Danai Gurira

Danai Gurira Headshot

Actress

Birth Date: February 14, 1978

Age: 46 years old

Birth Place: Grinnell, Iowa

Actress and playwright Danai Gurira won critical acclaim with her first play, "In the Continuum" (2006), which addressed social and political issues in her parents' home country of Africa. She would pen two more well regarded works - 2009's "Eclipsed" and 2011's "The Convert, both of which concerned African issues - while enjoying a second career as an actress on television and in features like "The Visitor" (2009). Two years later, Gurira would enjoy her most prominent acting turn as the flinty zombie fighter Michonne on "The Walking Dead" (AMC, 2010- ). The positive response to her performance, in addition to her growing profile in the theater world, indicated that Gurira was poised for stardom in both mediums. Born Danai Jekesai Gurira on Feb. 14, 1978 in Grinnell, IA, she was the second of two children born to academic parents from Zimbabwe, who moved the family back to Africa when she was five years old. There, she enjoyed a happy childhood that soon became focused on performing. After high school, she returned to the United States, where she attended Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota before earning her masters degree in acting from the Tisch School at New York University. With Nikkole Salter, she wrote the off-Broadway play, "In the Continuum" (2006), about the lives of two women infected with HIV, which won the Obie and Outer Critics Circle Awards for writing, while Gurira herself claimed the Helen Hayes Award for Best Lead Actress in 2007. That same year, she made her feature film debut in "The Visitor" (2007) as a young Senegalese woman who helped a widowed economics professor (Richard Jenkins) find joy and purpose in his life. Minor roles in "Ghost Town" (2008) and Wes Craven's "My Soul to Take" (2010) soon followed, as did Gurira's Broadway debut as an actress in a production of August Wilson's "Joe Turner's Come and Gone" in 2009. That same year, she premiered her second play, "Eclipsed" (2009), about a quartet of women held captive by a rebel leader during the war in Liberia in 2003. The production won Best New Play at the 2010 Helen Hayes Awards as well as Best Playwright for Gurira from the NAACP Theater Awards that same year. In 2011, she appeared in William Shakespeare's "Measure for Measure" with the New York Shakespeare Festival, and then premiered her third play, "The Convert," about a teenage girl in 19th century Zimbabwe who turned to Christianity to evade an arranged marriage. Like its predecessors, the play won several major theater awards, including the 2011 Stavis Award and Edgerton Foundation New American Plays Award. After enjoying a supporting role in a six-episode story arc on "Treme" (HBO, 2010-13), Gurira earned her breakout screen role as Michonne, a tough, resourceful new character on the third season of "The Walking Dead"; Michonne immediately became not only a fan favorite, but one of the series' most important characters Gurira was subsequently cast as the lead in "Mother of George" (2013), an independent drama with an African setting. In addition to her acting and playwrighting careers, Gurira was co-founder of Almasi, an organization devoted to supporting arts education in Zimbabwe. In 2015, Gurira's fourth play, "Familiar," was produced. After playing the mother of iconic rapper Tupac Shakur in the biopic "All Eyez on Me" (2017), Gurira joined the cast of another international phenomenon with her role as Okoye in the blockbuster "Black Panther" (2018). She reprised the role later the same year in "Avengers: Infinity War" (2018).

Credits

The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live: Cast Diaries

Actor
Michonne
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2024

The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live: Cast Diaries

Executive Producer
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2024

The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live: Cast Diaries

Writer
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Actor
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Executive Producer
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The Walking Dead: Best of Michonne

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Docuseries
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Actor
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2020

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The Kelly Clarkson ShowStream

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We Have a Dream

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2019

Avengers: EndgameStream

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94%

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2018

Breaking BigStream

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Avengers: Infinity WarStream

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2018
85%

Black PantherStream

Actor
Okoye
Movie
2018
96%

Pop Life

Guest
Show
2017

Live with Kelly and Ryan

Guest
Talk
2017

All Eyez on MeStream

Actor
Afeni Shakur
Movie
2017
18%

The Walking Dead: The Journey So Far

Actor
Michonne
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2016

The Daily Show with Trevor NoahStream

Guest
Talk
2015

The Late Show With Stephen ColbertStream

Guest
Talk
2015

Close Up With The Hollywood Reporter

Guest
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2015

q

Guest
Show
2014

The Meredith Vieira Show

Guest
Talk
2014

The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy FallonStream

Guest
Talk
2014

Off Camera with Sam Jones

Self
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2014

The Social

Guest
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2013

The Walking Dead: Cast and Creators Live at PALEYFEST

Guest
Show
2013

The Walking Dead: Extras

Actor
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2013

Mother of George

Actor
Adenike Olumide Balogen
Movie
2013

Katie

Guest
Talk
2012

Live! With Kelly and Michael

Guest
Talk
2012

Larry King NowStream

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Talk
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LIVE with Kelly

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Talk
2011

The Jonathan Ross ShowStream

Guest
Talk
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The Marilyn Denis Show

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Restless City

Actor
Sisi
Movie
2011

ConanStream

Guest
Talk
2010

The Walking DeadStream

Actor
Michonne
Series
2010
79%

The Walking DeadStream

Guest
Michonne
Series
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79%

TremeStream

Guest Star
Jill
Series
2010
97%

3 Backyards

Actor
Woman in Blue Dress
Movie
2010

My Soul to Take

Actor
Jeanne-Baptiste
Movie
2010

Lie to MeStream

Guest Star
Michelle Russo
Series
2009

Life on MarsStream

Guest Star
Series
2008

The VisitorStream

Actor
Zainab
Movie
2007
90%

etalk

Guest
Show
2006

Tavis Smiley

Guest
Talk
2004

The Ellen DeGeneres Show

Guest
Talk
2003

Jimmy Kimmel Live!Stream

Guest
Talk
2003

Last Call With Carson Daly

Guest
Talk
2002

The View

Guest
Talk
1997

Theater Talk

Guest
Show
1996

Inside the Actors Studio

Guest
Talk
1994

Charlie RoseStream

Guest
Talk
1991

Law & OrderStream

Guest Star
Series
1990

Good Morning America

Guest
News
1975

Great PerformancesStream

Actor
Richard III
Franchise
1972

News aboutDanai Gurira

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