Wednesday, January 1, 2014

January 1: Singer and Actress, Ren Woods - "Sundays Child," “Roots” & “The Wiz” - is 56-years-old today.

Born in Portland, Oregon, Ren began singing at the age of six. After appearing on NBC's Soul Special at the age of 10, she and two girlfriends formed "Sundays Child." they toured the world, performing the very last tour of duty with Bob Hope in Vietnam. Oscar-winning director Robert Zemeckis chose to include a photograph of that Christmas performance with Ren and Hope in his movie, Forest Gump.

Ren is also known for her roles as Fanta in the Emmy Award winning TV mini-series Roots and her interpretation of “Aquarius” in Milos Foreman’s movie musical Hair. Her performance as Dorothy in the first national Broadway tour of The Wiz, was hailed by critics.

In 1979, Woods released a solo album entitled Out of the Woods, produced by Earth, Wind & Fire member Al McKay. A second album, Azz Izz, was released in 1982. Azz- Izz was well received and featured a new composition by Prince titled "I Don't Wanna Stop."

Ren’s own musical, “Sold’ Ren Woods in Concert, helped establish her as a playwright. Out of 2,000 reviewed,  The Kennedy Center’s Writers Program chose her play as one of 18 to be developed. It began as a one woman show in the Juneteenth Festival and was produced at the Music Center under Gordon Davidson’s tenure.

As a song writer and lyricist, Ren was asked to write a song for the late Robert Altman when he was honored by The Malibu Celebration of Film with The Courage Award. She called it “Ode To Altman” and performed it for him and 150 guests at the Magic Castle 2006.

She was chosen by Bob Iger CEO of Disney as the vocalist for the prestigious Legends Awards Ceremony, inducting Sir Elton John.

Other film credits include: Crazy World, Walker, Juvie, Nine to Five (with Jane Fonda), Jumpin’ Jack Flash (with Whoopi Goldberg), The Jerk, A Perfect Couple, Marshal Law, Xanadu, The Brother From Another Planet, Hair, Car Wash, Youngblood, Beer, and Sparkle.

She has also appeared on American television series including What's Happening!!, Lou Grant, Hill Street Blues, The Jeffersons, Roc, Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, Beauty and the Beast and NYPD Blue. Her most recent role was in the 2008 film The Blue Hour.


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