skip navigation
Jean Smart

Jean Smart

| VIEW ALL

TCM Messageboards
Post your comments here
ADD YOUR COMMENT>

share:

TCM Archive Materials VIEW ALL ARCHIVES (0)

Recent DVDs

 
 

Lucky You DVD From acclaimed director Curtis Hanson comes the charming film "Lucky You"... more info $5.98was $5.98 Buy Now

Designing Women: Season 2... The staff of Sugarbaker and Associates return as the sizzle and shake of the... more info $29.93was $29.93 Buy Now

Designing Women: Season 3... All 22 Episodes of Season Three Hilarity.It is quite the scene at Sugarbaker &... more info $29.93was $29.93 Buy Now

The Kid DVD This hilarious and touching Disney comedy is a genuine crowd pleaser. Bruce... more info $14.99was $14.99 Buy Now

Bringing Down The House (Fullscreen)... The legendary Steve Martin and Academy Award nominee Queen Latifah star in... more info $9.99was $9.99 Buy Now

Sweet Home Alabama DVD Charming and chic, Reese Witherspoon lights up the screen in this entertaining... more info $14.99was $14.99 Buy Now

Also Known As: Jean E Smart Died:
Born: September 13, 1951 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Seattle, Washington, USA Profession: actor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Film, television and stage actress Jean Smart first besotted viewers with her role as ditzy Southerner Charlene on the popular sitcom "Designing Women" (CBS, 1986-1993), but her biggest critical successes came well after her departure from the show in 1991, during which she far surpassed the successes of her slightly more flamboyant co-stars, Annie Potts, Dixie Carter and Delta Burke. Smart was a Tony Award-nominated Broadway performer, critically acclaimed for her comedy and classical dramatic performances, and earned an Independent Spirit Award for her supporting role in the art house drama "Guinevere" (1998). A Hollywood anomaly, Smart's career continued to heat up after the age of 50, when the in-demand TV guest star earned an Emmy win for her appearances on "Frasier" (NBC, 1993-2004) and a pair of nominations for portraying a memorably non-traditional First Lady on the gritty actioner "24" (Fox, 2001-2010). Coming off her "24" success, the ever-versatile actress was again embraced by sitcom audiences for her outrageous supporting role opposite Christian Applegate on "Samantha Who?" (ABC, 2007-09) and impressed critics with her dramatic work as the no-nonsense governor of Hawaii on the hit reboot...

Film, television and stage actress Jean Smart first besotted viewers with her role as ditzy Southerner Charlene on the popular sitcom "Designing Women" (CBS, 1986-1993), but her biggest critical successes came well after her departure from the show in 1991, during which she far surpassed the successes of her slightly more flamboyant co-stars, Annie Potts, Dixie Carter and Delta Burke. Smart was a Tony Award-nominated Broadway performer, critically acclaimed for her comedy and classical dramatic performances, and earned an Independent Spirit Award for her supporting role in the art house drama "Guinevere" (1998). A Hollywood anomaly, Smart's career continued to heat up after the age of 50, when the in-demand TV guest star earned an Emmy win for her appearances on "Frasier" (NBC, 1993-2004) and a pair of nominations for portraying a memorably non-traditional First Lady on the gritty actioner "24" (Fox, 2001-2010). Coming off her "24" success, the ever-versatile actress was again embraced by sitcom audiences for her outrageous supporting role opposite Christian Applegate on "Samantha Who?" (ABC, 2007-09) and impressed critics with her dramatic work as the no-nonsense governor of Hawaii on the hit reboot "Hawaii Five-O" (CBS, 2010- ), proving that, at least for this particular actress, the parts just kept coming with each passing year.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

