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Greg Fisher

Greg Fisher

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Gail Fisher was an award-winning actress whose barrier-breaking career has been unfortunately overlooked. The former model was the first African American to perform dialogue on a national TV commercial--an early 1960s spot for All laundry detergent. Although her beauty helped kickstart her career, Fisher didn't simply rely on her looks. Growing up poor in Edison, New Jersey, she worked in a factory and skipped meals to save enough money pay for acting lessons. Eventually, she studied with acting guru, Lee Strasberg, before working at the Repertory Theater with famed film and stage director, Elia Kazan ("A Streetcar Named Desire," "On the Waterfront"). In 1970, with her portrayal of secretary Peggy Fair on "Mannix," Fisher became the first African American to win an acting-related Emmy Award. During her seven seasons on the popular and violent detective show, Fisher earned two Golden Globes and received three more Emmy nominations. Unfortunately, Fisher struggled after "Mannix"'s 1975 cancellation. Before her death in 2000, the actress battled drug problems, landed few roles, and lived off residuals from the show that had brought her success.

Gail Fisher was an award-winning actress whose barrier-breaking career has been unfortunately overlooked. The former model was the first African American to perform dialogue on a national TV commercial--an early 1960s spot for All laundry detergent. Although her beauty helped kickstart her career, Fisher didn't simply rely on her looks. Growing up poor in Edison, New Jersey, she worked in a factory and skipped meals to save enough money pay for acting lessons. Eventually, she studied with acting guru, Lee Strasberg, before working at the Repertory Theater with famed film and stage director, Elia Kazan ("A Streetcar Named Desire," "On the Waterfront"). In 1970, with her portrayal of secretary Peggy Fair on "Mannix," Fisher became the first African American to win an acting-related Emmy Award. During her seven seasons on the popular and violent detective show, Fisher earned two Golden Globes and received three more Emmy nominations. Unfortunately, Fisher struggled after "Mannix"'s 1975 cancellation. Before her death in 2000, the actress battled drug problems, landed few roles, and lived off residuals from the show that had brought her success.

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