Date of Birth26 August 1993, Harvey, Illinois, USA
Birth NameLauren Keyana Palmer
Height5' 6" (1.68 m)
Born Lauren Keyana Palmer, in Robbins, Illinois, a small town 20 miles south of Chicago, Palmer showed vocal promise, as a 5-year-old, when she belted out "Jesus Loves Me" in her church choir. A year later, the singer-actress had a solo in her kindergarten play, but to her mom's dismay, the mike had not been adjusted to suit her daughter's height. Without missing a beat, Palmer lowered the mike and moved the crowd with her heavenly voice. At that very moment, her family knew there was something special about Keke (a nickname given to her by her sister).
Although music was still her passion, Palmer's first big break came via her acting skills, making her big screen debut in Barbershop 2: Back in Business (2004) as Queen Latifah's niece. Immediately recognizing her star potential, the film's producers encouraged Palmer's parents to take their daughter to California to explore other acting opportunities. Relocating required that Palmer's parents leave behind the security of their jobs, a newly purchased home, and uproot their other three children. However, it didn't diminish the family's support of Palmer's aspirations.
Once settled on the West Coast, Palmer did not waste any time. Within six weeks, she had booked an episode of the critically-acclaimed CBS Show, "Cold Case" (2003), booked a national K-Mart commercial, and was chosen from a nationwide search to play opposite William H. Macy in a TNT movie. Palmer's performance in The Wool Cap (2004) (TV) was so amazing that it earned her a Screen Actors Guild nomination, to date, she is the youngest actress (then at age ten) ever to receive a nomination in a Lead Actress Category.
In 2006, Palmer appeared as the lead character "Akeelah Anderson" in the critically-acclaimed, award-winning film, Akeelah and the Bee (2006). The film, about a young South Los Angeles girl who attempts to win a national spelling bee, won the hearts of audiences everywhere. Keke held her own in scenes with acting veteran co-stars Angela Bassett and Laurence Fishburne. That very same year, Palmer appeared in Tyler Perry's Madea's Family Reunion (2006), which was number #1 at the box office for two consecutive weeks! Palmer went on to win a 2007 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture for her breakout role in Akeelah and the Bee (2006). She also received a ShoWest Award for Rising Star of the Year. Shortly after, Palmer lit up the small screen starring in the Disney Channel's hit movie, Jump In! (2007) (TV). This one-two punch of big screen success coupled with small screen ratings power made Keke Palmer a household name in Hollywood.
Palmer contributed her first recording, which was featured on the "Akeelah and the Bee" soundtrack, titled "All My Girlz", and followed it up with the ever popular, "My Turn Now", on the _Jump In! (2007) (TV) movie soundtrack. As if two soundtracks were not enough, she was also asked to sing "Tonight", an end title song from the smash-hit Ben Stiller movie, Night at the Museum (2006).
Her Atlantic Records debut album, titled "So Uncool", is jammed with up-tempo R&B tracks, inspirational moments, and love songs.
Look for her next in the feature film, Cleaner (2007), in which she co-stars with Samuel L. Jackson, Eva Mendes and Ed Harris. Her single, "Footworkin'", hit stores in July 2007; her album, "So Uncool", hit stores in September 2007.
Keke recently finished filming the movie, Abducted: The Carlina White Story (2012) (TV), for the Lifetime Network.
She can currently be heard in theaters in the 20th Century Fox animated film, Ice Age: Continental Drift (2012), as the character "Peaches". Her co-stars include Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary, Jennifer Lopez and Queen Latifah. Palmer also starred as the title character in the hit Nickelodeon series, "True Jackson, VP" (2008), for 68 episodes, she played a high-school student who becomes the head of a major fashion label. In the fall of 2008, "True Jackson" bowed with over 4.8 million viewers, setting a record for Nickelodeon's largest audience for a live-action premiere. She has received four NAACP Awards for Best Actress in Children's Television for her role as "True Jackson". Palmer was last seen on the big screen in the Alcon/Warner Bros movie, Joyful Noise (2012), singing alongside legendary Queen Latifah and Dolly Parton, however, it was Palmer who the critics singled out for her "young and inspiring" rendition of the Michael Jackson song, "Man in the Mirror".
In 2007, she appeared in the Lionsgate drama, Shrink (2009), where she starred alongside Kevin Spacey and Robin Williams. The film premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, where Keke received rave reviews for her performance. In 2008, Palmer starred in the Weinstein Co. feature, The Longshots (2008). The film was based on the true story of a young female quarterback, played by Palmer, that makes Pop Warner history; she starred opposite Ice Cube, for first time director and Limp Bizkit front man, Fred Durst. She also starred opposite Samuel L. Jackson and Eva Mendes in Cleaner (2007), which premiered at the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival.
Palmer received great acclaim when she starred as the title character in the Lionsgate Films/Starbucks Entertainment sleeper hit, Akeelah and the Bee (2006), opposite actor Laurence Fishburne and Angela Bassett. In the movie, Palmer played "Akeelah Anderson", an 11-year-old girl who participates in the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Her breakthrough performance has received praise from many film critics and organizations. Among the list of nominations received, "Akeelah and the Bee" was listed as one of NBR's 2006 Top Independent Films of the Year, as well as four nominations from the NAACP Image Awards. Palmer, alone, won an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Motion Picture, as well as Outstanding Lead Actress in a Motion Picture by the Black Movie Awards. She has also received nominations for Most Promising Newcomer by the Chicago Film Critics, Best Actress by the Black Reel Awards, and Best Young Actress by the Broadcast Film Critics Association.
On the small screen, Palmer starred in the Disney Channel original movie, Jump In! (2007) (TV), in January 2007. The premiere broke the network records for an original television movie premiere with 8.2 million viewers and stood as basic cable's most-watched program for the entire day. Palmer is also featured on the movie's soundtrack and is the only artist with two songs on the album. The soundtrack landed at the top of the charts as the third best-selling album in its first week of release and remained in the top 10 for over a month. Palmer began her career with a small role in the feature film, Barbershop 2: Back in Business (2004) at the age of nine, opposite Queen Latifah. That role led to a series of guest-starring roles on television shows like "Strong Medicine" (2000), "Cold Case" (2003), "ER" (1994) and "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (1999). She later went on to star in the Emmy-nominated made-for-TV movie, The Wool Cap (2004) (TV), opposite William H. Macy. Her performance in "The Wool Cap" earned her a NAACP Image Award Nominations as well as a coveted Screen Actors Guild Nomination in the Best Leading Actress category, alongside Charlize Theron, Hilary Swank, Glenn Close and Patricia Heaton. This nomination put Palmer in the record books as the youngest actor to ever be nominated by the Guild in a Lead Actor Category.
Her other film & TV credits include co-starring in the made-for-television movie, Knights of the South Bronx (2005) (TV), with Ted Danson, a pilot for her own show on Disney Channel, "Keke & Jamal"; and the Lionsgate film, Madea's Family Reunion (2006), starring Tyler Perry, Cicely Tyson and Dr. Maya Angelou. Originally from Chicago, Palmer resides in Los Angeles, CA.
Her favorite actor is William H. Macy.
She resides in Illinois.
Is close friends with Carlysia Levert, daughter of the late Gerald Levert.
Audtioned for Akeelah and the Bee (2006) 5 times. Director was convinced by the emotion in her crying the 5th time around.
Trained for 7 weeks with a professional quarterback preparing for her role in The Longshots (2008).
Was in two movies where Queen Latifah played her mother - Joyful Noise (2012) and Ice Age: Continental Drift (2012).-