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Kerry Marisa Washington (born January 31, 1977) Sidebar
Certificate of Live Birth: Isabelle Amarachi Asomugha
(County of Los Angeles Department of Public Health). Gives Kerry Washington birth date
Archived
from the original on May 2, 2016.
Note: FilmReference.com states "Born January 5, 1977 (some sources cite 1975)…." at is an American actress, producer, and director. She gained wide public recognition for starring as crisis management expert
Olivia Pope Olivia Carolyn Pope is a fictional character created by Shonda Rhimes Shonda Lynn Rhimes (born January 13, 1970) is an American television producer, screenwriter, and author. She is best known as the showrunner—creator, head writer, and ...
in the
ABC ABC are the first three letters of the Latin script known as the alphabet. ABC or abc may also refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Broadcasting * American Broadcasting Company, a commercial U.S. TV broadcaster ** Disney–ABC Television ...
drama series ''
Scandal A scandal can be broadly defined as the strong social reactions of outrage, anger, or surprise, when accusations or rumours circulate or appear for some reason, regarding a person or persons who are perceived to have transgressed in some way. T ...
'' (2012–2018). For her role, she was twice nominated for the
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series The Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series is an award presented annually by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (ATAS). It is given in honor of an actress who has delivered an outstanding performance in a leadi ...
and once for the
Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama The Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama is a Golden Globe Award The Golden Globe Awards are accolades bestowed by the 87 members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association The Hollywood Foreign Press Associa ...
. Her portrayal of
Anita Hill Anita Faye Hill (born July 30, 1956) is an American lawyer and academic. She is a university professor of social policy, law, and women's studies at Brandeis University , mottoeng = Truth even unto its innermost parts , established = , t ...
in the
HBO Home Box Office (HBO) is an American pay television Pay television, also known as subscription television, premium television or, when referring to an individual service, a premium channel, refers to subscription The subscription busin ...
television political thriller film, ''
Confirmation In Christian denominations that practice infant baptism Infant baptism is the practice of baptising infants 222x222px, Eight-month-old sororal twin sisters An infant (from the Latin word ''infans'', meaning 'unable to speak' or ...
'' (2016), earned her a nomination for both the
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie The Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie is an award presented annually by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (ATAS). It is given in honor of an actress who has delivered an outstanding ...
and the
Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film The Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film or Best Actress – Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television is a Golden Globe Awards, Golden Globe Award presented annually by the Hollywood Foreign Press Associatio ...
. And for her role as Mia Warren in the
Hulu Hulu () (stylized in all lowercase) is an American subscription video on demand service fully controlled and majority-owned by The Walt Disney Company, with Comcast's NBCUniversal as an Equity (finance), equity stakeholder. The service was init ...

Hulu
miniseries '' Little Fires Everywhere'' (2020) she was again nominated for the
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie The Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie is an award presented annually by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (ATAS). It is given in honor of an actress who has delivered an outstanding ...
. In film, Washington is known for her roles as Della Bea Robinson in ''
Ray Ray may refer to: Science and mathematics * Ray (geometry) In geometry, the notion of line or straight line was introduced by ancient mathematicians to represent straight objects (i.e., having no curvature) with negligible width and depth. ...
'' (2004), as Kay in ''
The Last King of Scotland ''The Last King of Scotland'' is a novel by journalist Giles Foden, published by Faber and Faber Faber and Faber Limited, usually abbreviated to Faber, is an independent publishing house in London, the United Kingdom The United Kingd ...
'' (2006), as
Alicia Masters Alicia Reiss Masters is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics Marvel Comics is the brand name and primary imprint of Marvel Worldwide Inc., formerly Marvel Publishing, Inc. and Marvel Comics Grou ...
in the live-action ''
Fantastic Four The Fantastic Four are a fictional superhero A superhero or superheroine is a stock character that possesses abilities beyond those of ordinary people, who typically uses his or her powers to help the world become a better place, or is dedi ...

Fantastic Four
'' films of
2005 2005 was designated as the International Year for Sport and Physical Education and the International Year of MicrocreditImage:YOmicrocredit2005.jpg, right International Year of Microcredit is a special event of the United Nations which took pl ...
and
2007 2007 was designated as the International Heliophysical YearImage:IHY logo.png, 200px, right The International Heliophysical Year is a United Nations, UN-sponsored scientifically driven international program of scientific collaboration to unde ...
, and as Broomhilda von Shaft in
Quentin Tarantino Quentin Jerome Tarantino (; born March 27, 1963) is an American filmmaker, film director, screenwriter, producer, film critic, and actor. His films are characterized by nonlinear storylines, dark humor Darkness, the polar opposite of brig ...

