Lorraine Toussaint

Lorraine Toussaint Headshot

Actress • Producer

Birth Date: April 4, 1960

Age: 63 years old

Birth Place: Trinidad, British West Indies

A commanding character actress with a powerful screen presence, Lorraine Toussaint graduated from Juilliard and built a theatrical career as a Shakespearean actress before she tackled screen acting, landing supporting roles in such films as "Hudson Hawk" (1991), "Point of No Return" (1993) and "Dangerous Minds" (1995) and a series regular role opposite Annie Potts on the then-and-now best friends drama "Any Day Now" (Lifetime, 1998-2002), for which she earned five Outstanding Lead Actress Image Award nominations. She recurred on "Law & Order" (NBC, 1990-2010), "Ugly Betty" (ABC, 2006-2010) and "Friday Night Lights" (NBC, 2006-08; The 101 Network, 2008-2011), earned a series regular role opposite Holly Hunter on "Saving Grace" (TNT, 2007-2010) and notched a supporting turn in the Jamie Fox/Robert Downey, Jr. drama "The Soloist" (2009). An immensely gifted actress who had long flown under the radar, Toussaint earned a massive critical boost with her powerful supporting turn in the indie "Middle of Nowhere" (2012), as a hardworking mother who struggles to support her daughter's (Emayatzy Corinealdi) decision to put her life on hold to support her incarcerated husband (Omari Hardwick). One of the best and most striking character actresses in the business, Lorraine Toussaint left many critics and fans hoping her considerable talents would be even more widely recognized.

Born April 4, 1960 in Trinidad, Trinidad & Tobago, Lorraine Toussaint moved to Brooklyn, NY as a child and went on to earn dramatic training, graduating from the famed High School of Performing Arts as well as Juilliard. After a successful stage career that included multiple Shakespearean roles, Toussaint made her screen debut in the Dianne Wiest-starring telefilm "The Face of Rage" (ABC, 1983) and worked her way up to a series regular role on the soap opera "One Life to Live" (ABC, 1968-2012) and a supporting role as superspy Almond Joy in the epic Bruce Willis bomb "Hudson Hawk" (1991). Working steadily, Toussaint landed roles in such high-profile telefare as "Queen" (CBS, 1993), "Class of '61" (ABC, 1993) and on the sitcom "The Sinbad Show" (Fox, 1993-94) as well as supporting roles in the big-screen thrillers "Point of No Return" (1993) and "Mother's Boys" (1994). She landed series regular roles on the Doug. E. Doug sitcom "Where I Live" (ABC, 1993) and the Patty Duke drama "Amazing Grace" (NBC, 2005), took a supporting role in "Dangerous Minds" (1995) and recurred on "Murder One" (ABC, 1995-97).

As a successful journeywoman actress, Toussaint went on to book roles in the telefilms "If These Walls Could Talk" (HBO, 1996) and "The Cherokee Kid" (HBO, 1996) as well as a regular role on the series "Leaving L.A." (ABC, 1997), and returned to the big screen in the Patrick Swayze trucker thriller "Black Dog" (1998). That same year, however, she landed a breakout role opposite Annie Potts on the acclaimed drama series "Any Day Now" (Lifetime, 1998-2002). The show followed lifelong friends and Alabama natives Rene (Toussaint) and M.E. (Potts) in both their current day timelines as adults and in their 1960s childhoods, touching on such issues as race, class and women's rights. Impressing fans and critics alike for her powerful work as an ambitious, overachieving lawyer, Toussaint earned five Outstanding Lead Actress Image Award nominations. After the series ended its run when Potts left to focus on her family, Toussaint booked recurring roles on "Crossing Jordan" (NBC, 2001-07), "Law & Order" (NBC, 1990-2010) and "Threat Matrix" (ABC, 2003-04) and essayed a supporting turn in the Oprah Winfrey-produced adaptation of "Their Eyes Were Watching God" (ABC, 2005).

