Birth Date: July 12 1959
Birth Place: N/A
Rolonda Watts was born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Rolonda attributes her tenacity and faith to her parents, Roland and Velma Watts. The two educators were strict disciplinarians who always stressed the importance of a positive attitude and a good education. Her Dad, who she was named after, is a highly acclaimed woodcutter and the retired Chairman of Winston-Salem State University's Fine Arts Department. Rolonda's Mom, Dr. Velma Gibson Watts, recently retired as Associate Dean at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine. Rolonda's younger brother, Brett, is a writer in Florida.
Rolonda spent her teenage years at Salem Academy, an all-girls college preparatory school founded by the Moravians in 1772. She was the only Black student during her four years there, where she also studied in Five European countries. She was voted President of the school's Glee Club, which sang at the White House. She also won the “I Dare You” Award for exhibiting courage during challenging times.
It was also at Salem Academy that Rolonda fell in love with the stage, landing lead roles in both school and community productions. Her senior yearbook quote: “Ya'll, I'm going to be famous one day, and I promise I won't forget my friends.”
At Spelman College, Rolonda double- majored in Theatre Arts and English, following her parents' advice to always have a back-up plan. She landed lead roles in college musicals, including “Miss Adelaide” in “Guys and Dolls” and “Sally Bowles” in “Cabaret.”
Rolonda's fascination for journalism was also growing as she served as the Editor-in- Chief of the school's newspaper, “The Spelman Spotlight.” After graduating in three years, Magna Cum Laude, Rolonda headed for New York City and Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism where she earned her Master of Science degree. She also served as President of Sigma Delta Chi, the national journalists' society.
Faced with life's proverbial fork in the road, and a lack of acting opportunities in television for minorities, Rolonda decided to go for a career in news. She began as a general assignment reporter at WFMY-TV (CBS) in Greensboro, NC. Her special reports, including one where a member of the Hell's Angels shot at her helicopter, caught the attention of New Jersey Nightly News, which hired her as an investigative reporter and anchorwoman.
Rolonda later moved to WNBC-TV in New York as a reporter and local morning news anchor for “The Today Show.” She received an Emmy nomination for her live spot news coverage of a deadly train crash. Rolonda also negotiated a hostage situation.
Rolonda then moved to WABC-TV, where she anchored, reported, and also moderated “Eyewitness News Conference,” the station's weekly political forum.
She then left local news to try out her gift of gab nationally. Hosting the talk show, "Attitudes,” for Lifetime Television, Rolonda received the Cable Ace nomination for "Best Talk Show.”
Rolonda hit the television news magazine scene as Senior Correspondent, Weekend Anchor, and Producer for "Inside Edition.” Her investigations covered the world, including her special report on “Teenage Alcoholism in Iceland.” It was then that King World asked Rolonda to try hosting a show of her own.
Most viewers know Rolonda from “The Rolonda Show” (King World/Watts Works). The internationally syndicated talker ran for four successful seasons. When it was over, Rolonda decided to take a chance and go for her life-long dreams of acting, writing, producing, and living a more creative life in Los Angeles. Change has proven to be good for “Ro.”
Her big Hollywood break came in a recurring role on “Sister/Sister,” (WB), as the vivacious vixen “Vivica Shaw.” She would go on to show off both her comedic and dramatic talents guest starring in many other television shows.
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