Gloria Reuben (1964- ) is a Canadian actress. She played Jeanie Boulet on the television show “E.R.” from 1995 to 1999. In 2000 she went on tour with Tina Turner as a backing singer. She has been in films like “Timecop” (1994), “Nick of Time” (1995) and “Feast of All Saints” (2001). Currently in 2009 she plays Roz on “Raising the Bar” on TNT on Monday nights.
On “E.R.” she played the first regular character on television who was HIV-positive. The producers had promised her character would not die. But in 1999, when she got burnt out and told them she was leaving the show, they wanted her character to die. She said no: how would that affect all those viewers who are HIV-positive? She got her way.
She went from playing an HIV-positive character on television to someone who speaks out against Aids. It is, even now, the number one killer in America of black women ages 25 to 34.
Before she became an actress she was a beauty queen and a model. In 1986 she became Miss Black Ontario. Because her father is white (her mother is Jamaican), some said she did not represent the black experience. When asked about that in 2008, she noted that some say that Obama is “not black enough”.
One time when an interviewer kept calling her “African American” she got upset and said she is not African American but Jamaican Canadian.
Modelling led to acting. In 1988 she left Toronto, where she grew up, and went to Los Angeles. She made enough from appearing in television ads, like for Luvs Diapers and Nestle’s Sweet Success, that she could work full-time at becoming an actress.
In 1996 People magazine named her one of the 50 most beautiful people in the world. According to this blog she is the eighth most beautiful black woman in the world.
Even in her 40s she is still beautiful. A man in line at Fedex told her that she looks like a young Gloria Reuben – not knowing that he was talking to Gloria Reuben herself!
It is her eyes mainly that make her beautiful, but her lips, her thick, black hair and cheekbones help too.
Although she is famous as an actress, music is her first love. She started learning to play the piano at age five, joined rock bands when she got older and in time studied music and ballet at the Royal Canadian Conservatory.
She had always wanted to be a singer. So when she met Tina Turner backstage one time and Turner asked her if she wanted to go on tour with her as a dancer and backing singer, she jumped at it. It was one of the greatest experiences of her life. Later she came out with some songs of her own. One of them is a strangely laid-back cover of Chaka Khan’s “Sweet Thing”.
In 1999 she moved back to the East Coast, to New York – she missed the winters! – and got married to television producer Wayne Isaak. She lives there still with her husband. No children as far as I know.