Alfre Woodard is an American actress who is known for her intense and versatile performances on stage, TV and film. She was born on November 8, 1952 in Tulsa, Oklahoma and is the youngest of three children. She studied drama at Boston University and made her theatre debut in 1974. Her first breakthrough performance was in 1977, in an off Broadway production called “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf”. Her film debut followed next year in a television movie starring opposite Samuel L. Jackson.
During the 1980s, she ventured into several genres of acting including comedy and drama. These included roles in the comedy film “Heath”, the NBC miniseries “The Sophisticated Gents” and the film “Cross Creek” (for which she received a nomination for Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress). She won her first Emmy Award in 1983 for playing the role of Doris Robson in the NBC drama “Hill Street Blues”. Her other Emmy nominations include the films “Words by Heart” in 1985, “Unnatural Causes” in 1986, and “A Mother’s Courage: The Mary Thomas Story” in 1989. In 1986, she won a “Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series” for playing the role of a woman dying of leukemia in the NBC drama “L.A. Law”. She was also cast on the NBC medical drama “St. Elsewhere” in which she starred opposite Denzel Washington. For this show, she received nominations for “Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series” in 1986, and for “Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series” in 1988.
One of her best known roles in film is that of political activist Winnie Mandela (Nelson Mandela’s wife) in the HBO film “Mandela”. She learnt to imitate Winnie Mandela’s accent by watching tapes of her speeches and news clips. For this performance she received a “CableACE Award” and an “NAACP Image Award” in the Outstanding Lead Actress category. Another critically acclaimed performance includes the role of a nurse in the film “Passion Fish” for which she received her first Golden