV SeriesWoman in the Bath
Heartbeat1988-1989TV SeriesDr. Cory Banks
The Women of Brewster Place1989TV SeriesCiel
St. Elsewhere1988TV SeriesAnnie Callan
Dead Aim1987Sheila Freeman
Jaws: The Revenge1987Louisa
Tall Tales & Legends1986TV SeriesPollie Ann
The New Mike Hammer1986TV SeriesDelia Marvel
The George McKenna Story1986TV MovieBobbie Maxwell
Johnnie Mae Gibson: FBI1986TV MovieJohnnie Mae Gibson
The Fall Guy1985TV SeriesJeanne
Miami Vice1985TV SeriesOdette Ribaud
The Slugger's Wife1985Tina Alvarado
Cagney & Lacey1985TV SeriesEleanor Taggart
This Is the Life1985TV Series
Matt Houston1983TV SeriesVal
Doctor Detroit1983Thelma Cleland
Hill Street Blues1981TV SeriesJill Thomas
Espionage Tonight2016post-productionSydney Greenstreet
Deaf Ghostpre-productionYonda
Greenleaf2016-2017TV SeriesLady Mae Greenleaf / Mae Greenleaf
Mistresses2015-2016TV SeriesMarjorie
Hit the Floor2014-2016TV SeriesVanessa Howard / Jelena's mother, Vanessa Howard
The North Star2016Miss Grace
Prayer Never Fails2016Loral Hess
Curveball2015Dr. Lane
Chasing Life2015TV SeriesKaren Callahan
Fear Files2015TV MovieMadam Mabry (segment "For the Love of Lockwood Too")
For the Love of Lockwood Too2015TV Mini-SeriesMadame Mabry
How to Get Away with Murder2014-2015TV SeriesMary Walker
Lap Dance2014Momma Pearl
30 Days in Atlanta2014
Family Time2014TV SeriesDonna
The Fright Night Files2014TV MovieMadame Mabry
My Other Mother2014TV MovieMary Jo
Take the Spotlight2014
Blood Lines2014Vivian
For the Love of Lockwood2014TV SeriesMadame Mabry
The Dempsey Sisters2013Olivia Norman
The Last Letter2013Lorraine
And Then There Was You2013Sophia Brent
Act Like You Love Me2013Harriett
King's Faith2013Vanessa
24 Hour Love2013Cynthia
Lonely Boy2013/IDr. Christine Nolan
Training to Be A Superhero2012ShortMiMi Jakes
Are We There Yet?2012TV SeriesMother-in-Law 2012
Redemption of a Dog2012Francine
Somebody's Child2012TV MovieConstance
Battlefield America2012Ms. Parker
Prodigy Bully2012TV MovieAngela Washington
All Things Fall Apart2011Bee
Mama I Want to Sing2011Lillian Winter
Flashforward2009TV SeriesAnastasia Markham
The Rebound2009Laura Reilly
The Women2008/IGlenda Hill
Kings of the Evening2008Gracie
Shark2006TV SeriesAnita Astin
The Cheetah Girls 22006TV MovieDorthea
Confessions2006/IDr. Page
Without a Trace2002-2006TV SeriesPaula Van Doren
Madea's Family Reunion2006Victoria
The Book of Daniel2006TV SeriesElena
Strong Medicine2004TV SeriesDr. Marshall
Redemption: The Stan Tookie Williams Story2004TV MovieBarbara Becnel
The Cheetah Girls2004TV MovieDorothea Garibaldi
The Cheetah Girls2003TV MovieDorothea
Head of State2003Debra Lassiter
Lost in Oz2002TV MovieBellaridere
A Time for Dancing2002Linda
Boston Public2001TV SeriesLouanna Harper
A Girl Thing2001TV MovieNia Morgan
Love Songs1999TV MovieJean Simpson (segment "Love Song for Jean and Ellis, A")
Dangerous Evidence: The Lori Jackson Story1999TV MovieLori Jackson
Deep in My Heart1999TV MovieCorrine Burrell
Stepmom1998Dr. P. Sweikert
The Color of Courage1998TV MovieMinnie McGhee
The Wedding1998TV MovieCorinne Coles
Eve's Bayou1997Roz Batiste
The Planet of Junior Brown1997Mrs. Brown
Gone Fishin'1997Angie
Promised Land1997TV SeriesDr. Serena Hall
Touched by an Angel1997TV SeriesDr. Serena Hall
Martin1997TV SeriesEllen
A Thin Line Between Love and Hate1996Brandi
Sophie & the Moonhanger1996TV MovieSophie
The Cosby Mysteries1994-1995TV SeriesBarbara Lorenz
In the Army Now1994Sgt. Ladd
Thicker Than Blood: The Larry McLinden Story1994TV MovieBobbie Mallory
State of Emergency1994TV MovieDehlia Johnson
The Cosby Mysteries1994TV MovieBarbara Lorenz
Taking the Heat1993TV MovieCarolyn Hunter


Deaf Ghostexecutive producer pre-production
Training to Be A Superhero2012Short producer
Redemption of a Dog2012co-producer


