Anna Deavere Smith

Anna Deavere Smith Headshot

Actress • Educator

Birth Date: September 18, 1950

Age: 73 years old

Birth Place: Baltimore, Maryland

Known just as well for her socially relevant work as a playwright as for her stunning reputation as an actor, Anna Deavere Smith was born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1950. After graduating from Arcadia University with her Bachelor's in 1971, she earned an MFA in acting from American Conservatory Theater and embarked upon a career as a professional actor. Though she would earn quick notoriety for playing Glamorama the Shampoo Girl on the soap opera "All My Children" (ABC, 1970-2011) in 1970, Deavere Smith would find a real home on the stage, appearing in productions like the Riverside Shakespeare's "The Merry Wives of Windsor" and The American Place Theatre's "Aye, Aye, Aye, I'm Integrated." In 1992, she wrote and starred in "Fires in the Mirror," her first of several one-woman-shows written in the documentary theater style, with Deavere Smith portraying several real-life people who survived a socially tumultuous historical event. She would earn tremendous acclaim with several such plays including "Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992," "The Arizona Project," "Let Me Down Easy," and "On Grace." Deavere Smith has also consistently worked as a college professor, teaching at Stanford University, the University of Southern California, Carnegie Mellon University, and NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, in addition to enjoying a successful career on screen. She notably appeared in the White House films "Dave" (1993) and "The American President" (1995) before joining the cast of the presidential series "The West Wing" (NBC, 1999-2006). She later co-starred on the series "Nurse Jackie" (Showtime, 2009-2015). In 2018, Deavere Smith appeared in the biographical dramedy "Can You Ever Forgive Me?"

Credits

Inventing AnnaStream

Actor
Maud
Series
2022
64%

Here Today

Actor
Dr. Vidor
Movie
2021

United in Song: Celebrating the Resilience of America

Guest
Show
2020

Tell Me More With Kelly Corrigan

Guest
Show
2020

Flora and Ulysses

Actor
Dr. Meescham
Movie
2020

Poetry in America

Guest
Show
2018

For the PeopleStream

Actor
Tina Krissman
Series
2018
69%

For the People: Extras

Actor
Show
2018

Can You Ever Forgive Me?Stream

Actor
Elaine
Movie
2018
98%

Notes From the FieldStream

Actor
Movie
2018
100%

Notes From the FieldStream

Executive Producer
Movie
2018
100%

Notes From the FieldStream

Screenwriter
Movie
2018
100%

TED Talks

Guest
Show
2016

DC's Legends of TomorrowStream

Guest Star
Older Kendra
Series
2016
89%

StarTalkStream

Guest
Docuseries
2015

Black-ishStream

Guest Star
Series
2014
92%

Madam SecretaryStream

Guest Star
Mary Campbell
Series
2014

Anna Deavere Smith: A YoungArts Masterclass

Actor
Show
2014

Mariachi High -- PBS Arts

Host
Show
2012

Finding Your RootsStream

Guest
Reality
2012

Lidia Celebrates AmericaStream

Guest
Series
2011

Real Time With Bill Maher Overtime

Guest
Show
2011

The Gayle King Show

Guest
Show
2011

The Talk

Guest
Talk
2010

Nurse JackieStream

Actor
Gloria Akalitus
Series
2009
81%

Rachel Getting MarriedStream

Actor
Carol
Movie
2008
84%

The KingdomStream

Actor
Maricella Canavesio
Movie
2007
52%

Life Support

Actor
Lucille
Movie
2007

The Mystery of Love

Host
Show
2006

Tavis Smiley

Guest
Talk
2004

Real Time With Bill MaherStream

Guest
Talk
2003

The Human Stain

Actor
Mrs. Silk
Movie
2003

Presidio Med

Actor
Dr. Letty Jordan
Show
2002

Stage on Screen: Twilight: Los Angeles

Actor
Show
2001

Stage on Screen: Twilight: Los Angeles

Producer
Show
2001

Stage on Screen: Twilight: Los Angeles

Writer
Show
2001

Twilight: Los Angeles

Actor
Performer
Movie
2000

Twilight: Los Angeles

Producer
Movie
2000

The West WingStream

Guest Star
Nancy McNally
Series
1999
81%

Law & Order: Special Victims UnitStream

Guest Star
Series
1999
78%

The PracticeStream

Guest Star
Series
1997

The American PresidentStream

Actor
Robin McCall
Movie
1995
91%

DaveStream

Actor
Mrs. Travis
Movie
1993
95%

PhiladelphiaStream

Actor
Anthea Burton
Movie
1993
81%

Fires in the Mirror

Actor
Movie
1993

Soup for One

Actor
Deborah
Movie
1982

Great PerformancesStream

Actor
Franchise
1972

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