skip navigation
Charlayne Woodard

Charlayne Woodard

| VIEW ALL

TCM Messageboards
Post your comments here
ADD YOUR COMMENT>

share:

TCM Archive Materials VIEW ALL ARCHIVES (0)

Recent DVDs

Meteor Man ... Directed by Robert Townsend. Starring Eddie Griffin, James Earl Jones, Marla... more info $5.95was $7.95 Buy Now

Things Never Said ... Kal (Shanola Hampton) is an aspiring poet, but truthfully, she's an artist who... more info $13.95was $19.98 Buy Now

Eye for An Eye (1996) ... Two-time Academy-Award-½ winner Sally Field, Kiefer Sutherland and Ed Harris... more info $7.95was $14.98 Buy Now

Also Known As: Charlaine Woodard Died:
Born: December 29, 1955 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Albany, New York, USA Profession: playwright, actor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

With her wiry, some might say bony, body, and sparkling smile, Charlayne Woodard was a marked contrast to fleshy Nell Carter and Armelia McQueen when the three women starred together on Broadway in "Ain't Misbehavin'" (1977-78). At first, Carter got most of the applause--and the Tony Award to take home--but after more than a decade of celebrated theatre work, Woodard began to make a name for herself in TV and motion pictures, often in key supporting roles. Intermittently in her early career she sometimes used the birth spelling of her name, "Charlaine."Woodard had actually won her role in "Ain't Misbehavin'" two weeks after arriving in New York from the Goodman Theatre School in Chicago. She went on to appear around the country in theatre productions, and thought of herself primarily as a stage actress. Her experience resulted in "Pretty Fire," a one-person play she wrote in which she played 32 characters following the life of a girl from birth to age 11, and based on her own childhood in Albany, NY. It premiered at a small Los Angeles theatre, then moved to New York, playing Off-Broadway. Woodard won Los Angeles Critics Circle Awards for both the production and the play itself.Woodard's TV work was...

With her wiry, some might say bony, body, and sparkling smile, Charlayne Woodard was a marked contrast to fleshy Nell Carter and Armelia McQueen when the three women starred together on Broadway in "Ain't Misbehavin'" (1977-78). At first, Carter got most of the applause--and the Tony Award to take home--but after more than a decade of celebrated theatre work, Woodard began to make a name for herself in TV and motion pictures, often in key supporting roles. Intermittently in her early career she sometimes used the birth spelling of her name, "Charlaine."

Woodard had actually won her role in "Ain't Misbehavin'" two weeks after arriving in New York from the Goodman Theatre School in Chicago. She went on to appear around the country in theatre productions, and thought of herself primarily as a stage actress. Her experience resulted in "Pretty Fire," a one-person play she wrote in which she played 32 characters following the life of a girl from birth to age 11, and based on her own childhood in Albany, NY. It premiered at a small Los Angeles theatre, then moved to New York, playing Off-Broadway. Woodard won Los Angeles Critics Circle Awards for both the production and the play itself.

Woodard's TV work was somewhat sporadic until the 1990s. She broke in with "Cindy," a 1978 ABC send-up of the "Cinderella" fairy tale. In 1982, she was back with the Broadway cast of "Ain't Misbehavin'" for an NBC special and then was featured in numerous unsold pilots and made episodic guest appearances during the 80s. She did not permanently base in California until 1989, at which time she played a recurring role on "Quantum Leap" before joining the cast of the NBC soap opera "Days of Our Lives" (1991-92). Woodard has also made several appearances as Will's Aunt Janice in the NBC sitcom "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air" and she played the administrator of the frontier business in the 1994 CBS miniseries "Buffalo Girls," starring Melanie Griffith and Anjelica Huston. She also made a memorable guest appearance on episode of the NBC sitcom "Frasier," playing a taxi driver whose baby the Crane men find they must deliver. Woodard brought gravity and strength to her portrayal of an Olympic runner struggling with Graves' disease in the 1996 Showtime biopic "Run for the Dream: The Gail Devers Story." Later that year, she starred with Sherman Hemsley in the UPN sitcom "Goode Behavior," about a reporter whose father-in-law moves in with the family.

While a singing bit (alongside Nell Carter) in Milos Forman's "Hair" (1979) marked Woodard's screen debut, substantial roles did not come until the 90s. She was a fellow police officer to Michael Keaton in "One Good Cop" (1991), the nurse who taught Geena Davis to breast feed in "Angie" (1994) and a lesbian single mother in a support group that includes Sally Field in John Schlesinger's "Eye for an Eye" (1996). Woodard's most substantial screen role to date was as the slave Tituba in Nicholas Hytner's adaptation of Arthur Miller's "The Crucible" (also 1996).

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Lackawanna Blues (2005) Cast
3.
 DC Sniper: 21 Days of Terror (2003) Mildred
4.
 Sunshine State (2002) Loretta
5.
 Unbreakable (2000) Elijah'S Mother
6.
 Million Dollar Hotel, The (2000) Jean Swift
7.
 Around the Fire (1998)
8.
 Touched By Evil (1997) Adrienne Duvall
9.
 Crucible, The (1996) Tituba
10.
 Eye for An Eye (1996) Angel Kosinsky
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1977:
Broadway debut, "Ain't Misbehavin'"
1978:
TV debut, "Cindy"
1979:
Film debut, bit, "Hair"
1982:
Appeared in TV version of "Ain't Misbehavin'"
1991:
Cast as a regular on the NBC daytime drama "Days of Our Lives"
1991:
Co-starred opposite Michael Keaton, "One Good Cop"
1992:
Wrote and starred in the autobiographical one-person play, "Pretty Fire"
1994:
Co-starred in "Buffalo Girls" miniseries
:
Wrote and performed in "Next", a sequel to "Pretty Fire"
1996:
Cast in the pilot of the UPN sitcom "Goode Behavior"; succeded in role by Alex Datcher when series was picked up
2000:
Cast as Samuel L Jackson's mother in "Unbreakable"
2000:
Starred in one-woman show "In Real Life", a second sequel to "Pretty Fire" performed at Seattle Repertory Theater; reprised show in 2001 in L.A.
2002:
Co-starred with John Glover and Judith Light in the Off-Broadway staging of "Sorrows & Rejoicings"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

The Goodman School of Drama: Chicago , Illinois - 1977

Notes

"One thing I've never done is that thing of saying that because I'm black, this is not given to me. I always feel that my being an African American woman is an asset and that's what I take into my meetings."--Charlayne Woodard in Los Angeles Times, August 21, 1994.

"I will never stop doing theatre, never. The new challenge is, 'Can I make a living in film and television?' It's a different animal altogether and I've stopped beating that animal. You've got to get on it and ride it." --Charlayne Woodard in Los Angeles Times, August 21, 1994.

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
Alan Michael Harris. Attorney, screenwriter. Married at Big Sur ceremony, 1991; first date was to their high school senior prom.

Please support TCMDB by adding to this information.

Click here to contribute