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Alfre Woodard

Alfre Woodard

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Also Known As: Alfre Ette Woodard Died:
Born: November 8, 1952 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA Profession: actress, producer

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

One of most accomplished and talented African-American actresses of her generation, Alfre Woodard earned an Oscar nomination and multiple Emmy wins in a prolific film and TV career that spanned over three decades. Woodard worked primarily in drama, where she was celebrated for her grounding force in "Passion Fish" (1992), "Crooklyn" (1994), "How to Make an American Quilt" (1995) and "Down in the Delta" (1998), though she occasionally offered up her uninhibited wit in "Beauty Shop" (2005) and "Desperate Housewives" (ABC, 2004-2012). Among Woodard's most praised performances were TV movies that explored the African-American experience, including James Baldwin's "Go Tell it on the Mountain" (PBS, 1985), "The Piano Lesson" (CBS, 1995), "Miss Evers' Boys" (HBO, 1997) and the TV movie remake of the feature "Steel Magnolias" (Lifetime, 2012). She also shown in guest roles, including her turn as a mentally ill mother on the hit vampire series "True Blood" (HBO, 2008- ). Woodard never considered herself a star but rather a working actress, though her rich gallery of characterizations - whether rural and poverty-stricken or educated women in positions of power - embodied an instinctual savvy and realistic...

