Original ‘Dreamgirl’ Sheryl Lee Ralph Was Kept Away From Beyoncé

Sheryl Lee Ralph at the premiere of "Dreamgirls". Wilshire Theatre, Los Angeles, California, December 11, 2006/ BEYONCE KNOWLES at the Los Angeles premiere of her new movie "Dreamgirls" at the Wilshire Theatre. December 11, 2006 Los Angeles, CA Picture: Paul Smith / Featureflash

Sheryl Lee Ralph was the first actress to portray Deena Jones in the Dreamgirls. She was nominated for a Tony for her performance in the 1981 Broadway hit. In 2005, Beyoncé Knowles reprised the role for the big screen, going on the garner a Golden Globe nomination.

Surely, advice from the original Deena could’ve come in handy, but according to the veteran actress, she wasn’t allowed to interact with the “Listen” singer while she filmed the critically acclaimed picture.

“I didn’t get a chance to because they kept us apart,’ Ralph told AM to DM. “They said — what was said to me — and, you know, I’ve been around long enough to actually remember what was said to me, they said that it would be a distraction to have the two of us together.”

She went on,“What does that mean? So it just never happened, we never came together.”

Although Ralph was kept away from Knowles, fellow original “Dreamgirl” Loretta Divine landed a cameo in the film, playing a lounge singer.

The original Broadway cast was featured on the cover of the May 1982 issue of EBONY.

Newsletter

Sign up for the EBONY Newsletter

By subscribing, you agree to share your email address with EBONY to receive our weekly emails, events, and other updates. Please see our privacy policy for more information.

Newsletter

Sign up for the EBONY Newsletter

When you sign up for the EBONY newsletter, you’ll be the first to know about all the latest news and updates that are important to you. Gain access to exclusive interviews, videos, special events, and product giveaways delivered right to your inbox!

By subscribing, you agree to share your email address with EBONY to receive our weekly emails, events, and other updates. Please see our privacy policy for more information.