Profile Image of Vanessa Bell Calloway

Vanessa Bell Calloway


Vanessa Bell Calloway is an American actress and dancer. She is known for her film roles as Princess Imani Izzi in the 1988 comedy Coming to America, as well as for her roles in What's Love Got to Do with It, The Inkwell, Crimson Tide, and Daylight. She is a nine-time NAACP Image Award nominee. She began her acting career in the ABC daytime soap opera, All My Children in 1985. After moving to Los Angeles in 1986, she began appearing in episodes of prime time shows such as The Colbys, Falcon Crest, 227, China Beach, A Different World, and L.A. Law. She made her film debut on Number One with a Bullet (1987), before supporting role of Eddie Murphy's character's arranged wife in the 1988 comedy Coming to America. In 1990, she co-starred alongside Joe Morton in the ABC drama series, Equal Justice. During the 1990s, she had a number of supporting roles in films, including What's Love Got to Do with It (1993) opposite Angela Bassett, The Inkwell (1994), and Crimson Tide (1995) as Denzel Washington's character wife. She also voiced main role in the 1992 animated comedy, Bébé's Kids. She had a number of leading and supporting roles in made for television movies. In 1995, she co-starred opposite James Earl Jones and Joe Morton in the short-lived CBS prime time soap opera, Under One Roof, the first drama series that featured African-American lead characters. For her role on the series, Calloway was nominated for the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series. She had leading roles on the short-lived NBC sitcom Rhythm & Blues (1992–93), and starred alongside Larry Hagman as his girlfriend in the CBS drama Orleans (1997). In the 2000s, she had recurring roles on Boston Public and The District. She co-starred in films including The Brothers, All About You, Dawg, Biker Boyz, Love Don't Cost a Thing, and Cheaper by the Dozen. She has guest starred on The Division, Strong Medicine, The Closer, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Dexter, Rizzoli & Isles, Castle, and Grey's Anatomy. From 2010 to 2011, she had the recurring role in the TNT medical drama, Hawthorne. In 2011, she began appearing in the Showtime comedy-drama, Shameless. In 2016, she was cast as lead character in the Bounce TV first prime time soap opera, Saints & Sinners. Also in 2016, she co-starred as president Obama's future mother-in-law, Marian Shields Robinson, and in the comedy-drama film Southside with You. In 2018, she appeared in the Christian drama film Unbroken: Path to Redemption and the crime thriller Dragged Across Concrete. In 2019, she played abolitionist Harriet Tubman's mother in the biographical drama film Harriet. She reprised her role as Imani Izzi in the 2021 sequel Coming 2 America.