Before “Coming To America” Actress Died, Her Personal Life Caught Many Fans By Surprise

Posted On : December 1, 2022
Madge Sinclair; “Coming To America” cast

Many entertainers have left great impacts on our culture, but the roads they traveled to get there, weren’t always peaches and cream. Actress, Madge Sinclair, is one of them. She laid a helluva foundation through her may roles in film and television and at times, her personal life was a roller coaster.

We best know her for her roles as “Queen Aoleon” in Coming To America and as “Belle,” the wife of “Kunta Kinte” in Roots, among many others. Later in life, she became the voice of of “Sarabi,” “Simba’s” mother, in The Lion King film. What many didn’t know though, is that Madge Sinclair sadly passed away years ago. Before her passing, she made other accomplishments that most were not aware of and she also had her fair share of ups and downs.

Details Of Her Passing, Her Interracial Marriage, Family Issues & More

Eddie Murphy, James Earl Jones, Madge Sinclair on “Coming To America” set

Before She Was An Actress, She Taught…Literally

Madge Sinclair was born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica, where she was a school teacher up until 1968, before moving to America with nearly no money.

Details On Death After Coming To America

Two years after miniseries, Roots, aired, Madge Sinclair was diagnosed with Leukemia in 1979, which ultimately claimed her life. Her diagnosis made her more determined. She continued to work and married her actor husband. She passed away seven years after Coming To America, in 1995, at approximately 57 years young.

Her Diagnosis & Cause Of Death

Two years after Roots, Madge was diagnosed with Leukemia in 1979, which ultimately claimed her life. Her diagnosis made her more determined. She continued to work and married her actor husband.

She Married Interracially, Meet Her Husband

Madge Sinclair and her husband, Dean Compton

Madge Sinclair married actor, Dean Compton, in 1982 and they remained married up until her passing. She previously married Royston Sinclair (from 1956-1969) in her hometown, Kingston, Jamaica, and they have two children.

Meet Her Famous Cousin, Marcus Garvey

Madge was proud of being the cousin of iconic political leader, Marcus Garvey, who was also from Kingston, Jamaica.

Marcus Garvey

But Her Family Was Once Unhappy With Her Moves

In a 1985 article, Madge’s cousin was quoted as calling her ‘greedy’ for leaving her kids behind in Jamaica for years, to move to America and pursue her acting dreams.

She Had ‘No Regrets’…Here’s Why…

Orlando Sentinel reported that Madge had no regrets about leaving her children, because: ”We’re very good friends. I feel fortunate I was smart enough to keep the lines of communication open so that, even when upheavals came, we could discuss everything,” said Madge.

She Also Owned 3 Businesses

Business #1: Madge was a very successful businesswoman. She owned three business that she developed after her move to the U.S.. She was an art dealer.

Business #2: Uniform/Garment Manufacturer. She owned a women’s clothing manufacturing company, Madge Walters Sinclair Inc., which specialized in making nurses’ uniforms. They were distributed in 100+ stores.

Business #3: Madge Sinclair was also the owner of the Action Income Tax Service.

She Confessed To Being Broke Despite Her Then Thriving Career & Businesses

Even though she was on a successful TV series, Trapper John M.D., at the time, Mrs. Sinclair said: 

”I put two boys through college, and I put my money into art and clothes — and they aren’t making me any money.”

Her Life Came Full Circle

Madge Sinclair’s career came full circle when she made her mark as a slave in Roots, and then a decade+ later,  as an African Queen in Coming To America. She was cremated and her ashes were spread in a Jamaican ocean- her home. Rest easy Queen.