Tamara Tunie was an award-winning American actress who enjoyed a prolific career on stage, film, and TV, but was perhaps best known for her long-running roles on "As the World Turns" (CBS, 1954-2010) and "Law & Order: SVU" (NBC, 1999-). Born on March 14, 1959 in McKeesport, PA, Tunie grew up an only child in nearby Homestead. After earning her BFA in Musical Theatre from Carnegie Mellon University, Tunie set off to Los Angeles to begin acting professionally. She found work quickly, making her TV debut on an episode of "Spenser: For Hire" (ABC, 1985-1988), and her film debut the next year, appearing first in "Sweet Lorraine" (1987), before taking on a small role in Oliver Stone's Oscar winning drama "Wall Street" (1987). Tunie was on a roll: she soon found the part that would sustain her for the next eight years, playing Jessica Griffin on the classic daytime soap opera "As the World Turns" (CBS, 1954-2010). During this time, Tunie also appeared in such films as "Bloodhounds of Broadway" (1989), and "Rising Sun" (1993), while guesting on the TV shows "Tribeca" (FOX, 1993), "NYPD Blue" (ABC, 1993-2005), and "SeaQuest DSV" (NBC, 1993-1996). After her initial run on "World" ended, Tunie continued to work on TV, making appearances on "Swift Justice" (UPN, 1996), "Law & Order" (NBC, 1990-2010), "Chicago Hope" (CBS, 1994-2000), and "Sex and the City" (HBO, 1998-2004). She worked twice with Al Pacino, appearing in his films "City Hall" (1996) and "The Devil's Advocate" (1997), while also acting in the likes of "Eve's Bayou" (1997), "The Peacemaker" (1997), "Snake Eyes" (1998), and "The Caveman's Valentine" (2001), for which she received an Independent Spirit Award nomination. Around this time, Tunie first appeared on "Law & Order: SVU" (NBC, 1999-), as medical examiner Melinda Warner, a character she would continue to reprise over the next two decades, eventually appearing in 170 episodes and counting. Speaking of reprising characters, Tunie shocked and delighted soap opera viewers when she returned to "As the World Turns" (CBS, 1954-2010), playing Jessica Griffin on and off again for the next nine years. Meanwhile, Tunie also enjoyed an arc on the first season of "24" (FOX, 2001-2010), won a Tony award for her performance in "Spring Awakening" (2007), produced and directed her first film, "See You in September" (2010), and co-starred with Denzel Washington in the drama "Flight" (2012). Most recently, Tunie could be seen in the Netflix romantic dramedy film "Irreplaceable You" (2018), and in a guest spot on the third season of "Better Call Saul" (AMC, 2015-).
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Portrayed Jessica Griffin on "As the World Turns"
Reprised Jessica Griffin on "As the World Turns"