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‘Who Goes to See That Movie?’: Sheryl Lee Ralph Claims a Casting Director Told the Star She Wasn’t Allowed to Kiss This A-List Actor Because of Her Race

Sheryl Lee Ralph claimed during her March 4 appearance on “The View” the rejections she faced in Hollywood early in her career following the success of “Dreamgirls.”

The actress starred in the Broadway rendition of the musical in 1982 alongside Jennifer Holliday and Loretta Devine. “Dreamgirls,” which became an instant hit, went on to win six Tony awards.

Sheryl Lee Ralph said during her recent appearance on “The View” that a casting director once told her her race made her unmarketable for a film project playing opposite a white male lead actor like Tom Cruise. (Photo: The View/YouTube)

In the interview, Ralph shared a “memorable” encounter with a casting director after leaving Broadway to pursue other ventures in the entertainment industry.

She said without revealing the name of the director and the year the incident occurred, “When I left Broadway, going to Hollywood, I had a memorable audition with a big casting director who looked at me and said, ‘Everybody knows you’re a beautiful, talented Black girl, but what do I do with a beautiful, talented Black girl?’”

She added, “[They asked] ‘Do I put you in a movie with Tom Cruise? Do you kiss? Who goes to see that movie?'”

When “The View” co-host Ana Navarro urged the actress to provide more details about the director, including their name, Ralph quickly shut down that response by telling the panel of women it wouldn’t be worth it. The 65-year-old explained that she used that particular moment in her life to navigate her to where she is now.

The “Moesha” star said, “No, why bother? Look at me now! But I left that audition with some of the best ammunition. Everybody knew I was a beautiful, talented Black girl and that I should be in a movie with the likes of Tom Cruise, and he should kiss me!”

Despite that experience, Ralph and Cruise were never placed in project together. Since then, Ralph, who has acted in numerous movies and series, is now starring in ABC’s “Abbott Elementary.”


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