Born in Portland, Maine, Rowell was raised in foster care for eighteen years. Under the auspices of the Ford Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, eight-year-old Rowell received the Ford Foundation scholarship to the Cambridge School of Ballet, where, after eight years of training, she flourished as a dancer, garnering scholarships to both the School of American Ballet and the American Ballet Theatre by age sixteen.
After dancing professionally with the American Ballet Theatre II Company, Ballet Hispanico of New York, Contemporary Ballet, Twyla Tharp Workshop, and The Julliard School of Music Dance Extension Program with Anthony Tudor, Rowell decided to accept guest artist teaching posts in New England. After this experience, the opportunity presented itself for Rowell to pursue a career in modeling. Rowell soon began to grace the pages of Seventeen
, and countless other magazines, before auditioning for her first television role on The Cosby Show
Rowell landed the role of Drucilla Winters on The Young and the Restless in March 1990. During her eight-year run on the daytime drama series, Rowell was honored with a Soap Opera Digest Award in the category of "Outstanding Actress in a Daytime Drama Series" and a Soap Opera Digest Award nomination for "Hottest Female Star in a Daytime Drama Series," and received eleven NAACP Image Awards in the category of "Outstanding Lead Actress in a Daytime Drama Series."
Rowell has also appeared in feature films such as The Distinguished Gentleman
alongside Eddie Murphy, Dumb and Dumber
with Jim Carrey, and Eve's Bayou
with Samuel L. Jackson and Diahann Carroll.
Outside of daytime television, Rowell may be best known for her role as medical examiner Dr. Amanda Bentley on Diagnosis Murder
. Rowell co-starred with the legendary Dick Van Dyke for eight seasons.
Having spent eighteen years in foster care, Rowell became a voice for children like herself. In 1990, she founded the Rowell Foster Children's Positive Plan, which sponsors foster children to study fine arts and sports.
Rowell is an active contributor and/or supporter of Americans for the Arts, the Ford Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, American Ballet Theatre, School of American Ballet, the Urban League, the NAACP, the Administration of Children's Services, NYV, New Yorkers for Children, the Alliance for Children's Rights, the Children's Defense Fund, Hope Worldwide, and the Department of Children and Family Services in various states.
All of Us
Deborah Cooper, in "He's Got Game"
Polly and Marie
A Town Without Pity
Dr. Amanda Bentley
Dr. Amanda Bentley
Feast of All Saints
Ms. Wilkes, in "Moving On"
Courtney Lake, in "Divorce Lawyer"
Secret Sins of the Father
The Young and the Restless
Drucilla Barber Winters
March 1990 to August 2000; August 15, 2002
to April 6, 2007
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
Mimi Mumford, in "Clubba Hubba"
The Cosby Show
As the World Turns
Home of the Brave
A Perfect Fit
A Wake in Providence
Dr. Corrina 'Cora D' Devonshire
Dumb & Dumber
FBI Special Agent Beth Jordan
The Distinguished Gentleman
Leonard Part 6
Nomination, Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series (1996, 1997, 1998)
Winner, Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series (2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005)
PLACE OF BIRTH: Portland, Maine
DATE OF BIRTH: May 10, 1960
MARITAL STATUS: Married to Radcliffe Bailey [Jun 27, 2009 to Present]
CHILDREN: Daughter, May a (with Tom Fahey); Son, Jasper (with Wynton Marsalis)
: CBS, Rowell unable to come to terms on new contract. [Sep 18, 2000]
: CBS confirms Rowell will return. [Jul 1, 2002]
: Contract talks still ongoing between CBS, Rowell. [Aug 8, 2005]
: Rowell, Y&R reach terms on new contract. [Aug 29, 2005]
: Rowell asks to be released from her contract. [Feb 5, 2007]
: Rowell says she's open to Y&R return. [Mar 3, 2008]
: Let's play ball, says Rowell to CBS executives. [Aug 24, 2009]
: Rowell says actors are blocking her Y&R return. [Sep 21, 2009]
: Casting call for "Simone" raises eyebrows. [Mar 29, 2010]
: Victoria Rowell releases Secrets of a Soap Opera Diva. [May 4, 2010]
: Rowell had "dialogue" with AMC, tried to get Debbi Morgan on Y&R. [May 29, 2010]
: LISTEN NOW: Victoria Rowell dishes Secrets of a Soap Opera Diva
on Soap Central Live [May 7, 2010]
: LISTEN NOW: Victoria Rowell returns to Soap Central Live to answer the hard questions [Nov 26, 2010]
: Rowell launches Kickstarter campaign for new soap series. [Aug 2, 2013]
: Y&R's Victoria Rowell suing CBS and Sony [Feb 11, 2015]
: Victoria Rowell continues her public slamming of CBS and Sony, calling the companies' actions “terrorism” [Feb 27, 2015]