After recurring on "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" (CBS, 2000-15) and "Ugly Betty" (ABC, 2006-2010), she played Jamie Foxx's mother in the based-on-real-life story of a homeless musical prodigy, "The Soloist" (2009) and booked a series regular role as a police captain on the Holly Hunter drama "Saving Grace" (TNT, 2007-2010). She impressed critics and fans alike with a sensitive performance as the mother of Jess (Jurnee Smollett) on "Friday Night Lights" (NBC, 2006-08; The 101 Network, 2008-2011) and continued to line up guest spots on everything from "Grey's Anatomy" (ABC, 2005- ), "Drop Dead Diva" (Lifetime, 2009-14) and "Scandal" (ABC, 2012- ). After a career of accomplished, masterful performances that earned her excellent reviews, Toussaint reached a new high-water mark with her star-making performance in Ava DuVernay's indie "Middle of Nowhere" (2012), the story of a young wife (Emayatzy Corinealdi) who makes life-changing sacrifices to support her incarcerated husband, which causes friction with her mother (Toussaint). For her powerful performance, Toussaint earned an Indie Spirit Award nod for Best Supporting Actress. After guest arcs on the procedural crime drama "Body of Proof" (ABC 2011-13) and family drama "The Fosters" (ABC Family 2013- ), Toussaint joined the cast of the comedy drama "Orange is the New Black" (Netflix 2013- ) for its second season, playing the drug-running prisoner Yvonne Parker.

