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Marianne Jean-Baptiste

Marianne Jean-Baptiste

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Also Known As: Died:
Born: April 26, 1967 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: London, England, GB Profession: actor, singer, composer, playwright

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Possessed with an innate dignity and mellifluous voice, Marianne Jean-Baptiste rose to critical prominence with her supporting role in the British family drama "Secrets & Lies" (1996), followed by wider recognition in the United States on the crime series "Without a Trace" (CBS, 2002-09). Classically trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in her hometown of London, she became the first black woman from the UK to be nominated for an Oscar, with her effortlessly naturalistic performance in Mike Leigh's "Secrets & Lies." The multi-talented Jean-Baptiste also managed to write the musical score for Leigh's next picture, "Career Girls" (1997), in addition to releasing her own blues album in between acting jobs. After several years of lesser roles, she gave a heartrending portrayal as a mother seeking justice for her slain son in the telepic "The Murder of Stephen Lawrence" (PBS, 2002), just prior to her breakout role as FBI Agent Vivian Johnson on "Without a Trace." As she continued to make appearances in such fare as the sci-fi family adventure "City of Ember" (2008) and the crime thriller "Takers" (2010), Jean-Baptiste awaited the next role that would more fully utilize her considerable talent and...

Possessed with an innate dignity and mellifluous voice, Marianne Jean-Baptiste rose to critical prominence with her supporting role in the British family drama "Secrets & Lies" (1996), followed by wider recognition in the United States on the crime series "Without a Trace" (CBS, 2002-09). Classically trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in her hometown of London, she became the first black woman from the UK to be nominated for an Oscar, with her effortlessly naturalistic performance in Mike Leigh's "Secrets & Lies." The multi-talented Jean-Baptiste also managed to write the musical score for Leigh's next picture, "Career Girls" (1997), in addition to releasing her own blues album in between acting jobs. After several years of lesser roles, she gave a heartrending portrayal as a mother seeking justice for her slain son in the telepic "The Murder of Stephen Lawrence" (PBS, 2002), just prior to her breakout role as FBI Agent Vivian Johnson on "Without a Trace." As she continued to make appearances in such fare as the sci-fi family adventure "City of Ember" (2008) and the crime thriller "Takers" (2010), Jean-Baptiste awaited the next role that would more fully utilize her considerable talent and relatable screen presence.

Born Marianne Raigipcien Jean-Baptiste on April 26, 1967 in London, England, she was the daughter of a construction worker and psychiatric nurse, from who she inherited her Antiguan and St. Lucian lineage. Determined to become a performer from an early age, Jean-Baptiste enrolled in London's prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Art where she received her classical training and performed at the Royal National Theatre. While attending the Royal Academy, the ambitious student wrote and performed a one-woman show titled "Ave Africa" in 1991. That same year, Jean-Baptiste made her feature film debut with a bit part in the independent UK effort "London Kills Me" (1991), a black comedy about drug-abusing youths in London's underground. Prefacing her future collaboration with the director, she appeared on stage in Mike Leigh's production of "It's a Great Big Shame" in 1993. Other theatrical work at the time included portraying Mariana and Mistress Overdone in a 1994 production of Shakespeare's "Measure for Measure" with the Cheek by Jowl Theatre Company. Jean-Baptiste's breakthrough film role came with the release of Mike Leigh's acclaimed "Secrets & Lies" (1996). In the film she played Hortense, a successful Afro-British woman who seeks out her birth mother, only to be stunned when she discovers her to be a lower-class alcoholic white lady (Brenda Blethyn). As Hortense is slowly introduced to her birth mother's other relations, she is confronted by a fractured family unit stifled by unaired emotions and buried truths, all of which manifest in anger and hostility.

