Age, Biography and Wiki

Danitra Vance was an American actress and comedian. She was born on July 13, 1954 in Chicago, Illinois. She was best known for her role as the first African-American female cast member on Saturday Night Live. Vance attended the Goodman School of Drama at DePaul University in Chicago, where she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1976. She then moved to New York City, where she worked as a stand-up comedian and actress. In 1985, Vance became the first African-American female cast member on Saturday Night Live. She was a featured player for one season, appearing in sketches with Eddie Murphy, Billy Crystal, and Joe Piscopo. Vance also appeared in several films, including Jumpin' Jack Flash (1986), The Long Walk Home (1990), and Mo' Money (1992). She also had a recurring role on the television series A Different World. Vance died of breast cancer on August 21, 1994, at the age of 40. She was survived by her husband, actor and director Bill Cwikowski, and their daughter, Danitra Cwikowski.

Popular As N/A
Occupation Comedian, actress
Age 40 years old
Zodiac Sign Cancer
Born 13 July 1954
Birthday 13 July
Birthplace Chicago, Illinois, United States
Date of death 21 August 1994,
Died Place Markham, Illinois, United States
Nationality United States

We recommend you to check the complete list of Famous People born on 13 July. She is a member of famous Comedian with the age 40 years old group.

Danitra Vance Height, Weight & Measurements

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Dating & Relationship status

She is currently single. She is not dating anyone. We don't have much information about She's past relationship and any previous engaged. According to our Database, She has no children.

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Danitra Vance Net Worth

Her net worth has been growing significantly in 2022-2023. So, how much is Danitra Vance worth at the age of 40 years old? Danitra Vance’s income source is mostly from being a successful Comedian. She is from United States. We have estimated Danitra Vance's net worth , money, salary, income, and assets.

Net Worth in 2023 $1 Million - $5 Million
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Net Worth in 2022 Pending
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Source of Income Comedian

Danitra Vance Social Network

Wikipedia Danitra Vance Wikipedia



Diagnosed with breast cancer in 1990, Vance underwent a single mastectomy and incorporated the experience into a solo skit, "The Radical Girl's Guide to Radical Mastectomy". She expanded on her experiences in a second, autobiographical show, titled "Pre-Shrunk" which was to be performed at The Public Theater. However, she was unable to perform as her cancer recurred in 1993. She died of the disease the following year in Markham, Illinois. She requested her funeral be held at an amusement park, and her family threw her a "going-away party" with apple bobbing and bean bag tossing to respect her wishes. She was survived by her partner, Jones Miller.


In 1989, Vance was diagnosed with breast cancer. She performed several works through remission and recurrence until her death in 1994. Before her death, she requested her family host her services at an amusement park.


Vance appeared on SNL during a time of great transition for the show outside her roles, while she herself became frustrated over being put into roles that were stereotypically associated with young, black women: such as waitresses; nurses; secretaries; unwed, welfare-dependent mothers (her recurring character, Cabrini Green Jackson, easily fell into this category); and "mammy"-style maids/house slaves in Civil War-based sketches. The last type of role was made evident during the episode hosted by Oprah Winfrey in spring of 1986 where in the cold opening, Vance played Lorne Michaels' personal slave (supposedly as Celie from the movie The Color Purple) who convinces Michaels to force Oprah into performing stereotypically black roles by beating her, only to have Oprah choke Lorne in a headlock while opening the show with its opening line, "Live from New York, it's Saturday Night!" In a short musical sketch on the same episode, Vance sang "I Play The Maids" (a spin on "I Write the Songs"), a satirical song that expressed frustration over black actresses (and herself) being typecast as maids in films and on television shows. Ironically, one of Danitra Vance's celebrity impersonations was of Cicely Tyson (in The Pee Wee Herman Thanksgiving Special sketch), who avoided film or TV roles that stereotyped black women, and, during her hosting stint on the fourth season (1978–1979), was shocked and disgusted that Garrett Morris was put in lesser roles on the show.

Vance ultimately was let go SNL at the end of the 1986 season along with many other cast members from that season who were dismissed, including Joan Cusack, Robert Downey Jr., Randy Quaid, Anthony Michael Hall, and Terry Sweeney, the other first LGBT member of the SNL cast.

She was awarded an NAACP Image Award in 1986 and later won an Obie Award for Distinguished Performance by an Actress for her performance in the theatrical adaptation of Spunk, a collection of short stories written by Zora Neale Hurston. That same year, Vance was also in the original cast of George C. Wolfe's The Colored Museum; she would go on to reprise some of her performances therein for a 1991 Great Performances restaging of the play.


Vance was the first African American woman to become an SNL repertory player in 1985 (not to be confused with Yvonne Hudson from season six, who first appeared as a recurring extra for season four (1978–1979) and season five (1979–1980) and was hired as a feature player in 1981), the only SNL cast member to have a learning disability, and was the first lesbian cast member hired (though her sexual orientation never became public knowledge until her death). Her casting alongside Terry Sweeney was also the first time that Saturday Night Live had two LGBTQ+ cast members (as Sweeney was the show's first openly gay male cast member). She is best remembered for the sketch "That Black Girl," (a spoof of the 1960s sitcom That Girl), and for her character Cabrini Green Harlem Watts Jackson, a teenage mother who dispensed advice on the dos and don'ts of being pregnant. Both were recurring characters during her time on SNL. She had dyslexia and was the only SNL cast member to have a learning disability. According to Al Franken in the book Live from New York: The Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live, she had trouble memorizing lines and reading cue cards, though this was not made apparent in most cases and, in one case, ad-libbing covered it up.


From November 30 – December 11, 1984, Vance mounted the show, "Danitra Vance and the Mell-o White Boys," at La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club. In a review of the piece that ran in the Village Voice, theater critic Alisa Solomon wrote that Vance's comedy "stabs while it entertains, actually causing a physical catch in your laughter, as she undercuts every pose she takes... Beginning with and then undermining stereotypes, Vance creates an unsettling tension among stereotypes, reality, and the conditions that create stereotypes." Among the characters she performed in the show were several that she later developed on Saturday Night Live – including teenaged mother Cabrini Green Jackson and Flotilla Williams (who performs a version of Romeo and Juliet's balcony scene from her fire escape), described as a "ghetto Shakespearean actress".


Vance started her career performing with The Second City improv group before moving to New York City in 1981 with goals of performing only to face direct discrimination and return to the midwest to teach high school in Gary, Indiana, where her students helped inspire characters in her next show. She initially performed the characters in Old Town, Chicago.


Raised in the South Side, Chicago, Vance grew up with her mother, younger sister, and maternal grandparents in a household where telling stories was the main form of entertainment, and graduated from nearby Thornton Township High School in 1972. In high school she was active in theater and was a member of the debate team. She later attended National College of Education before transferring to Roosevelt University in 1975, where she studied playwriting and acting, and graduated with honors. She then moved to London to study at Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art, where she was classically trained in Shakespeare and earned a MFA.


Danitra Vance (July 13, 1954 – August 21, 1994) was an American comedian and actress best known as a cast member on the NBC sketch show Saturday Night Live (SNL) during its eleventh season and for work in feature films like Sticky Fingers (1988), Limit Up (1990) and Jumpin' at the Boneyard (1992). She performed for The Second City, was an "Off-Broadway favorite", and was the first black woman of the primary SNL cast and, along with Terry Sweeney, the first LGBT member, though she was not openly out. Her comedy and theater work featured themes of social issues, including that of being consistently stereotyped during casting. During her career, she received an Obie Award and an NAACP Image Award.