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Beverly Atkinson

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Beverly Hope Atkinson (December 9, 1935 – December 11, 2001) was an African-American stage, film, and television actress from the 1960s through 1991, known for her character work playing women down-on-their-luck or caught up in drug addiction.

She portrayed a nurse in episode 563 of the original Dark Shadows.

Atkinson studied under Lee Strasberg in the 1960s and later became a member of the Actors Studio. After attending New York's City College, she began her career on the New York stage with the Café LaMama Theater troupe and Theater West in Los Angeles, touring in such productions as The Skin of Our Teeth, Lysistrata and The Blacks.

Atkinson relocated to Hollywood in the early 70s. She impressed in her very first film role, that of a streetwise hooker in The New Centurions (1972) with George C. Scott. She also had a role in the 1973 Ralph Bakshi animated film Heavy Traffic as a black women named Carole. She began her television career with minor roles, but found steadier work as her character career continued in the same flashy vein: playing angry women down-on-their-luck or whose lives were caught up in drugs and addiction, most notably in a recurring role on Hill Street Blues from 1984–1986.

Atkinson died of cancer in Los Angeles at the age of 66.

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