Original name, Nell Hardy; born September 13, 1948, in Birmingham, AL; died of complications from diabetes, January 23, 2003, in Beverly Hills, CA. Actress and singer. An award-winning musical stage performer, Carter was best knownfor her starring role as a housekeeper in the 1980s television series Gimme a Break. Carter made her stage debut in 1970 in Soon. She then appeared in Don't Bother Me, I Can't Cope before her breakthrough performance in 1977 in the Broadway musical Ain't Misbehavin'. For her work inAin't Misbehavin' Carter won an Antoinette Perry Award in 1978, as well as an OBIE Award, a Theatre World Award, and a Drama Desk Award. After appearing in such television series as Ryan's Hope in 1975 and Lobo from 1980 to 1981, the heavyset Carter landed the role of a singer-turned-housekeeper in the NBC comedy series Gimme a Break, which airedfrom 1981 to 1987. Also in 1981 Carter appeared in the television version ofAin't Misbehavin', a performance that garnered her an Emmy Award in 1982. Carter continued to work in television, including appearances in the television series You Take the Kids in 1990, a recurring role in Hangin' with Mr. Cooper in the early 1990s, and a regular role in the game show The Match Game in 1998. She also appeared in a number of televisionspecials, such as Baryshnikov on Broadway in 1980 and Evening at the Pops in 1987, and television movies, including Cindy in 1978 andFinal Shot: The Hank Gathers Story in 1992. Carter had some small roles in feature films, including Hair, The Grass Harp, and Fakin' da Funk. After undergoing brain surgery to remove an aneurysm in 1992, Carter focused primarily on the stage. From 1996 to 1997 Carter toured withthe musical Annie, and in 2001 she starred in a nightclub act in NewYork City. Carter was in rehearsals for Raisin, a musical version of Raisin in the Sun, at the time of her death.