Sister, Sister

Release Date:  6/7/1982
Genre:  Drama
Rating:  NR
Director:  John Berry
Studio(s):  National Broadcasting Company (NBC), 20th Century Fox Television,
Running Time:  98 mins.

Cast:  Diahann Carroll (Carolyne Lovejoy), Rosalind Cash (Freida Lovejoy-Burton), Irene Cara (Sisina ‘Sissy’ Lovejoy), Paul Winfield (Eddie Craven), Dick Anthony Williams (Reverend Richard Henderson), Robert Hooks (Harry Burton), Kristoff St. John (Danny Burton).

Details:  Television movie written by Maya Angelou, tells the story of three sisters who come together to decide the fate of their family home after the death of their revered father.

Story:  The story starts out in a small town in North Carolina with Carolyne Lovejoy, a schoolteacher, singing in the choir at the local church. It is later revealed that she is having an intense affair with the pastor, Reverend Henderson who is also the state senator-elect. Carolyne later comes home to find her younger sister (who she raised after the death of their parents), 20-year-old Sissy, with her boyfriend, Johnny. It is expressed that Sissy is an aspiring ice skater, but Carolyne wants her to follow in her footsteps and become a schoolteacher.

Their battle continues throughout the movie. Later their estranged sister, Frieda, who has been living 13 years in the slums of Detroit, shows up with her 12-year-old son, Danny. They decide to stay for a while because Danny has had some trouble with the law and Frieda wants to give him a fresh start. While trying to co-exist in the same house, the sisters’ lives turn upside down. Frieda suggests they sell their childhood home.

Frieda is the troubled black sheep, while Carolyne is knocked off her pedestal when her minister lover succumbs to Frieda’s seduction. Sissy learns that their father never wanted another daughter, but had hoped she would be a boy ad that their mother had tried to abort her. After a physical altercation with Frieda and Carolyne, Frieda and Sissy decided to leave. The movie ends with Sissy leaving for New York and Frieda deciding to stay and work things out with Carolyne.

Notes:  Although the movie was filmed in February 1979, NBC chose to withhold it until June 1982, when it aired during primetime. According to JET, Fred Silverman, who was the head executive of the network at the time, decided not to air the film because it did not match his preferred formats of “action-packed or comedy shows,” and that the film’s focus on the intense personal dramas of middle-class blacks would not appeal to white sensibilities of the late 1970s.

The film won the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special. Cara won the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special for her role.  Sources:  IMDB; Wikipedia.  Photo Sources:;;