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July 18, 2005

Chicago Honors Irma P. Hall

Mayor Richard M. Daley and the Chicago City Council declared June 3, 2005 Irma P. Hall Day in honor of the Equity member's 70th birthday. There was a gala celebration, including speeches, a musical tribute and the unveiling of a street sign renaming a portion of Halsted Street as Irma P. Hall Way.

Irma P. Hall

Irma P. Hall

Although she grew up in Chicago, Irma P. Hall was born in Texas and taught in Dallas for almost 30 years. She also was a reporter for the Dallas Express and co-founder of The Dallas Minority Repertory Theatre.

In 1973, Irma, a 36 year old teacher and mother of two, was reciting one of her poems at a gathering of artists and writers and was seen by writer/producer Raymond St. Jacques, who asked her to audition for a role in a film he was producing. She did--and she got the part. But she didn't give up her teaching career yet.

By 1978, however, she was appearing on TV's Dallas; in several TV movies and feature films, and performing on stage at Dallas theatres. Finally, she decided to stop teaching and pursue acting full time, joining Equity in 1975.

In the late '80s, she moved back to Chicago, where she performed at the Chicago Theatre Company, the Court Theatre, Goodman Theatre and with the Steppenwolf Theatre Company, as well as in films.

Irma P. Hall

Irma P. Hall Way

In 1996, Irma won the Chicago Film Critics Award for "Best Supporting Actress" for her role in the film, A Family Thing. Two years later she won an NAACP Image Award for "Best Supporting Actress" for her work in the film, Soul Food and was again nominated for an Image Award in 2001 when she reprised her role in the Showtime series based on the film.

In January, 2004 Irma was seriously injured in a car crash, but recovered in time to see a private screening of The Ladykillers, starring Tom Hanks, for which she received the coveted Special Jury Award at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival. Her other 2004 films were A Slipping Down Life and Collateral, with Tom Cruise and Jamie Fox. In October 2004, she was recognized for Career Achievement at the 40th Chicago International Film Festival.

In 2005, she was nominated for an NAACP Image Award for "Best Actress" in The Ladykillers; was presented as a Black History Maker by the DuSable Museum in Chicago, and was inducted into the Texas Film Hall of Fame at ceremonies in Austin, Texas. Along the way, she has also received two Joseph Jefferson Awards for her work in Chicago theatre.

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