Quentin Tarantino
's ''
Django Unchained ''Django Unchained'' () is a 2012 American Revisionist Western The Revisionist Western, Anti-Western or Post-Western is a subgenre Genre () is any form or type of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to sh ...
'' (2012). She has also starred in the independent films '' Our Song'' (2000), ''
The Dead Girl ''The Dead Girl'' is a 2006 American Drama (film and television), drama thriller film written and directed by Karen Moncrieff, starring Brittany Murphy, Toni Collette, Rose Byrne and Marcia Gay Harden. The film was nominated for several 2007 Inde ...
'' (2006), ''
Mother and Child A mother is the female parent of a child. Mothers are women who inhabit or perform the role of bearing some relation to their children, who may or may not be their biological offspring. Thus, dependent on the context, women can be considered mo ...
'' (2009), ''
Night Catches Us ''Night Catches Us'' is a 2010 drama film directed and written by Tanya Hamilton and stars Kerry Washington, Anthony Mackie, Jamie Hector, Wendell Pierce and Novella Nelson. Plot In 1976, former Black Panther Party, Black Panther Marcus (Anthony Ma ...
'' (2010), and '' American Son'' (2019). ''
Time Time is the continued sequence of existence and event (philosophy), events that occurs in an apparently irreversible process, irreversible succession from the past, through the present, into the future. It is a component quantity of various me ...
'' magazine included Washington in its ''Time'' 100 list of most influential people in 2014. In 2018, ''
Forbes ''Forbes'' () is an American business magazine owned by Integrated Whale Media Investments and the Forbes family The Forbes family is one of the Boston Brahmins—a wealthy extended American family long prominent in Boston, Massachusett ...

Forbes
'' named her the eighth highest-paid television actress. Washington has won a
Primetime Emmy Award The Primetime Emmy Awards are bestowed by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (ATAS), also colloquially known as the Television Academy, is a professional honorary organization dedicated to th ...
and five
NAACP Image Awards The NAACP Image Award is an annual awards ceremony presented by the U.S.-based National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is a civil rights ...
, including The President's Award.


Early life and education

Washington was born in
the Bronx The Bronx () is a borough of New York City New York City is composed of five boroughs: The Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island. Each borough is coextensive with a respective Administrative divisions of New York (state)#Count ...
, New York City, the daughter of Valerie, a professor and educational consultant, and Earl Washington, a
real estate broker A real estate broker, real estate agent or realtor is a person who represents sellers or buyers of real estate Real estate is property consisting of land and the buildings on it, along with its natural resource , Malaysia Malaysia ...
. Her father's family is of
African American African Americans (also referred to as Black Americans or Afro-Americans) are an ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people A people is any plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being t ...

African American
origin, having moved from
South Carolina South Carolina () is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspap ...

South Carolina
to
Brooklyn Brooklyn () is a borough A borough is an administrative division in various English language, English-speaking countries. In principle, the term ''borough'' designates a self-governing walled town, although in practice, official use of the te ...

Brooklyn
. Her mother's family is from
Manhattan Manhattan (), known regionally as ''The City'', is the most densely populated and geographically smallest of the five boroughs 5 is a number, numeral, and glyph. 5, five or number 5 may also refer to: * AD 5, the fifth year of the AD era ...

Manhattan
, and Washington has said that her mother is from a "mixed-race background and from Jamaica, so she is partly English and Scottish and Native American, but also descended from enslaved Africans in the Caribbean." Through her mother, she is a
cousin Commonly, "cousin" refers to a "first cousin", a relative Relative may refer to: General use *Kinship and family, the principle binding the most basic social units society. If two people are connected by circumstances of birth, they are sa ...

cousin
of former U.S. Secretary of State
Colin Powell Colin Luther Powell ( ; April 5, 1937 – October 18, 2021) was an American politician, statesman, diplomat, and United States Army The United States Army (USA) is the land Land is the solid surface of Earth that is not permanent ...