By Jonathan Riggs

Credits

NimonaStream

Voice
Queen Valerin
Movie
2023
94%

Star Wars: VisionsStream

Voice
Masago
Series
2021
98%

Cinema Toast

Voice
Mother
Show
2021

The EqualizerStream

Actor
Viola "Vi" Marsette
Series
2021

The Glorias

Actor
Flo Kennedy
Movie
2020

Concrete CowboyStream

Actor
Nessie
Movie
2020
80%

The VillageStream

Actor
Patricia Davis
Series
2019

The Village

Actor
Show
2019

The Village: Extras

Actor
Show
2019

Scary Stories to Tell in the DarkStream

Actor
Lou Lou
Movie
2019
77%

She-Ra and the Princesses of PowerStream

Voice
Shadow Weaver
Series
2018
96%

Summer Camp IslandStream

Actor
Series
2018

Big City GreensStream

Guest Voice
Series
2018

Fast ColorStream

Actor
Bo
Movie
2018
81%

Sprinter

Actor
Donna Sharp
Movie
2018

Access Live

Guest
Show
2017

Live with Kelly and Ryan

Guest
Talk
2017

Shots FiredStream

Guest Star
Carole Moore
Series
2017
84%

Love Beats RhymesStream

Actor
Nichelle
Movie
2017
44%

Grace and FrankieStream

Guest Star
Rebecca
Series
2016
90%

Sophie and the Rising Sun

Actor
Salome Whitmore
Movie
2016

The Night Before With Cast Gag Reel

Actor
Mrs. Roberts
Show
2015

Into the BadlandsStream

Actor
Cressida
Series
2015
84%

Into the BadlandsStream

Guest Star
Cressida
Series
2015
84%

RosewoodStream

Actor
Donna Rosewood
Series
2015
9%

Rosewood: Extras

Actor
Show
2015

The Night BeforeStream

Actor
Mrs. Roberts
Movie
2015
68%

Runaway Island

Actor
Naomi Holloway
Movie
2015

Women of Power

Guest
Show
2014

Black-ishStream

Guest Star
Series
2014
92%

ForeverStream

Actor
Lt. Joanne Reece
Series
2014
57%

Hollywood Today Live

Guest
Show
2014

Chicago P.D.Stream

Guest Star
Shambala Green
Series
2014

Being Mary JaneStream

Guest Star
Series
2014

SelmaStream

Actor
Amelia Boynton
Movie
2014
99%

The Real

Guest
Talk
2013

Orange Is the New BlackStream

Actor
Series
2013
90%

Orange Is the New BlackStream

Guest
Series
2013
90%

Orange Is the New BlackStream

Guest Star
Series
2013
90%

The FostersStream

Guest Star
Series
2013

Steve Harvey

Guest
Talk
2012

ScandalStream

Guest Star
Series
2012
93%

The FinderStream

Guest Star
Series
2012

Middle of Nowhere

Actor
Ruth
Movie
2012

Body of ProofStream

Guest Star
Series
2011
76%

The Talk

Guest
Talk
2010

Access Hollywood Live

Guest
Show
2010

Three Rivers

Guest Star
Show
2009

Drop Dead DivaStream

Guest Star
Professor Ellen Daily
Series
2009
78%

The Wendy Williams Show

Guest
Talk
2008

Accidental Friendship

Executive Producer
Movie
2008

Saving GraceStream

Actor
Kate Perry
Series
2007
76%

Saving GraceStream

Guest Star
Kate Perry
Series
2007
76%

The Better Show

Guest
Show
2007

Friday Night LightsStream

Guest Star
Bird Merriweather
Series
2006
97%

Ugly BettyStream

Guest Star
Yoga
Series
2006
97%

The CloserStream

Guest Star
Deputy D.A. Powell
Series
2005
83%

Grey's AnatomyStream

Guest Star
Series
2005
84%

NUMB3RSStream

Guest Star
Series
2005

Their Eyes Were Watching God

Actor
Pearl Stone
Movie
2005

An Evening With Della Reese

Host
Show
2004

NCISStream

Guest Star
Deputy Director Donna Wolfson
Series
2003

Threat Matrix

Guest Star
Show
2003

Algún Día de Estos

Actor
Show
2002

Crossing JordanStream

Actor
Series
2001

CSI: Crime Scene InvestigationStream

Guest Star
Series
2000

Judging Amy

Guest Star
Series
1999

The Sky Is Falling

Actor
Janie
Movie
1999

Any Day Now

Actor
Rene Jackson
Series
1998

Blackout Effect

Actor
Kim Garfield
Movie
1998

C-16

Guest Star
Marsha Fontaine
Show
1997

Nothing Sacred

Guest Star
Series
1997
71%

Cracker

Guest Star
Show
1997

Leaving L.A.

Actor
Show
1997

Feds

Guest Star
Show
1997

Mr. & Mrs. Smith

Guest Star
Show
1996

Promised Land

Guest Star
Series
1996

The Good Doctor: The Paul Fleiss Story

Actor
Movie
1996

Nightjohn

Actor
Dealey
Movie
1996

If These Walls Could TalkStream

Actor
Shameeka Webb
Movie
1996
88%

The Cherokee Kid

Actor
Mama Turner
Movie
1996

Jaded

Actor
Carol Broker
Movie
1996

America's Dream

Actor
Philomena
Movie
1996

Murder OneStream

Guest Star
Series
1995
91%

Bless This House

Guest Star
Show
1995

Amazing Grace

Actor
Yvonne Price
Show
1995

Dangerous MindsStream

Actor
Irene Roberts
Movie
1995
33%

It Was Him or Us

Actor
Lt. Washington
Movie
1995

ERStream

Guest Star
Yolanda
Series
1994

A Time to Heal

Actor
Zelda
Movie
1994

White Man's Burden

Actor
Enid Sheperd
Movie
1994

FrasierStream

Guest Star
Nurse
Series
1993
95%

Where I Live

Actor
Marie St. Martin
Show
1993

Lies and Lullabies

Actor
Florence Crawford
Movie
1993

Class of '61

Actor
Sarah
Movie
1993

Point of No Return

Actor
Beth
Movie
1993

Bodies of Evidence

Actor
Series
1992

Trial: The Price of Passion

Actor
Show
1992

Hudson HawkStream

Actor
Almond Joy
Movie
1991
31%

Law & OrderStream

Guest Star
Series
1990

Common Ground

Actor
Alva
Show
1990

Breaking In

Actor
Delphine
Movie
1989

American MastersStream

Voice
Franchise
1986

227Stream

Guest Star
Series
1985

News aboutLorraine Toussaint