Rolanda Watts (born July 12, 1959 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina) is an American actress, producer, voice over artist, novelist, motivational speaker, & television and radio talk show host. She was the host of eponymous Rolonda, an internationally syndicated talk show which aired from 1994 to 1997. Watts was the on-camera announcer for Judge Joe Brown, which ended its run in 2013. She's currently the on-camera announcer for Divorce Court.
Early Life & Education
Watts' mother, Dr. Velma Gibson Watts, was an associate dean at Wake Forest University & her father, Roland Watts, was chairman of Winston-Salem State University's Fine Arts Department. Watts attended Salem Academy in Winston-Salem, North Carolina as a teenager. She's a graduate of Spelman College in Atlanta, where she was editor-in-chief of the school newspaper & graduated Magna Cum Laude. In 1981, she earned a master's degree from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
After graduating from Columbia, Watts returned to North Carolina & began her career as a general assignment reporter at WFMY-TV in Greensboro, North Carolina. She later worked at WNBC, where she was nominated for an Emmy, & WABC-TV in New York as an anchor of a weekly political forum & reporter. In 1987, she began working as a host of Attitudes, a talk show on Lifetime Television. The next year, she took a job on the newsmagazine Inside Edition as a senior correspondent, weekend anchor & producer. King World Productions, the syndicator of Inside Edition & also The Oprah Winfrey Show, then asked her to start her own talk show. Rolonda aired for nearly 4 seasons from January 17, 1994 to September 1997. Watts was also supervising producer & 1 of the owners of the show. In a 2003 interview with Soap Opera Digest, Watts said she folded the show rather than lose her integrity. "Audiences were saying, Well, that was really nice of you to be so respectful, but where's Jerry Springer? We had to make a tough decision, either we go that route or we find something else to do." After leaving her talk show behind, Watts headed to Hollywood to pursue a career in acting. Her 1st break was in 1997 when she was cast as Vivica Shaw in Sister, Sister, a role she played for 6 episodes. Since then Watts has had guest starring roles in dozens of television shows, including The West Wing, JAG, The District Yes, Dear, & soap operas Days of Our Lives & The Bold & the Beautiful. In 2002, Soap Opera Digest named her "Scene Stealer of the Week" for her role as the cut-throat Attorney Cameron Reese on Days of our Lives. Watts is also the CEO/president of her own production company, Watts Works Productions, which co-produced her talk show Rolonda. In 2005, she hosted Lie Detector, a reality series for PAX-TV. That same year, she took over as announcer on Judge Joe Brown. She also appeared on Live With Regis and Kelly where she traveled cross-country as a judge for the show's "Great American Co-Host Search." In October 2006, Watts returned to her talk-show roots. She signed with GreenStone Media, a radio network launched by feminists Gloria Steinem & Jane Fonda, to host an afternoon radio show. She hosted the show until the network's closure in August 2007. Subsequently, Watts was the announcer for the game show Temptation from September 2007 to May 2008. As of 2011, Watts is the voice of Professor Wiseman in the PBS Kids animated program Curious George. She voices "Gladys" in the Nickelodeon series, "The Penguins of Madagascar." Watts is currently shooting 2 films, with others waiting for release, including her 1st starring role in A Mother's Love and leading roles in Christmas Mail, House Arrest, Soul Ties, Broken Roads & 25 Hill, a film written & produced by Corbin Bernsen. In the short film Return to Babylon, Watts portrays Josephine Baker; in Defying the Stars. she plays Hollywood legend Dorothy Dandridge. She was recently playing as the role of Betsy Holiday in Tyler Perry's 1st animated film Madea's Tough Love.