Yvette Nicole Brown Biography

Yvette Nicole Brown, best known for her roles as Shirley Bennett on Community and Helen Dubois on Drake & Josh, was born in East Cleveland, Ohio, on August 12,  1971. In her life, the actress has taken a grand total of two acting classes – one in college at the Univeristy of Akron (where she was a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority), and one after moving to Hollywood.

Yvette Nicole Brown On ‘Drake & Josh,’ ‘Girlfriends’

Brown was cast in her first television role as Sherri Childs on Girlfriends – a two-episode job that she got with no acting credits or agent – in 2003. The next year, she booked a role as a series regular for the pilot of a new ABC series The Big House, which only lasted six episodes. During a hiatus from the show, Brown earned a one-time role on the Nickelodeon series Drake & Josh, which turned into 15 episodes over the course of four years. In between appearances on the show and after, Brown has appeared on dozens of other television programs, including The Office, That’s So Raven, Boston Legal and Victorious.

Yvette Nicole Brown On ‘Community,’ Dan Harmon

In 2009, Brown was cast in a regular role on a new NBC comedy Community alongside Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs and Donald Glover. Her character, Shirley, is known as a judgmental person, but Brown clarified to Uinterview exclusively that that characteristic marks a major difference between Shirley and herself. “I am not judgmental at all. The Bible says, ‘Judge not lest ye be judged.’ I don’t want anybody looking into my life and finding anything, so no, I do not judge the way Shirley does,” Brown said. “She’s been fun to play, though, because she’s learning. She’s learning how to be a better person, and I think that’s what life is about. I really have a soft spot in my heart for her.”

Community creator Dan Harmon was fired after the show’s third season in 2012. In 2013, he was rehired as a showrunner for the program’s fifth season. After returning to Community, despite his disparaging remarks about the fourth season of the show, Brown urged forgiveness rather than judgment. “He speaks his mind, and if he says something that hurts someone, or upsets someone, no one apologizes quicker than he does, which is exactly what he did,” Brown told Uinterview. “I think he’s perfect in his humanity. That’s who he is, and I adore him, and we’re so happy to have him back.”

Yvette Nicole Brown In ‘Percy Jackson’

In 2013, Brown appeared in the fantasy-action film Percy Jackson: Sea Of Monsters as one of the Gray sisters – a witch. For the role, she underwent several hours of makeup before she even began shooting her scenes. “The makeup was seven hours of application and about two or three hours of removal and then right in the middle was seven or eight hours of work in the makeup,” Brown told Uinterview. “It was a lot of work, but very rewarding. When I saw the film and saw how grizzled and crazy we looked, and we even have eyes, it was so worth it. It was really, really worth it.”

Yvette Nicole Brown On ‘Pound Puppies,’ Voice Acting

Though Brown is best known for her on-screen roles, she is also known as a voice actor on the HUB Channel cartoon program Pound Puppies since 2010, along with big names Betty White and Eric McCormack. As a voice actor, she’s found some challenges that being on-camera hasn’t given her. “The biggest struggle for me on Pound Puppies is that I realized I can’t use my face, it’s voice,” Brown told Uinterview. “So I had to learn how to sound authoritative without having the benefit of being able to raise an eyebrow or squint, or do something I normally do as an actor to convey how I’m feeling.

Brown has appeared in dozens of smaller guest roles throughout the years. Some film roles include Little Black Book, Dreamgirls, and Tropic Thunder. She has also appeared in a number of commercials, including ones for Digiorno Pizza, Citibank and Shout.

She starred as Dani in the 2015 version of The Odd Couple on CBS and Dina Rose in the ABC sitcom The Mayor

In 2021, Brown received a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for her role in A Black Lady Sketch Show.

She has hosted a Syfy cosplay series Cosplay Melee and has been a guest on Talking Dead multiple times. 

She has also cohosted talk shows including The View, The Talk and The Real.

On September 30, 2014 she announced she would be leaving Community to take care of her sick father. 

In 2012, she appeared as a celebrity contestant on The Pyramid with her costar Danny Pudi. 

In 2019, Brown wrote a rom-com titled Always a Bridesmaid.

Brown endorsed and campaigned for Elizabeth Warren in the 2020 Democratic Party presidential primaries.

Brown serves on the Screen Actors Guild- American Federation of TV and Radio Artists 2019-2021 National Board.

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