Feb. 15th, 1986
Los Angeles, Califorina, USA
Amber Riley's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles
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Amber Patrice Riley (born February 15, 1986) is an American actress, singer and songwriter, known for her role on the series Glee as Mercedes Jones.
Amber Riley was born in Los Angeles, California, the daughter of Tiny (née Hightower) and Elwin Riley. Riley auditioned for American Idol when she was 17 years old, during the show's second season, but was turned down by the producers. She graduated from La Mirada High School in La Mirada, California in 2004.
Riley plays the role of Mercedes Jones on the hit musical comedy-drama Glee. A member of the main cast, she has appeared since the show's pilot, which debuted in May 2009. She has sung numerous solos, including "Respect", "Bust Your Windows", "Hate on Me", "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going", "Beautiful", "Bridge over Troubled Water", "I Look to You", "Hell to the No", "Ain't No Way", "Try a Little Tenderness", "Spotlight", "All I Want for Christmas Is You" and, three days after Whitney Houston's death, a tribute version of "I Will Always Love You".
In Glee's second season, Riley's character Mercedes Jones volunteers to play the role of 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.
On September 12, 2010, Riley appeared at the 2010 MTV VMAs. She sang the national anthem on the opening day of the 2012 Democratic National Convention. Riley is also making a solo album.
In 2011, Riley received an NAACP Image Award nomination for her portrayal of Mercedes; she has won a Screen Actors Guild Award for her acting on Glee, along with the show's ensemble, and has also been nominated for a Teen Choice Award for her acting on the show. Her mother was a member of the choir in the song "Like a Prayer"—Mercedes dances with her—during the first season episode "The Power of Madonna".
On June 28, 2013, it was reported that Riley will not be returning as series regular on Glee's fifth season, but will instead be a recurring guest star.
On September 4, 2013 it was announced that Riley would be joining the cast of the seventeenth season on ABC's Dancing with the Stars, and will be partnered with the show's one and only four-time champion, 'Derek Hough'.Riley co-wrote a track titled "Leave a Light On" for British group The Saturdays which features on their album Living for the Weekend.
Riley got her first break when Ryan Murphy cast her in the pilot "St. Sass." Although the pilot was not picked up, Riley was able to use that experience to land a role on the television series Cedric the Entertainer Presents.
Riley has performed in numerous theater productions including "Alice in Wonderland", "A Midsummer Night's Dream", "Into the Woods" and "Mystery on the Docks" with the Los Angeles Opera.
Riley resides in Long Beach, CA with her family.