Colin Powell
. Washington performed with the TADA! Youth Theater teen group and attended the
Spence School , motto_translation= Not for school, but for life we learn , founder = Clara B. Spence , tuition = $54,650 (2019-2020) , chair = , head_label = , head = , principal_label = Head of School , princi ...
in Manhattan from her pre-teen years until graduating from high school in 1994. At the age of 13, she was taken to watch
Nelson Mandela Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (born Rolihlahla Mandela ; ; 18 July 1918 – 5 December 2013) was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, political leader and philanthropist who served as the first president of South Africa Th ...

Nelson Mandela
speak at
Yankee Stadium Yankee Stadium is a baseball park A baseball park, also known as a ballpark or diamond, is a stadium, venue where baseball is played. A baseball park consists of the baseball field, playing field and the surrounding spectator seating. While ...
upon his release from prison. She attended
George Washington University , mottoeng = "God is Our Trust" , established = , type = Private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfi ...

George Washington University
, graduating
Phi Beta Kappa The Phi Beta Kappa Society () is the oldest academic honor society In the United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country in . It consists of 50 , ...
in 1998 with a double major in
anthropology Anthropology is the scientific study of human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most abundant and widespread species In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, ...
and
sociology Sociology is a social science Social science is the branch The branches and leaves of a tree. A branch ( or , ) or tree branch (sometimes referred to in botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the scie ...
. She also studied at
Michael Howard Studios The Michael Howard Studios is an acting studio for the performing arts located in at 152 West 25th Street in Chelsea, Manhattan, New York City; the studio was founded in 1953 by actor/director Michael Howard (American actor), Michael Howard. Histo ...
in New York City. In April 2016, Washington confirmed that, in the 1990s in New York, she learned to dance from
Jennifer Lopez Jennifer Lynn "J.Lo" Lopez (born July 24, 1969) is an American singer, actress, and dancer. In 1991, Lopez began appearing as a Fly Girl dancer on ''In Living Color ''In Living Color'' is an American sketch comedy Sketch comedy compris ...

Jennifer Lopez
. During her appearance on ''
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon ''The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon'' is an American late-night talk show hosted by Jimmy Fallon, that airs on NBC. The show premiered on February 17, 2014, and is produced by Broadway Video and Universal Television. It is the seventh incarn ...

The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon
'', she told host
Jimmy Fallon James Thomas Fallon (born September 19, 1974) is an American comedian, television host, and actor. He is known for his work in television as a cast member In the performing arts The performing arts are arts such as music, dance, and dr ...
: "I've been taking dance for a long time, since I was a little girl. I had this very inspiring teacher named Larry Maldonado, for anybody from my neighborhood in the Bronx, he was our role model. ... And he had an awesome substitute teacher named Jennifer, who would sometimes step in and teach. But, then she left to move to Los Angeles and be on the TV show ''
In Living Color ''In Living Color'' is an American sketch comedy Sketch comedy comprises a series of short, amusing scenes or vignettes, called "sketches", commonly between one and ten minutes long, performed by a group of comic actors or comedians. The fo ...
''. So, yes, I learned to dance from JLo!"