"Secrets & Lies" went on to become a darling with the critics, winning the Palme d'Or at the 1996 Cannes Film Festival and garnering several Academy Award nominations, including one for Best Supporting Actress for Jean-Baptiste. An accomplished musician and singer, she composed the score for Leigh's next film, the comedy-drama "Career Girls" (1997). Jean-Baptiste followed with a role in writer-director Noah Baumbach's third film, "Mr. Jealousy" (1998), a dysfunctional romantic comedy starring Eric Stoltz and Annabella Sciorra. On television, she appeared as Halle Berry's sister in the Oprah Winfrey-produced "The Wedding" (ABC, 1998), a drama delving into matters of racial pride and social status for an African-American family on the affluent East Coast conclave of Martha's Vineyard in 1953. Jean-Baptiste next played the friend of Cuba Gooding, Jr., a man framed for murder via a novel that he stole credit for writing, in the made-for-cable thriller "A Murder of Crows" (Cinemax, 1999). She also appeared as a frazzled working mother in the comedy-drama "The 24 Hour Woman" (1999), starring Rosie Perez as a radio show producer expecting a child of her own. She quickly followed with a turn as a mother trying to get sober for the sake of her children in the Sandra Bullock dramatic vehicle "28 Days" (2000), as well as a supporting role in the visually arresting, albeit poorly received, science-fiction thriller "The Cell" (2000), starring Jennifer Lopez.

Jean-Baptiste began the new decade with a small role as Robert Redford's secretary in the espionage thriller, "Spy Game" (2001), which co-starred Brad Pitt as Redford's young spy-in-training. It was in the British made-for-television movie "The Murder of Stephen Lawrence" (PBS, 2002), however, where the actress was truly given an opportunity to shine for the first time since "Secrets & Lies." Written and directed by Paul Greengrass for "Masterpiece Theater," the based-in-fact film took an almost documentarian approach to the tragic events leading up to and after the murder of a black UK youth (Leon Black) by a group of white street thugs. As Lawrence's parents (Jean-Baptiste and Hugh Quarshie) sought justice, they were stonewalled by a police force rife with racial bias. On American airwaves, Jean-Baptiste made her debut as a regular cast member on the police procedural "Without a Trace" (CBS, 2002-09). For seven seasons, she played FBI Agent Vivian Johnson, second in command of the New York City missing persons case squad. A devoted wife and mother coping with a serious heart condition, Jean-Baptiste's character marked an all-too-rare depiction of a strong, relatable woman on television. During the final season of the series, she returned to feature films with a small role as a kindly gardener in the futuristic fable "City of Ember" (2008), and returned post-"Without a Trace" as the drug addict sister of a professional bank robber in the heist movie "Takers" (2010).

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Peter Rabbit (2018)
2.
 Peter Rabbit (2018)
3.
 In Fabric (2018)
4.
 RoboCop (2014)
5.
 Edge of Tomorrow (2014)
6.
 Won't Back Down (2012)
7.
 Takers (2010)
8.
 Moment, The (2009)
9.
 City of Ember (2008)
10.
 Jam (2007)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1998:
Was featured in the Oprah Winfrey-produced ABC miniseries "The Wedding"
1999:
Cast as the mother of a black teen who was stabbed to death in a racial incident in "The Murder of Stephen Lawrence" (ITV), based on a well-known real-life case in London; aired on PBS in 2002
2000:
Played a scientist who oversees a mind transfer between a serial killer and a psychiatrist in "The Cell"
1999:
Co-starred in "The 24 Hour Woman" as the personal assistant to a TV host
2002:
Co-starred on the CBS mystery drama series "Without A Trace"
2001:
Portrayed the loyal secretary to a CIA agent in "Spy Game"
2000:
Appeared opposite Sandra Bullock in "28 Days"
2010:
Appeared in the ensemble crime thriller "Takers"
2011:
Had a guest role on biker drama "Sons of Anarchy"
2014:
Had an uncredited role in sci-fi hit "Edge of Tomorrow"
2017:
Cast as Deputy Chief Joy Lockhart on the series adaptation of "Training Day"
2018:
Appeared in family feature "Peter Rabbit"
1993:
Appeared in the play "It's a Great Big Shame", directed by Mike Leigh
1991:
Made feature film debut in bit part in "London Kills Me", directed by Hanif Kureishi
2001:
Appeared in "The Vagina Monologues" in London
1996:
Garnered international recognition for co-starring role in Leigh's "Secrets & Lies"; received Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for her role as an adoptee who finds her birth mother
1991:
Wrote and starred in one-woman show "Ave Africa" while still attending RADA
2015:
Cast as Sharon Bishop on "Broadchurch"
2015:
Starred as Bethany Mayfair on "Blindspot"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Royal Academy of Dramatic Art: London, England -
Center For Advanced Film Studies, American Film Institute: - 2008

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
Evan Williams. Ballet dancer.

Family close complete family listing

daughter:
Pascale Williams. Born c. April 1997.

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