Born in Chicago, Sherri Shepherd worked as a secretary before launching her comedy career. Her first big break came in 1995 with the sitcom Cleghorne!. She later landed recurring roles on such shows as Everybody Loves Raymond. After a few short-lived sitcoms, Shepherd appeared on Less Than Perfect in 2002. In 2007, she became a star of daytime television as the new co-host of The View, for which she won an Emmy in 2009. Her tenure on the show's panel lasted until 2014. She continues to act in television and films.
Known for her warm personality and sense of humor, Sherri Shepherd has found success on television, in movies and on the stage. She worked as an actress and a stand-up comic for years before becoming one of the hosts of the hit daytime talk show The View.
Shepherd grew up in and near Chicago and faced some challenges during her school years. "My dad worked two jobs and moved us to the suburbs, and just being a black person, I went through a lot of racism and being called names and being bullied every single day," Shepherd told People magazine. She eventually discovered that she could disarm her bullies by making them laugh.
For Shepherd, her professional turning point came after watching comedian Andrew Dice Clay perform. She had been working as a secretary at the time, and she decided then to pursue a career in stand-up comedy. For a while, Shepherd worked at a law firm during the day and appeared in clubs at night. She landed her first television role in 1995 on the short-lived sitcom Cleghorne! starring Saturday Night Live alum Ellen Cleghorne. After six months on the air, the show was cancelled. Shepherd eventually went back to working as a legal secretary until her next big break.
Shepherd returned to the small screen with recurring roles on Everybody Loves Raymond and The Jamie Foxx Show. In 1999, she joined the cast of Suddenly Susan, starring Brooke Shields, for its final season. Shepherd also appeared in the 2000-2001 culinary sitcom Emeril with famous chef Emeril Lagasse, which proved to be a commercial and critical dud. She had much better luck with Less Than Perfect, an office sitcom featuring Sara Rue, Zachary Levi and Andy Dick. The show ran from 2002 to 2006.
In 2007, Shepherd's career reached new heights when she joined the talk show The View as a co-host, taking over the spot vacated by Star Jones alongside Barbara Walters, Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar and Elisabeth Hasselbeck. Shepherd has shared her life experiences with the audience, including her personal struggles with her weight and diabetes. She is a devout Christian, and her opinions often reflect her deep commitment to her faith. Shepherd has debated with her co-hosts over such topics as evolution. No matter what the topic, however, she presents her views with sincerity and humor. In 2009, Shepherd and her co-hosts won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Talk Show Host. She left the show in 2014.
While on The View, Shepherd found time to work on numerous other projects. She offered advice in the 2009 tome Permission Slips: Every Woman's Guide to Giving Herself a Break and had her own sitcom Sherri on the Lifetime network that same year. Shepherd also appeared on 30 Rock, Entourage and Hot in Cleveland. On the big screen, Shepherd landed supporting roles in a range of films, from the 2009 drama Precious to the 2012 action comedy One for the Money. Also in 2012, Shepherd signed on for Dancing With the Stars. She competed against actor Jaleel White, singer Gladys Knight and actress Melissa Gilbert, among others.
Other television series she's appeared in recent years include How I Met Your Mother, The Soul Man, K.C. Undercover, Rosewood, as well as the films Top Five (2014), Woodlawn (2015) and Ride Along 2 (2016).
Shepherd married television writer Lamar Sally in 2011 and their nuptials were featured on the television special Wedding Fabulous: Sherri Shepherd Gets Married. Television personality Niecy Nash served as one of her bridesmaids, as did Elisabeth Hasselbeck, one of Shepherd's co-hosts from The View. She has a son, Jeffrey, from her first marriage to comedian Jeff Tarpley.
After three years of marriage, Sherri and Sally split, and an acrimonious divorce and bitter custody battle soon followed. Prior to the split, they planned to have a baby via a surrogate mother with Sally's sperm and a donated egg. Lamar Sally, Jr. was born in 2014 and lives with Sally. Shepherd fought to remove her name from the baby's birth certificate, but her efforts failed. Reportedly a settlement was reached in 2015 with Shepherd agreeing to pay monthly child support and still be allowed to pursue a fraud claim against Sally, which may relieve her of the child support obligation should that case be resolved in her favor.
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