2.
 Hope Springs (2012)
4.
 Barry Munday (2010)
5.
 Youth in Revolt (2009)
6.
 Hero Wanted (2008)
7.
 Lucky You (2007)
8.
 I Heart Huckabees (2004) Mrs. Hooten
9.
 Garden State (2004) Carol
10.
 Very Married Christmas, A (2004) Ellen Griffin
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1972:
Began acting career working with various regional theatre groups, including the Oregon Shakespeare Festival
1980:
Made Off-Broadway debut in "Last Summer at Bluefish Cove"
1981:
Made Broadway debut as a young Marlene Dietrich in "Piaf"
1982:
Recreated role of Marlene in the PBS presentation of "Piaf"
1983:
Series debut on the short-lived NBC sitcom "Teachers Only"
1983:
Portrayed the title character's secretary in the short-lived ABC sitcom "Reggie"
1984:
Made film debut in "Flashpoint"
1985:
First major dramatic role was in the HBO drama series "Maximum Security"
1986:
Cast as the feather-brained Charlene Frazier on the CBS sitcom "Designing Women"; left series after five seasons
1987:
Played a research scientists in "Project X"
1992:
Played serial killer Aileen Wuornos in the CBS TV-movie "Overkill"
1992:
Acted on stage in Jon Robin Baitz's Off-Broadway play "The End of the Day"
1994:
Cast as the mother in the CBS TV remake of "The Yearling"
1994:
Cast opposite Mary Steenburgen in an LA stage production of "Marvin's Room"
1994:
Appeared in the CBS miniseries "Scarlett" as Sally Brewton, the cigar-chomping confidante of Rhett Butler
1995:
Co-starred with Mary McDonnell in short-lived CBS sitcom "High Society"
1995:
Delivered an amusing turn as the saucy next-door neighbor in "The Brady Bunch Movie"
1996:
Garnered praise for her Off-Broadway turn in Nicky Silver's comedy "Fit to Be Tied"
1998:
Returned to sitcoms as a Marth Stewart-like character in the short-lived "Style & Substance" (CBS)
1998:
Portrayed the wife of a man who announces he's gay in "Change of Heart" (Lifetime)
1999:
Offered strong supporting turn as the embittered mother of a young girl involved with an older man in "Guinevere"
2000:
Made a memorable guest appearance on "Frasier" (NBC) as Dr. Frasier Crane's short-fused high school crush
2000:
Appeared as a TV newscaster in the comedy "Disney's The Kid"; role written expressly for her by screenwriter Audrey Wells
2000:
Starred opposite Nathan Lane in the NYC stage revival of "The Man Who Came to Dinner"; received a Tony Award nomination
2000:
Had a recurring role as the ex-wife of a police chief in "The District" (CBS); earned an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Actress
2001:
Reprised Emmy-winning role in four episodes of NBC's "Frasier"
2002:
Appeared in "Sweet Home Alabama" opposite Reese Witherspoon and Josh Lucas
2002:
Cast in the short-lived NBC series "In-Laws"
2004:
Starred opposite Zach Braff in "Garden State"; Braff also made his writting and directorial debut
2004:
Co-starred with Jude Law and Dustin Hoffman in David O. Russell's "I Heart Huckabees"
2005:
Joined the cast of "24" (Fox) playing the mentally-unhinged First Lady, Martha Logan; received Emmy nominations in 2006 for Supporting Actress and in 2007 as Guest Actress
2007:
Cast as the title character's (Christina Applegate) overbearing mother on ABC's "Samantha Who?"
2010:
Played Michael Cera's erratic mother in the film adaptation of C.D. Payne's "Youth in Revolt"
2010:
Cast as Governor Pat Jameson in CBS' "Hawaii Five-O" reboot
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

University of Washington: Seattle , Washington -
Ballard High School: Seattle , Washington - 1969

Notes

Sources various list Ms. Smart's birthyear as anywhere from 1949 to 1959. A November 14, 1994 profile in People listed her age as 43.

"Criss-crossing can be a problem. In Hollywood if they can't classify you easily, it's harder for them to cast you. It takes effort to think of you in broader terms, which they often don't feel inclined to do. I can't complain because I work steadily as a leading lady and character actress. Comedy is fun, and drama is good because it allows me counterbalance. I always thought rising to the challenge was my job as an actress." --Jean Smart quoted in Playbill, October 8, 1996.

"There's a part of me that thinks, 'Oh, why didn't I go to Hollywood when I was 22?' Instead I did Shakespeare in the rain in Oregon. In reality, I can't stay away from theater. It's where you learn diversity and to use your whole body. In movies you do things from the neck up." --Jean Smart, quoted in Los Angeles Times, June 20, 1994

Smart was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for her performance in "Last Summer at Bluefish Cove".

"Jean is the best actress I've worked with in 10 years. She has tremendous emotional power. She's a dangerous actor because she's unpredictable." --"Overkill" director Peter Levin quoted in Los Angeles Times, June 20, 1994.

"... When I went out to Los Angeles to work, they took one look at me and, as I'm tall and I have a deep voice, I was usually cast in tough roles. As a villainess or a hooker with a heart of gold, or something along those lines. So when I was up for "Designing Women," I was delighted. It was nice to have someone hand me a role of someone naive, trusting. It was such a fun part to play." --Jean Smart quoted in Daily News, November 10, 1996.

"I didn't become an actor to have a 9-to-5 job. It's very satisfying to sort of free-lance and work only when you're inspired to work, which I know is a luxury few can afford." --Smart to USA Today, January 5, 1998.

Question: As wonderful as this role [in "Guinevere"] is, do you find that there are better parts for actresses in TV movies?

Jean Smart: I think that goes without saying. I think especially if TV audiences are familiar with you. TV movies also reach a much wider audience than a feature film will, unless it is a huge blockbuster. In a feature, there is usually the leading lady who used to be 35 and now is 20, and there area bout 20 men's roles and maybe she has a friend. If she doesn't have a friend, she might have a mother. I'm not totally ready to always be the mother of the bride.

--From Los Angeles Times, September 23, 1999.

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
Richard Gilliland. Actor. Born on January 23, 1950 in Fort Worth, Texas; met on set of "Designing Women"; married in 1987.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Douglas Smart. Teacher.
mother:
Kay Smart.
son:
Connor Douglas Gilliland. Born on October 25, 1989.

Please support TCMDB by adding to this information.

Click here to contribute