Career


1994–2009: Beginnings and breakthrough

Washington got her
Screen Actors Guild The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) was an American trade union, labor union which represented over 100,000 film and television actor, principal and Extra (actor), background performers worldwide. On March 30, 2012, the union leadership announced tha ...
(SAG) card as a requirement for a commercial that she starred in."How Did You Get Your SAG-AFTRA Card?" ''
TV Guide TV Guide is an American digital media company that provides television program TV listings, listings information as well as entertainment and television-related news. The company sold off its print magazine division, TV Guide Magazine, TV Guide ...
''. January 13, 2014. p. 10.
Washington made her screen debut in the
ABC ABC are the first three letters of the Latin script known as the alphabet. ABC or abc may also refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Broadcasting * American Broadcasting Company, a commercial U.S. TV broadcaster ** Disney–ABC Television ...
telefilm A television film is a feature film, feature-length motion picture that is produced and originally distributed by or to a television network, in contrast to theatrical films made explicitly for initial showing in movie theaters. Origins and h ...
''Magical Make-Over'' (1994). She was in the cast of the 1996
PBS The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) is an American public broadcaster Public broadcasting involves , and other electronic media outlets whose primary mission is . In many countries of the world, comes from governments, especially vi ...
sketch comedy Sketch comedy comprises a series of short, amusing scenes or vignettes, called "sketches", commonly between one and ten minutes long, performed by a group of comic actors or comedians. The form developed and became popular in vaudeville Vau ...
-style educational series '' Standard Deviants'', and she appeared in the short "3D" and the feature film '' Our Song'' in 2000. She went on to appear in several movies, including ''
Save the Last Dance ''Save the Last Dance'' is a 2001 American teen Adolescence ()''Macmillan Dictionary for Students'' Macmillan, Pan Ltd. (1981), page 14, 456. Retrieved July 15, 2010. is a transitional stage of Developmental biology, physical and psycholo ...
'' (2001) and ''
The Human Stain ''The Human Stain'' is a novel by Philip Roth Philip Milton Roth (March 19, 1933 – May 22, 2018) was an American novelist A novelist is an author or writer of novels, though often novelists also write in other genres of both fiction and non- ...
'' (2003). In 2002 she played
Chris Rock Christopher Julius Rock (born February 7, 1965) is an American stand-up comedian Stand-up comedy is a comedy Performing arts, performance and narration, narrative craft whereby a comedian Communication, communicates to a live audience, Fourt ...
's love interest in the spy thriller ''
Bad Company Bad Company are an English rock Rock most often refers to: * Rock (geology) A rock is any naturally occurring solid mass or aggregate of minerals or mineraloid matter. It is categorized by the minerals included, its Chemical compound, ...
'', a film that represented a turning point for her, in that it was the first time in her career that she had made enough money annually to qualify for health insurance under SAG. In 2004, she played the female lead in
Spike Lee Shelton Jackson "Spike" Lee (born March 20, 1957) is an American film director, producer, screenwriter, actor, and professor. His production company, , has produced more than 35 films since 1983. He made his with ' (1986). He has since written ...

Spike Lee
's ''
She Hate Me ''She Hate Me'' is a 2004 American independent Independent or Independents may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Artist groups * Independents (artist group), a group of modernist painters based in the New Hope, Pennsylvania, area of the ...
'', and she received strong reviews for her performance. After 2004, she held parts in '' Mr. & Mrs. Smith'' (2005), '' Little Man'' (2006), ''
I Think I Love My Wife ''I Think I Love My Wife'' is a 2007 American romantic comedy Romantic comedy (also known as romcom or rom-com) is a subgenre of comedy and slice-of-life Slice of life describes the depiction of mundane experiences in art and entertainmen ...
'' (2007), and as a wife of 1970s
Uganda Uganda (Ugandan Languages: Yuganda), officially the Republic of Uganda ( sw, Jamhuri ya Uganda), is a landlocked A landlocked country is a country that does not have territory connected to an ocean or whose coastlines lie on endorheic ba ...

Uganda
n
dictator A dictator is a political leader who possesses absolute power. A dictatorship A dictatorship is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state. In the ...
Idi Amin Idi Amin Dada Oumee (, ; 16 August 2003) was a Ugandan military officer who served as the third president of Uganda The President of the Republic of Uganda is the head of state and the head of government of Uganda. The President leads the ...
in the historical drama ''
The Last King of Scotland ''The Last King of Scotland'' is a novel by journalist Giles Foden, published by Faber and Faber Faber and Faber Limited, usually abbreviated to Faber, is an independent publishing house in London, the United Kingdom The United Kingd ...
'' (2006). Washington has also appeared in the recurring role of Chelina Hall on the ABC
television series A television show – or simply TV show – is any content produced for viewing on a television set A television set or television receiver, more commonly called the television, TV, TV set, tube, telly, or tele, is a device that combines a ...
''
Boston Legal ''Boston Legal'' is an American legal drama, legal comedy-drama television series created by David E. Kelley and produced in association with 20th Century Fox Television for American Broadcasting Company, ABC. The series aired from October 3, 20 ...
'', and in several episodes of the A&E
cable-TV Cable television is a system of delivering television Television, sometimes shortened to TV or telly, is a telecommunication Telecommunication is the transmission of information by various types of technologies over wire A ...
series ''
100 Centre Street ''100 Centre Street'' is an American legal drama created by Sidney Lumet and starring Alan Arkin, Val Avery, Bobby Cannavale, Joel de la Fuente and Paula Devicq. Premise The show takes its name for the street address in Manhattan of the New York ...
''. In 2007, she co-directed and appeared in the music video for hip-hop artist
Common Common may refer to: Places * Common, a townland in County Tyrone County Tyrone (; ) is one of the thirty-two counties of Ireland Ireland (; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean, ...
's song, " I Want You", the fourth single from his album ''
Finding Forever ''Finding Forever'' is the seventh studio album by Common (rapper), Common, released on July 31, 2007, on GOOD Music and Geffen Records. Like Common's previous album, ''Be (Common album), Be'' (2005), ''Finding Forever'' is primarily produced by ...
'' and became a spokesperson for
L'Oréal L'Oréal S.A. () is a French personal care Personal care or toiletries are consumer products A final good or consumer good is a final product In Production (economics), production, a final product, or finished product is a product (busines ...

