Alfre Woodard

Alfre Woodard


Life Story

Alfre Woodard was born on November 8, 1952 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the youngest of three children of Constance, a homemaker, and Marion H. Woodard, an interior designer. She was named by her godmother, who claimed she saw a vision of Alfre's name written out in gold letters. A former high school cheerleader and track star, she got the acting bug after being persuaded to audition for a school play by a nun at her school. She went on to study acting at Boston University and enjoyed a brief stint on Broadway before moving to Los Angeles, California. She got her first break in Remember My Name (1978) which also starred Jeff Goldblum. She lives in Santa Monica, California with her husband, writer Roderick M. Spencer, and their two adopted children: Mavis and Duncan. She was named one of the Most Beautiful People in America by People Magazine.


Roderick M. Spencer (21 October 1983 - present) ( 2 children)


She was so impressed with the script of the independent film Follow Me Home (1996), that she offered to play the role of Evey without pay; much to the delight and awe of filmmaker Peter Bratt.
Has played Dr. Roxanne Turner on St. Elsewhere (1982) and years later in an episode of Homicide: Life on the Street (1993). Tom Fontana was a writer for the first, and an executive producer for the second.
As of September 13, 2003, she now holds the record of being the most honored African American actress in Primetime Emmy Award history. Until her win (as Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series for The Practice (1997)), she was tied with Cicely Tyson at three Primetime Emmy Awards apiece. She won her first Primetime Emmy Award in 1984 as Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for a three-episode guest stint on Hill Street Blues (1981), as the mother of a young boy accidentally killed by a police officer. Her second Primetime Emmy Award came in 1986 as Outstanding Guest Performer in a Drama Series (a category which has since been split into male and female equivalents) for the pilot episode of L.A. Law (1986) playing a woman dying of leukemia who claims to have been a victim of gang rape. In 1997, she won her third Primetime Emmy Award for Miss Evers' Boys (1997) against stiff competition from the likes of Meryl Streep, Glenn Close and Stockard Channing.
Among the Star Trek toys released for the film Star Trek: First Contact (1996), an action figure was made of Alfre in the likeness of her character in the film, Lily Sloane.
She and Felicity Huffman are the only two cast members of Desperate Housewives (2004) to have Oscar nominations.

Personal Quotes 

[on her marriage] We were both taught, "You pick your friends on how they treat you - not by what they have or what they look like". We get twice the cultures.
I'm a mom and a wife. That's what I do in the world. That's my identity. Second, I'm an actor.
[on Bérénice Bejo's performance in The Past (2013)] As Marie in Asghar Farhadi's "The Past," Bérénice Bejo has a daunting task. She plays a woman in an increasingly grim dilemma, which is largely of her own making. Yet somehow, in her passionate eyes, we see glimpses of Marie's hope for, and even belief in, a loving future for herself and her family. Such are Bérénice's gifts that her performance remains unadorned, yet deeply layered. So the film's increasingly tragic revelations feel at once inevitable and utterly surprising. Berenice's taut yet unstrained simplicity anchors Farhadi's film and serves as the gravitational center for her fellow actors. As always, Ms. Bejo's luminous face wordlessly expresses the depths of emotion that the filmmaker wishes us to know.
I'm on the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. We spent a year accumulating all the data out there on how arts infused into students' education affects their grade point averages, graduation rates, discipline.
I've surrendered to Facebook just to maintain a relationship with my children. I also follow them on Twitter. They're witty, irreverent, hip. I have only eight friends. Otherwise, it becomes a job.
I come from a FULL house of storytellers. If they wanted to simply tell you about someone pouring the tea, it would take about ten minutes. They would act out all the parts. I had to kind of jump in there because, as the youngest, if I wanted to get in an opinion, I had to yell and jump and really participate. In addition to participating, I was also observing. I think an actor really has to be an observant person. Not necessarily remembering facts, not observing THAT way.
Somehow, by just keeping myself up and available and free, so that when I do have work, I can approach it simply as an actress, not an irate, mistreated black actress. And because I take myself to that place, or try to keep myself at that place, the spirit has always provided for me. I've always had work. I've never gotten rich doing it, but I could die tomorrow and say that I've had a FULL artistic life.


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