Hattie Mae Winston (born March 3, 1945) is an American television, film and Broadway actress best known for her role as Margaret on Becker and as a prominent cast member of the PBS children's series The Electric Company.
Winston was born in Lexington, Mississippi, and raised in Greenville, Mississippi, where she attended local schools, which were segregated at the time. Leaving the South, she began her career onstage in New York City. Winston starred in the Broadway hit The Tap Dance Kid; she also appeared on Broadway in Two Gentlemen of Verona, I Love My Wife, and The Me Nobody Knows. She was a member of the Negro Ensemble Company.
The Electric Company
In her 20s, Winston rose to prominence during the mid-1970s as a member of the cast of the PBS children's series The Electric Company, produced by the Children's Television Workshop. Her most notable character was Valerie the Librarian, who was best friends with Easy Reader (portrayed by Morgan Freeman). She also played many villainess roles versus Spider-Man on the Spidey Super Stories sketches, such as the Fox, the Thumper, the Queen Bee, and the Queen of Diamonds. Winston joined the series during the third season (1973–1974), replacing Lee Chamberlin. She remained with the series until its cancellation in 1977.
Between 1981 and 1982 Winston starred in the CBS TV series Nurse. In 1990 she starred in Home Video Sesame Street Visits The Hospital as Nurse Flowers. In 1991, Winston starred on the critically acclaimed television show Homefront (1991–1993). In 1998, Winston landed the role of Margaret on the CBS sitcom Becker (1998–2004).
Winston voiced Lucy Carmichael for The Rugrats Movie. Since then she has gone on to voice the character again for the Nickelodeon TV series, All Grown Up!, which is a spin-off from the original Rugrats series.
She has guest-starred on Scrubs and Smart Guy. In 1988 she appeared in Clara's Heart along with Whoopi Goldberg & Neil Patrick Harris. In 1997, Winston portrayed Simone in the Quentin Tarantino crime drama film Jackie Brown (1998). In 1998, Winston had a small role with Clint Eastwood in True Crime.
She is married to Harold Wheeler, a composer and orchestrator. They have a daughter Samantha. He has been the musical director of Dancing with the Stars. He has been nominated for a Tony award.