She was first known as "Jaleesa Vinson" on A DIFFERENT WORLD, then as "Robin" on HANGIN' WITH MR. COOPER, and later as a recurring character on HBO's DREAM ON! and the LIFETIME CHANNEL program ANY DAY NOW. Her movie fans remember her from Keenan Ivory Wayan's I'M GONNA GET YOU SUCKA. Music peers know she is the co-writer of the theme song for A DIFFERENT WORLD, as well as the composer of songs for artists such as jazz great, Grover Washington Jr. and legend Nancy Wilson. Studio Execs now credit her as a "creator/producer", since she did just that when she created & produced a series pilot for ABC. It was an hour-long action drama entitled BLACK JAQ. Forest Whitaker was Director/Exec Producer, and it starred Nia Long, Bill Duke, Dyan Cannon & Malik Yoba.
She also starred in the NBC 10 hour mini-series event THE 10th KINGDOM co-starring John Larroquette, Diane Weist, Rutger Hauer, and Kimberly Williams. Dawnn was also seen in the HBO World Premiere movie UNDER PRESSURE, a psychological thriller co-starring with Charlie Sheen, Mare Winningham and John Ratzenberger. Prior to that she starred with Sinbad in the HBO Original western-comedy THE CHEROKEE KID, as "Stagecoach Mary", the stogie smoking, bank robbing, stagecoach driving lady of the west.
With her roots firmly planted on the theatrical stage, Dawnn wowed audiences as "Angelique" in THE MARRIAGE; directed by Ted Lange. Her portrayal of a woman suffering from paranoid schizophrenia was so moving it garnered a coveted NAACP Theatre award for Best Lead Actress in a Play 2000. You also would have seen her as Smitty" in HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING starring Matthew Broderick, had audiences captivated in the Mark Taper Forum's THE STREET OF THE SUN, and completely charmed by her sassy & sultry portrayal of "Pistache" in CAN CAN!.
She just finished recording for the soon to be released Universal Pictures film BRAER RABBIT, which will also feature the voice talents of Nick Cannon & Wanda Sykes. She's having great fun doing a range of voices for several animated TV series including, FUTURAMA, KING OF THE HILL, C. BEAR & JAMAL with Tone Loc, BRUNO THE KID with Bruce Willis, MORTAL KOMBAT, SPIDER MAN, SPY DOGS, CHARLOTTES WEB II, HEAVY GEAR and the Disney Feature film WHISPERS & CHARLOTTES WEB II. Internet animated series include: UNDERCOVER BROTHER, SUPERMODELS & SISTAHS IN THE CITY. Wells Fargo Bank, and Allstate Insurance are two of her biggest "voice-over" contracts.
As a singer and songwriter, Dawnn has been honored with: an ASCAP award and four BMI honors for Best Song; a Grammy for singing on "Handel’s Messiah: A Soulful Celebration"; a Gold record for her vocal performance on the Take 6 album, "So Much To Say", as well as one for co-writing "Your Love" on Grover Washington JR's album "Next Exit".
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