Unsung Hollywood2016TV Series documentaryHerself
Ageism in Hollywood2016TV MovieHerself
Access Hollywood Live2016TV SeriesHerself
Home & Family2016TV SeriesHerself
Hollywood Today Live2016TV SeriesHerself
The View2016TV SeriesHerself
The Real2016TV SeriesHerself
5TH NAFCA: African Oscar2015TV MovieHerself / Nominated / Best Actress in supporting role Diaspora Film
Jimmy Goes to Nollywood2015DocumentaryHerself
Good Day L.A.2013TV SeriesHerself - Guest
The Wendy Williams Show2013TV SeriesHerself - Guest
Kiss and Tell: The History of Black Romance in Movie2012Documentary
Celebrity Close Calls2011TV SeriesHerself
Way Black When: Primetime2011TV SeriesHerself
The Mo'Nique Show2011TV SeriesHerself - Guest
Black Girls Rock2010TV MovieHerself
The 2006 Black Movie Awards2006TV SpecialHerself
37th NAACP Image Awards2006TV SpecialHerself
Tavis Smiley2006TV SeriesHerself - Guest
The Tyra Banks Show2006TV SeriesHerself - Guest
36th NAACP Image Awards2005TV SpecialHerself
HBO First Look2003TV Series documentaryHerself
Biography2002TV Series documentaryHerself
The Daily Show1997-2001TV SeriesHerself - Guest
Intimate Portrait1998-1999TV Series documentaryHerself / Narrator
5th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards1999TV SpecialHerself
30th NAACP Image Awards1999TV SpecialHerself
29th NAACP Image Awards1998TV SpecialHerself
Essence Awards1998TV SpecialHerself - Co-Host
28th NAACP Image Awards1997TV SpecialHerself
27th NAACP Image Awards1996TV SpecialHerself
Saturday Night Special1996TV SeriesHerself
The 17th Annual CableACE Awards1995TV SpecialHerself
The 1995 ESPY Awards1995TV SpecialHerself - Presenter
Late Night with Conan O'Brien1995TV SeriesHerself - Guest
The 16th Annual CableACE Awards1994TV SpecialHerself - Presenter
The 14th Annual CableACE Awards1993TV Special
The 14th Annual American Black Achievement Awards1993TV SpecialHerself
The 49th Annual Golden Globe Awards1992TV SpecialHerself - Nominee: Best Actress in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV
The 43rd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards1991TV SpecialHerself - Winner: Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Special and Presenter
Live with Kelly and Michael1991TV SeriesHerself - Guest
Ebony/Jet Showcase1991TV SeriesHerself
Behind the Scenes with 'Jaws: The Revenge'1987TV Movie documentaryHerself


Won Awards

2005Black ReelBlack Reel AwardsBest Actress, Network/Cable TelevisionRedemption: The Stan Tookie Williams Story (2004)
2005Image AwardImage AwardsOutstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic SpecialRedemption: The Stan Tookie Williams Story (2004)
2005Acting and Activism AwardWomen Film Critics Circle AwardsRedemption: The Stan Tookie Williams Story (2004)
2000Image AwardImage AwardsOutstanding Performance in a Youth or Children's Series/SpecialThe Planet of Junior Brown (1997)
1998Image AwardImage AwardsOutstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama SeriesTouched by an Angel (1994)
1994Image AwardImage AwardsOutstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, Mini-Series or Television MovieI'll Fly Away (1991)
1993Image AwardImage AwardsOutstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, Mini-Series or Television MovieThe Josephine Baker Story (1991)
1991Primetime EmmyPrimetime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a SpecialThe Josephine Baker Story (1991)

Nominated Awards

2013Black ReelBlack Reel AwardsOutstanding Television or Mini-Series Performance, FemaleSomebody's Child (2012)
2006Black Movie AwardBlack Movie AwardsOutstanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting RoleMadea's Family Reunion (2006)
2004BET Comedy AwardBET Comedy AwardsOutstanding Supporting Actress in a Box Office MovieHead of State (2003)
2004Black ReelBlack Reel AwardsTelevision: Best Supporting ActressThe Cheetah Girls (2003)
2004Image AwardImage AwardsOutstanding Performance in a Youth/Children's ProgramThe Cheetah Girls (2003)
2004Vision AwardNAMIC Vision AwardsBest Dramatic PerformanceThe Cheetah Girls (2003)
2000Black ReelBlack Reel AwardsNetwork/Cable - Best ActressLove Songs (1999)
2000Image AwardImage AwardsOutstanding Actress in a Television Movie/Miniseries/Dramatic SpecialDangerous Evidence: The Lori Jackson Story (1999)
1999Image AwardImage AwardsOutstanding Lead Actress in a Television Movie or Mini-SeriesThe Wedding (1998)
1999OFTA Television AwardOnline Film & Television AssociationBest Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture or MiniseriesThe Color of Courage (1998)
1998Image AwardImage AwardsOutstanding Lead Actress in a Motion PictureEve's Bayou (1997)
1992Golden GlobeGolden Globes, USABest Performance by an Actress in a Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for TelevisionThe Josephine Baker Story (1991)
1992CableACECableACE AwardsActress in a Movie or MiniseriesThe Josephine Baker Story (1991)

Source: IMDb, Wikipedia

Benjy is currently a reporter for BiographyPedia based in Adelaide, Australia. Prior to joining BiographyPedia in July 2019, he was a Bizarre TV reporter and theatre critic at TheSun. Benjy has also written for DailyMail and TMZ. Benjy studied journalism at Goldsmiths University of London, graduating in 2009. You can contact him at [email protected].

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