Amber Patrice Riley (born February 15, 1986) is an American actress, singer-songwriter, and philanthropist, best known for her portrayal of Mercedes Jones on the Fox television series Glee. She is also known for winning season 17 of Dancing with the Stars.
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.
In 2008, Riley was cast in the role of Mercedes Jones on the comedy-drama television series Glee, and appeared as a main cast member for its first four seasons. She was demoted to a recurring guest star status starting with the fifth season. She performed numerous solos on the show, 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, performed a tribute version of "I Will Always Love You". She also played 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. For her role as Mercedes Jones, she won a Screen Actors Guild Award and received nominations for an NAACP Image Award and a Teen Choice Award...
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