One of Jackée Harry‘s most memorable acting roles came from the hit NBC sitcom “227,” which landed her an Emmy award.
In the sitcom, Harry played the role of Sandra Clark, the spicy younger neighbor, and frenemy of a nosy housewife — played by actress Marla Gibbs — living in an apartment building in Washington. The series, also starring a young Regina King, ran for five seasons on the network beginning in 1985.
The 66-year-old actress recently did an interview with “VladTV” on June 11, where she revealed that she once tried to get out of her award-winning role.
She explained that she was splitting her time between filming the soap opera “Another World,” at Astoria Studios in New York and filming “227” in Los Angeles.
Harry said she worked on both shows for a time but hoped to be fired from “227.”
“I was in heaven. It was my biggest job, my foray right into TV. I loved it. I got $450 per show. Ooh that was a lot of money back then. 1981… It was a fabulous time. I enjoyed it thoroughly. I did it for two years,” she recalled. “But then I got ‘227.’ So I did both for while because I thought I’d be fired from ‘227.’”
She continued, “I was hoping I’d be fired, to be honest with you. I wanted to live in New York. I didn’t want to go to L.A.”
Harry said she wanted to stay in New York, where she had begun her career and life.
“No, because I said ‘I’m an actor, I’m dramatic, I’m brilliant.’ And I, you know, I was. I was working a lot. Everything … I had it going on, I had a man, a fiancé. I had a life. And that’s the way New Yorkers feel today,” she said. “It’s like, ‘I don’t want to go out to L.A.,’ because … you have it together. Of course, now with the advent of the internet, you could do both.”
The “Sister, Sister” alum went on to say that it was considered “below level” to be on a television sitcom. “Until I saw that check,” she added. “It definitely changed my life forever.”
Harry only had to audition for the role one time among 300 women before landing the gig. She said she broke down in tears when she learned she got the part and instead of returning to Los Angeles, she went back to New York.
“They made me come back. I wanted to turn it down. Can you believe that? Now, that’s a first,” she revealed. “I never told anybody that, because I didn’t know the importance of it. I really didn’t I didn’t know anything about Black sitcoms.”
The “Human Resources” star added that there weren’t many Black actors on television at the time. She went on to become the first Black actress to win an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for the role in 1987.
Harry noted on Twitter that with Ralph’s Emmy win, her award moment had “come full circle.”
“Winning my Emmy was a career highlight, but it was also a lonely experience. For 35 years I’ve been the only black woman to win Outstanding Supporting Actresses in a Comedy Series,” she wrote at the time. “But that all changes tonight… and it’s come full circle! #Emmys.”
In a separate tweet, Harry also revealed that Ralph almost snagged her role on “227.”