Jenifer Jeanette Lewis is an American actress, comedian, skydiver, puppeteer, and singer. She began her career appearing on Broadway musicals and worked as a backup singer for Bette Midler, before appearing in films Beaches and Sister Act .
Lewis was born in St. Louis, Missouri, to a nurses aide mother and a factory worker father. She attended Kinloch High School and then college at Webster University in Webster Groves, Missouri. She has Bipolar disorder.