Mablean Ephriam (Courtesy Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
Mablean Deloris Ephriam, Esq. (born April 23, 1949) is a former Los Angeles prosecuting attorney. She was the adjudicator of the courtroom series Divorce Court from 1999 through the 2005-06 season. She was replaced by Lynn Toler in the show's 2006-07 season.
While presiding over Divorce Court, Ephriam was noted for her many humorous moments while presiding. Her audience was frequently engaged in laughter brought on by Ephriam's striking and quirky voice and reactions of appall and bewilderment by the ex-couple's outrageous behavior. Since Lynn Toler has replaced Ephriam on Divorce Court, ratings for the court show have since dropped 20% for the 2006-2007 season.
Well known as Madea's court judge, Ephraim portrays a strict and stern judge character in Madea films, who must preside over the many cases Madea lands herself into, always as result of violent and destructive conduct. Ephraim has made short appearance in the film adaptation of the play, Diary of a Mad Black Woman. She also portrayed the same judge character in both Madea's Family Reunion and Madea Goes to Jail. As a judge, her first name is pronounced "may-BLENE," as in the Chuck Berry song "Maybellene."
Ephriam is a native of Hazlehurst, Mississippi. Although she had never actually served as a judge before Divorce Court, she has had plenty of experience in and knowledge of the law. She started her law career as a correctional officer in the Women's Division of the Federal Bureau of Prisons. She attended night classes at the Whittier Law School, where she earned her Juris Doctor degree in 1978. In 1982, she opened her own law practice, dealing mainly with personal injury and family law cases. She soon became a Los Angeles Prosecuting Attorney. In 1999, when Divorce Court was revived and she was chosen to become the show's arbitrator.
Ephriam's trademark phrase on Divorce Court was "Look deep before you leap," advising would-be newlyweds to examine each others' behaviors and attitudes carefully before they decide to marry. While she encouraged her litigants to discuss sensitive issues to get to the heart of what was causing the divorce, she was quick to restore order in her courtroom when things got out of hand, and she scolded her litigants for disrespecting each other, or her, in court.
In March 2006, it was announced that Ephriam would leave Divorce Court at the end of the 2005-2006 season (her seventh behind the bench), reportedly because she and the show's producers were unable to come to an agreement on a contract extension. She was replaced by Judge Lynn Toler, a former judge from Cleveland Heights, Ohio, who formerly presided over the short-lived syndicated courtroom TV show Power of Attorney.
Ephriam hosts an annual event on Fathers Day called The H.U.F. Awards, where she leads a star-studded community celebration of otherwise unsung fathers.
In June 2010, Ephriam expressed joy about the event on The Jazz Joy and Roy syndicated radio show.
"...I would love to get some more money to do what I really want to do, but just putting on this brunch for the fathers and allowing them to have a really wonderful Fathers Day, to share in the joy of good music and good food and good entertainment and being out with family, and all of us making a fuss over them, which doesn't happen for most of the fathers...That gives me great pleasure and great joy!"
It is also a joy, says Ephriam, to be able to award scholarships at The H.U.F Awards, because, "I am just so excited about (the scholarship recipients)! There is the press that we're not going to college--we are going to college. The young people who applied ranged in GPAs from 1.5 to 5 points. We want to encourage all of them to go to college and pursue their dreams."
Ephriam also appeared on the first season of Celebrity Fit Club where she went from 208 lbs to 183, losing 25 lbs, 12% of her body weight. Ephriam revealed to VH1 that she has kept off all of the weight. She added that her weight goes up and down, but she never exceeds 183.