Grant, who was born June 30, 1929, in Chicago, studied music and acting before working in L.A. and then New York, primarily on the stage. Among her first accomplishments were stints in the off-Broadway Jean Genet play "The Blacks" with Cicely Tyson and James Earl Jones in 1961 and 1964's "The Cradle Will Rock."
As Peggy Harris Nolan on "Another World" (1965-1973), Grant's was the first storyline dedicated to a Black actress on any soap opera. She continued in the medium later, on such shows as "The Edge of Night" (1976-1977), "Guiding Light" (1982), and "All My Children" (2008).
But it was her work on Broadway that made waves, including writing the book, lyrics, and music for the long-running 1972 musical "Don't Bother Me, I Can't Cope," making her the first woman to do so. She was also its star. The show's director, Vinnette Carroll, a frequent collaborator of Grant's, became the first Black woman to direct on Broadway.
In all, five of her 18 productions played on Broadway, including two — a revival of 1976's "Your Arms Too Short to Box with God" and "It's So Nice to Be Civilized" — simultaneously, in 1980.