One of most accomplished and talented African-American actresses of her generation, Alfre Woodard earned an Oscar nomination and multiple Emmy wins in a prolific film and TV career that spanned over three decades. Woodard worked primarily in drama, where she was celebrated for her grounding force in "Passion Fish" (1992), "Crooklyn" (1994), "How to Make an American Quilt" (1995) and "Down in the Delta" (1998), though she occasionally offered up her uninhibited wit in "Beauty Shop" (2005) and "Desperate Housewives" (ABC, 2004-2012). Among Woodard's most praised performances were TV movies that explored the African-American experience, including James Baldwin's "Go Tell it on the Mountain" (PBS, 1985), "The Piano Lesson" (CBS, 1995), "Miss Evers' Boys" (HBO, 1997) and the TV movie remake of the feature "Steel Magnolias" (Lifetime, 2012). She also shown in guest roles, including her turn as a mentally ill mother on the hit vampire series "True Blood" (HBO, 2008- ). Woodard never considered herself a star but rather a working actress, though her rich gallery of characterizations - whether rural and poverty-stricken or educated women in positions of power - embodied an instinctual savvy and realistic viewpoint that placed her in a league of her own.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
2.
 12 Years a Slave (2013)
3.
 Steel Magnolias (2012)
4.
 Poliwood (2009)
6.
 Reach for Me (2008)
7.
 Bury Me Standing (2008)
8.
 American Violet (2008)
9.
 Medal of Honor (2008)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
First began performing with the Arena Stage Theater in Washington, DC
:
Moved to Los Angeles and joined the Mark Taper Forum's Improvisational Theatre Project
1977:
Breakthrough stage role in "For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf"
1978:
Made TV-movie debut in "The Trial of the Moke" (PBS episode of "Great Performances")
1978:
Made film debut in "Remember My Name"
1979:
Delivered a fine turn as the deadpan hotel manager in Robert Altman's satirical film "Health"
1982:
Played Marsha Fulbright on the short-lived CBS supernatural detective drama, "Tucker's Witch"
1983:
Offered an Emmy-winning turn as the mother of youth killed by cops in three episodes of "Hill Street Blues" (NBC)
1983:
Received Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for her role as the housekeeper in "Cross Creek"
1985:
Played Roz Dupree on the short-lived NBC sitcom "Sara"
1985:
Joined season four of the popular medical drama, "St. Elsewhere" as Dr. Roxanne Turner
1986:
Delivered an Emmy-winning turn as a rape victim in the pilot episode of NBC's drama series "L.A. Law"
1986:
First portrayed South African activist Winnie Mandela to Danny Glover's Nelson Mandela in "Mandela" (PBS)
1987:
Again teamed with Glover as Winnie and Nelson Mandela in the HBO biopic "Mandela"
1988:
Played Bill Murray's overworked assistant in the comedy "Scrooged" a modernization of Charles Dickens's novella, <i>A Christmas Carol</i>
1989:
Offered a well-received performance as the mother of basketball player in the NBC TV-movie "A Mother's Courage: The Mary Thomas Story"
1991:
Again teamed romantically with Glover in Lawrence Kasdan's "Grand Canyon"
1992:
First credit as producer (associate) "The Colors of Love"
1995:
Offered a compelling performance in the CBS TV-movie "The Piano Lesson"
1995:
Played Maya Angelou's daughter in the female ensemble drama "How to Make an American Quilt"
1996:
Portrayed a scientist who favors fleeing from the Borg in "Star Trek: First Contact"
1996:
Delivered a small but incisive turn as the trial judge in the legal thriller "Primal Fear"
1997:
Undertook the role of Berenice in small screen remake of "The Member of the Wedding" (USA Network)
1997:
Gave an award-winning performance as a nurse caring for the men who were part of the Tuskegee syphilis study in the HBO film "Miss Evers' Boys"
1998:
Reprised her role as Dr. Roxanne Turner in an episode of "Homicide: Life on the Street" (NBC)
1998:
Starred in and co-produced the drama "Down in the Delta" directed by Maya Angelou
1999:
Appeared with CCH Pounder in "Funny Valentine" (BET/Starz!)
1999:
Reteamed with Lawrence Kasdan for "Mumford"
2000:
Appeared in featured role in the film "Love & Basketball"
2000:
Co-starred with Ving Rhames in the Showtime original movie "Holiday Heart"
2000:
Acted in the ensemble of "What's Cooking?"
2001:
Portrayed a psychiatrist's boss in "K-Pax," co-starring Jeff Bridges and Kevin Spacey
2003:
Appeared in the Rosanna Arquette-directed documentary, "Searching for Debra Winger"
2004:
Cast as a Detective in the thriller "The Forgotten" starring Julianne Moore
2005:
Appeared in the comedy "Beauty Shop" starring Queen Latifah
2005:
Joined the cast of ABC's "Desperate Housewives" in its second season as single mom, Betty Applewhite; received an Emmy nomination in 2006 for Supporting Actress in a Comedy
2006:
Earned an Emmy nomination for Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or TV-Movie for "The Water is Wide" (CBS)
2007:
Appeared in the CBS Hallmark Hall of Fame movie, "Pictures Of Hollis Woods"; earned an Emmy nomination in 2008 for Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or TV-Movie
2008:
Featured in Tyler Perry's "The Family That Preys"
2009:
Earned a Grammy nomination for Best Spoken Word for the Children's album, <i>Nelson Mandela's Favorite African Folktales</i>; Alfre was a producer
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Bishop Kelley High School: Tulsa , Oklahoma -
Boston University: Boston , Massachusetts - 1974

Notes

"I've been called serious and I've been called seriously goofy. Let me put it this way. I am a founding member of Artists to Free South Africa, and we, as a people, are using our position as a microphone to get something heard that doesn't usually get heard. The State Department's tilt on things is that freedom fighters are terrorists and we're using our organization to address our community the way grass-roots groups around the country use their communities. I am an activist and sincere about that. I can be absolutely unorganized and hysterical . . . or I can be completely cool and hold the ground for everybody else around me." --Alfre Woodard quoted in MOVIELINE, May 1994

"I don't really think of myself as a celebrity. I don't give out anything that would make people come up and talk to me. I'm intensely private. People have always looked at me for one reason or another, but I'm never convinced that they aren't looking at me for some peculiar reason. I mean, I usually wear sort of an Afro hairstyle. I'm in an interracial marriage. [But] it doesn't matter why they're talking about you, it still feels like you're naked. You still have the feeling like you're back in high school or something." --Woodard in MOVIELINE, May 1994

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
Roderick Spencer. Stand-up comic, screenwriter, documentarian.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Marion H Woodard. Interior decorator, entrepreneur.
mother:
Constance Woodard.
daughter:
Mavis Spencer. Born c. 1992.
daughter:
Duncan Spencer. Born c. 1994.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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