• 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
FactDaughter of Valerian Smith

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, probably 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 $4 million, as of mid-2024, 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, the eldest of four children, with their father who worked as an officer for a finance agency, while her mother was a dentist. 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 the private Howard University to complete a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts; it’s an historically black university, though is now open to all sexes and races. After graduating, 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 was acclaimed 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 in theatre, Whitfield started to gain more projects on television, making her debut in 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 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”, chosen over hundreds of women who auditioned to portray the cabaret star who would become a French Resistance fighter during World War II; 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 – successful at the box office – 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 – 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.

Most recently, Lynn appeared in “Vacation Friends” (2021) and “The Retirement Plan” (2023), as well as TV series “Fantasy Island” and “The Chi”, both in 2023.

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 divorcing. Her next marriage would be to director Brian Gibson, again short-lived from 1990 to 1992, also ending in divorce; they have daughter Grace together. Since then, there have been no new relationships reported in her life. She lived in the Upper East Side of Manhattan during the 2000s though it’s not known if she continues to reside there.

Similar to numerous actresses, Lynn is highly active online through accounts on social media – on Instagram, her profile states that she’s a Christian, music lover, and traveler, and 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.

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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)

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Source: IMDb, Wikipedia

As a Freelance Writer at Biography Pedia, I oversee the full writing process, from in-depth research to the development of compelling narratives, ensuring accuracy and excellence in our output. Our goal is to produce insightful profiles that deeply explore the lives of prominent figures in business, entertainment, and other fields. Through meticulous research and engaging storytelling, we spotlight the significant journeys and achievements of individuals who captivate and inspire our readers.

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