Pinkins attended Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where she studied theater, music, and dance. Leaving school, she moved to New York after landing a role in Stephen Sondheim's Merrily We Roll Along, then went on to appear in An Ounce Of Prevention, Just Say No, Caucasian Chalk Circle, and Little Shop of Horrors on the New York stage. Pinkins' portrayal of Sweet Anita in the Broadway musical Jelly's Last Jam earned her a Tony Award, a Drama Desk Award, and the Clarence Derwent Award. In the summer of 1994, during a hiatus from All My Children, she starred as Mistress Ford in the New York Shakespeare Festival's production of The Merry Wives of Windsor. Pinkins, who is divorced, is the mother of four children.
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