Shari Headley (born July 15, 1964) is an American actress. She is best known for her role as Lisa McDowell in the 1988 box-office hit romantic comedy film, Coming to America. Headley also has appeared in films The Preacher's Wife (1996) and Johnson Family Vacation (2004).

On television, Headley starred as Det. Mimi Reed in the ABC daytime soap opera, All My Children on regular basic from 1991 to 1994. As lead actress, she starred in the Fox short-lived drama series, 413 Hope St. (1997-1998), for which she received NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series nomination. In 2014, Headley began starring as villainous Jennifer Sallison in the Oprah Winfrey Network primetime soap opera, The Haves and the Have Nots.


Headley made her acting debut appearing in an episode of NBC sitcom The Cosby Show in 1985. Headley later has appeared on Miami Vice, Quantum Leap, and Matlock. In 1988, she was cast in the female leading role opposite Eddie Murphy in the romantic comedy film, Coming to America. The film was a box-office success grossing worldwide total of $288,752,301. The following year, Headley had starring role alongside Louis Gossett, Jr. in the short-lived ABC drama series, Gideon Oliver. Later that year, she co-starred in the Kojak television film series.

In 1991, Headley joined the cast of ABC daytime soap opera, All My Children playing police officer Mimi Reed. At the 25th NAACP Image Awards, she received NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Daytime Drama Series nomination, but lost award to Victoria Rowell. She was regular on All My Children from 1991 to 1994, and returned to series in 1995 and 2005. After leaving the soap, she guest-starred on New York Undercover, Walker, Texas Ranger, and Cosby. In 1996, she had supporting role in the comedy-drama film The Preacher's Wife directed by Penny Marshall. In 1997, Headley has landed a leading role in the short-lived FOX drama series, 413 Hope St. alongside Richard Roundtree. The series was cancelled after only ten episodes, but Headley received NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series nomination for her performance.

In early 2000s, Headley returned to daytime television playing the recurring roles on Guiding Light (2001-2002) and The Bold and the Beautiful (2004-2005). In 2004, she played Mack Johnson's (portrayed by Steve Harvey) wife Jacqueline in the comedy film, Johnson Family Vacation. In 2007, she appeared in the comedy-drama film Towelhead. She also had guest starring roles on Veronica Mars, House, Castle, and Switched at Birth. In 2014, she joined the cast of Oprah Winfrey Network primetime soap opera, The Haves and the Have Nots created by Tyler Perry, playing District Attorney Jennifer Sallison. She was promoted to series regular as of fourth season.

Personal life

Headley was born in Queens, New York, the youngest of four children. She was married to rapper/actor Christopher "Play" Martin from May 1993 until they divorced in June 1995. In April 1994, Headley gave birth to their son, Skyler Martin.



1988Coming to AmericaLisa McDowell
1989Kojak: ArianaTrish Van HoganTelevision film
1990Kojak: None So BlindTrish Van HoganTelevision film
1996The Preacher's WifeArlene Chattan
1997A Woman Like ThatHerself
2004Johnson Family VacationJacqueline Johnson
2007TowelheadMrs. Bradley
2008Belly 2: Millionaire Boyz ClubAlexisDirect-to-video
2013Act Like You Love MeTianna
2014The CongregationMaple


1985The Cosby ShowExpectant MotherTwo episodes (NBC)
1986Miami ViceCindySeason 2 Episode 17, "French Twist" (NBC)
1989Gideon OliverZina OliverThree episodes (ABC)
1990Quantum LeapViolet WaltersSeason 2 Episode 16, "Pool Hall Blues" (NBC)
1990MatlockCarla RoyceSeason 5 Episode 9, "The Cover Girl" (NBC)
1991–1994; 1995; 2005All My ChildrenDet. Mimi Reed(ABC)
1995New York UndercoverLeanneSeason 2 Episode 4, "Brotherhood" (Fox)
1996Walker, Texas RangerVanessa St. JohnSeason 4 Episode 20, "Behind the Badge" (CBS)
1996CosbyNude ModelSeason 1 Episodes 9, "No Nudes Is Good Nudes" (CBS)
1997–1998413 Hope St.Juanita BarnesTen episodes (Fox)
1998Love Boat: The Next WaveBarbaraSeason 1 Episode 1, "Smooth Sailing" (UPN)
1998Getting PersonalFake RobynSeason 1 Episode 9, "Bring in 'Da Milo, Bring in 'Da Robyn" (Fox)
1998Malcolm & EddieVeronicaSeason 3 Episode 4, "Twisted Sisters" (UPN)
1998For Your LoveMayaSeason 2 Episode 6, "The Sister Act" (WB)
1999The Wayans Bros.DawnTwo episodes (WB)
2001–2002The Guiding LightFelicia BoudreauOne episode (CBS)
2003Half & HalfBarbaraSeason 2 Episode 10, "The Big Bitter Baby Shower Episode" (UPN)
2004One on OnePamelaSeason 3 Episode 19, "Sleepless in Baltimore" (UPN)
2004–2005The Bold and the BeautifulHeather EngleSeven episodes, (CBS)
2005Veronica MarsVanessa HamiltonSeason 1 episode 13, "Lord of the Bling" (UPN)
2005House M.D.Dr. Arlene MarksSeason 1 Episode 19, "Kids" (Fox)
2009CastleNicole CameronSeason 2 Episode 9, "Love Me Dead" (ABC)
201010 Things I Hate About YouMarchelineSeason 1 Episode 15, "The Winner Takes It All" (ABC Family)
2011White CollarIsabel WilsonSeason 3 Episode 8, "As You Were" (USA)
2014Love That GirlMaxineSeason 4 Episode 25, "Gullible Is as Gullible Does" (TV One)
2014–2016The Haves and the Have NotsJennifer Sallison (D.A.)

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