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Angela Bassett
Angela Bassett

Birth Date: August 16, 1958

Birth Place: New York, New York, USA

Height: 5' 4"

Measurements: 34B-25-37

 

Angela Bassett Biography

A respected actress of the stage, screen, and television, Angela Bassett has specialized in playing strong women familiar with adversity and has worked in genres from "chick flick" (Waiting to Exhale) to sci-fi action (Strange Days) to biography (What's Love Got to Do with It?), the last of which featured her in a star-making performance as Tina Turner.

Born in New York City on August 16, 1958, Bassett was raised in St. Petersburg, Florida by her mother. Growing up in a household where money was tight, she was taught determination and independence. These values were called into service after an eleventh grade Upward Bound trip to Washington, D.C., when Bassett saw James Earl Jones in a Kennedy Center production of Of Mice and Men. Deciding that acting was her calling, she became involved in a number of local productions in St. Petersburg. She continued to act at Yale University, where she earned a scholarship; after completing a B.A. in African-American studies, she also spent three years at the Yale School of Drama. One of Bassett's mentors at Yale was the drama school's dean, stage director Lloyd Richards, who was so impressed with her talent that he cast her in two of his productions, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom and Joe Turner's Come and Gone. Although she enjoyed relative success on the stage, Bassett had a difficult time finding roles in television and film.

In 1986, Bassett made her screen debut in the cult favorite F/X. Following supporting roles in Kindergarten Cop (1990) and John Sayles' City of Hope (1991), she had her first significant screen role in John Singleton's acclaimed Boyz 'N the Hood, playing a struggling single mother. Two years later, after playing the wife of civil rights leader Malcolm X in Spike Lee's biopic and the Jackson Family matriarch in the made-for-TV The Jacksons: An American Dream, Bassett had her screen breakthrough as Tina Turner in What's Love Got to Do with It?, a performance that earned her a Best Actress Oscar nomination and a Golden Globe.

As her newfound status allowed her to expand her range of work, Bassett went on to star in a series of diverse films. In 1995, a foray into futuristic action in Strange Days was complemented by a lead in the successful women's ensemble drama Waiting to Exhale (based on the novel by Terry McMillan), in which Bassett starred alongside Whitney Houston, Lela Rochon, and Loretta Devine. In 1998, she starred as the title character in another McMillan adaptation, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, playing a divorcee whose discontent is ably assuaged by a hunky twenty-year-old (Taye Diggs). The following year, she had a supporting role in Music of the Heart and again tried her hand at action in Supernova, a sci-fi thriller. Starring in former Orson Welles collaborator and blacklisted director John Beery's critically panned swansong Boesman and Lena in 2001, Bassett and co-star Danny Glover earned praise for their sensitive performances as a troubled South African couple striving to seek stability in the face of Apatheid.

Since 1997, Bassett has been married to actor Courtney B. Vance, whom she had known since their days at Yale.

Angela Bassett Filmography

Toussaint (2009) .... Suzanne Louverture
Nothing But the Truth (2008) .... Bonnie Benjamin
Meet the Browns (2008) .... Brenda
Of Boys and Men (2008) .... Rieta Cole
Gospel Hill (2008) .... Sarah Malcolm
Meet the Robinsons (aka Beetle) (2007) .... Mildred (voice)
Time Bomb (2006) (TV) .... Jill Greco
Akeelah and the Bee (2006) .... Tanya
Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005) .... Mr. Smith's Boss (voice) (uncredited)
Alias (TV series) .... CIA Director Hayden Chase (4 episodes, 2005)
Mr 3000 (2004) .... Maureen "Mo" Simmons
The Lazarus Child (aka The Last Door) (2004) .... Dr. Elizabeth Chase
Masked and Anonymous (2003) .... Mistress
Freedom: A History of Us (TV series) .... Melba Pattillo (2 episodes, 2003)
Sunshine State (2002) .... Desiree Perry
The Rosa Parks Story (2002) (TV) .... Rosa McCauley Parks
Ruby's Bucket of Blood (2001) (TV) .... Ruby Delacroix
The Score (2001) .... Diane
Boesman and Lena (2000) .... Lena
Whispers: An Elephant's Tale (2000) .... Groove (voice)
Supernova (2000/I) .... Dr. Kaela Evers
Music of the Heart (1999) .... Principal Janet Williams
Our Friend, Martin (1999) .... Miles' Mom (voice)
How Stella Got Her Groove Back (1998) .... Stella Payne
Contact (1997) .... Rachel Constantine
Waiting to Exhale (1995) .... Bernadine 'Bernie' Harris
Strange Days (1995) .... Lornette 'Mace' Mason
Panther (1995) .... Dr. Betty Shabazz
Vampire in Brooklyn (1995) .... Det. Rita Veder
What's Love Got to Do with It (1993) .... Anna Mae Bullock / Tina Turner
Malcolm X (1992) .... Dr. Betty Shabazz
The Jacksons: An American Dream (1992) (TV) .... Katherine Jackson
Innocent Blood (aka A French Vampire in America) (1992) .... U.S. Attorney Sinclair
Passion Fish (1992) .... Dawn/Rhonda
Nightmare Cafe (TV series) .... Evelyn (1 episode, "Sanctuary for a Child" 1992)
One Special Victory (1991) (TV) .... Lois
Locked Up: A Mother's Rage (aka Other Side of Love) (1991) (TV) .... Willie
City of Hope (1991) .... Reesha
The Heroes of Desert Storm (1991) (TV) .... Lt. Phoebe Jeter
Boyz n the Hood (1991) .... Reva Devereaux
Stat (TV series) .... Dr. Willie Burns (1 episode, "Ladyfinger" 1991)
Fire: Trapped on the 37th Floor (1991) (TV) .... Allison
The Flash (TV series) .... Linda Lake (1 episode, "Beat the Clock" 1991)
Line of Fire: The Morris Dees Story (aka Blind Hate) (1991) (TV) .... Pat
Critters 4 (aka Critters 4: They're Invading Your Space) (1991) .... Fran
Kindergarten Cop (1990) (uncredited) .... Stewardess
Perry Mason: The Case of the Silenced Singer (1990) (TV) .... Carla Peters
In the Best Interest of the Child (1990) (TV) .... Lori
Challenger (1990) (TV) .... Cheryl McNair
Alien Nation (TV series) .... Renee Longstreet (1 episode, "Eyewitness News" 1990)
Family of Spies (1990) (TV) .... Bev Andress
thirtysomething (TV series) .... Kate Harriton (1 episode, "Legacy" 1989)
227 (TV series) .... Amy Burnett (1 episode, "A Pampered Tale" 1989)
Tour of Duty (TV series) .... Lt. Camilla Patterson (2 episodes, 1989)
A Man Called Hawk (TV series) .... Bailey Webster (2 episodes, 1989)
The Cosby Show (TV series) .... Mrs. Mitchell (2 episodes, 1985 & 1988)
Ryan's Hope (TV series) .... Leonie Peach (1987)
Liberty (1986) (TV) .... Linda Thornton
F/X (aka Murder by Illusion, aka F/X - Murder by Illusion) (1986) .... TV reporter
Spenser: For Hire (TV series) .... Joe's Daughter (1 episode, "The Choice" 1985)
Doubletake (1985) (TV) .... Prostitute at Headquarters

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