Amber Patrice Riley is an American actress, singer and author. She is best known for her portrayal of Mercedes Jones on the Fox comedy-drama series “Glee.” Take a look below for 28 more fun and interesting facts about Amber Riley.
1. For her performance on “Glee”, she won a Screen Actors Guild Award, and has been nominated for three Teen Choice Awards, three NAACP Image Awards and a Grammy Award.
2. In November 2016, Riley led the West End debut of “Dreamgirls,” playing the lead role of Effie White.
3. She won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical in 2017 for her role in “Dreamgirls.”
4. Riley won season 17 of “Dancing with the Stars” in 2013.
5. In 2017, Riley appeared as a judge on BBC One musical theater talent show “Let It Shine” and formed a musical theater supergroup with Beverly Knight and Cassidy Janson, known collectively as Leading Ladies and signed to East West Records/Warner.
6. Their debut album, “Songs from the Stage,” was released on November 17, 2017.
7. Riley was born in Los Angeles, California, the daughter of Tiny and Elwin Riley.
8. She has two older sisters, Toyia and Ashley.
9. Riley auditioned for “American Idol” when she was 17 years old, during the show’s second season, but was turned down by the producers.
10. She graduated from La Mirada High School in La Mirada, California, in 2004.
11. In 2008, Riley was cast in the role of Mercedes Jones on the comedy-drama television series “Glee,” and appeared as a main cast member for all but one of the six seasons.
12. She played Dr. Frank-N-Furter in the episode “The Rocky Horror Glee Show,” singing the lead on the song “Sweet Transvestite” to generally positive reviews from critics.
13. Riley appeared at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards, sang the national anthem at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, and is currently working on a debut solo studio album.
14. She co-wrote a track titled “Leave a Light On” for British group The Saturdays, which is featured on their album “Living for the Weekend.”
15. Riley’s debut single, “Colorblind,” premiered live on April 3, 2014, on “The Queen Latifah Show.”
16. The song was written by Emeli Sande, Claude Kelly and Steve Mac, and was released as a digital download on April 8, 2014.
17. The song was also performed by Riley on “Glee.”
18. In 2015, it was reported that Riley would star in a Christmas television film, her first movie role, and her first acting role since “Glee.”
19. In December 2015, she portrayed Addaperle, the Good Witch of the North, in NBC’s live performance of “The Wiz.”
20. In February 2016, it was announced that Riley would portray the lead role of Effie White in “Dreamgirls,” at the Savoy Theater in London’s West End, beginning performances in November 2016.
21. Riley recorded a number of tracks for Todrick Hall’s visual album “Straight Outta Oz.”
22. In 2013, Riley won the 17th season of ABC’s dancing competition “Dancing with the Stars.”
23. She was partnered with the show’s one and only six time champion, Derek Hough.
24. Riley and Hough tied the record for highest first week score of 27.
25. They received 5 perfect scores out of 30, and only received a score lower than 8 one time.
26. Riley is the first African-American woman to win “Dancing with the Stars.”
27. In January 2014, Riley and her sister Ashley launched a plus-size online clothing boutique, Rileyland Fashions.
28. Riley models all of the Rileyland Fashions garments.