Veronica Redd is remembered for more than her dramatic run as Mamie Johnson, the role she recently reprised on The Young and the Restless. The actress recently chatted with Soap Hub about another memorable role she played on TV for one episode. Her other noteworthy part was for iconic producer/writer Norman Lear, who created The Jeffersons, which starred Isabel Sanford and Sherman Helmsley as Louise and George Jefferson.
Veronica Redd: Timely Topic
In 1977, Veronica Redd was cast as Edie Stokes, George’s former military (AKA Eddie), who was transgender. Her appearance in The Jeffersons episode titled Once A Friend was Redd’s first primetime guest spot.
“After leaving Juilliard, doing my first union show [on] off-Broadway and being hand-picked by the famous French impresario Bruno Coquatrix to appear at L’Olympia, at the age of 21, I returned to New York City to pay my dues in pursuit of an acting career,” Redd recalls. Later, the actress relocated to the Los Angeles area.
Moving to the West Coast
“With a Drama Desk Award in hand, I arrived in Hollywood in 1976 with a few national commercials under my belt and a whole lot more hope than those early days of television were willing to hand over,” the actress shares. “Even the most iconic black television projects of the day seemed to elude me, and I was nearly at my wit’s end when the role of George’s ex-Navy buddy — transgendered and gorgeous — transfixed and inspired the entire television community and generations of LGBTQ viewers to come.”
Redd says producers of The Jeffersons cast her as Edie/Eddie Stokes. The episode dealt with George’s reaction to the fact that Eddie was more comfortable living as a woman.
Veronica Redd: Edie’s Legacy
“That range of emotions such a person might be expected to reveal was an actor’s dream come true,” Redd recalls. “Casting agents were chomping at the bit just to meet me after that episode aired, and I pretty much worked as a character actor for several years non-stop. Edie/Eddie was the role that turned the tide for many people beyond myself and seems to continue inspiring courage and agency in many who watch it in its various reiterations even today.”
Redd is grateful to have played two different roles — Mamie and Edie — that are well-remembered by TV viewers. “I always wanted my work to inspire the accomplishments of others,” she says. “Wouldn’t it be wondrous should that role of Edie Stokes and the continuing role of Y&R’s Mamie Johnson be the gifts that keep on giving my career momentum and longevity? Isn’t life wonderful? Isn’t it grand?”