L'Oréal
, appearing in commercials and ads alongside fellow actresses,
Scarlett Johansson Scarlett Ingrid Johansson (; born November 22, 1984) is an American actress. She was the world's highest-paid actress in 2018 and 2019, and has featured multiple times on the Forbes Celebrity 100, ''Forbes'' Celebrity 100 list. Her films have ...

Scarlett Johansson
and
Eva Longoria Eva Longoria Bastón ( Eva Jacqueline Longoria; March 15, 1975) is an American actress and producer. After a number of guest roles on several television series, she was recognized for her portrayal of Isabella Braña on the CBS daytime soap ope ...

Eva Longoria
,
Gong Li Gong Li (Chinese language, Chinese: 巩俐; born 31 December 1965) is a Chinese-born Singaporean actress. She starred in three of the four Academy Award for Best International Feature Film-nominated Chinese-language films. Gong was born in She ...
,
Michelle Yeoh Michelle Yeoh Choo-kheng, PSM ( ; born 6 August 1962) is a Malaysian actress who rose to fame in 1990s Hong Kong action cinema, Hong Kong action films and is best known internationally for her roles in the James Bond film ''Tomorrow Never Di ...
,
Dian Sastrowardoyo Dian Paramita Sastrowardoyo better known as Dian Sastrowardoyo or Dian Sastro mononymously (born in Jakarta, Indonesia on March 16, 1982) is an Indonesian actress and Model (person), model of Javanese people, Javanese descent. She starred in so ...

Dian Sastrowardoyo
,
Aishwarya Rai Aishwarya Rai Bachchan (born 1 November 1973) is an Indian actress and the winner of the Miss World 1994 Miss World 1994, the 44th edition of the Miss World pageant, was held on 19 November 1994 and marked the third consecutive staging of ...
,
Maya Karin Maya Karin Roelcke (born 29 October 1979) is a film actress, television host and singer. One of the leading and established actresses in Malaysia's local film industry, she garnered wide recognition from the critics and public for her performan ...

Maya Karin
and model
Doutzen Kroes Doutzen Kroes (, ; born 23 January 1985) is a Dutch model and actress. She began her modelling career in 2003, in the Netherlands and was quickly sent by her agency to New York where she was cast by lingerie brand Victoria’s Secret Victoria ...

Doutzen Kroes
. Washington narrated the critically acclaimed documentary about the New Orleans-based teenage TBC Brass Band
''From the Mouthpiece on Back''
She also appears in 's "Bad Habits" video. In 2009, Washington performed in ''
The People Speak The People Speak is an online community of young people who want to get involved in global issues. The community engages people of all ages and backgrounds in thoughtful discussions about the value of international cooperation for the United State ...
'', a documentary feature film that uses dramatic and musical performances of the letters, diaries, and speeches of everyday Americans, based on historian
Howard Zinn Howard Zinn (August 24, 1922January 27, 2010) was an American historian A historian is a person who studies and writes about the past and is regarded as an authority on it. Historians are concerned with the continuous, methodical narrative a ...

Howard Zinn
's ''
A People's History of the United States '' A People's History of the United States'' is a 1980 nonfiction book by American historian and political scientist Howard Zinn. In the book, Zinn presented what he considered to be a different side of history from the more traditional "fundamen ...
''.


2010–2018: ''Scandal'' and critical acclaim

In 2010, Washington made her
Broadway Broadway may refer to: Theatre * Broadway Theatre (disambiguation) * Broadway theatre, theatrical productions in professional theatres near Broadway, Manhattan, New York City, U.S. ** Broadway (Manhattan), the street **Broadway Theatre (53rd St ...
debut in the original production of
David Mamet David Alan Mamet (; born November 30, 1947) is an American playwright, film maker, and author. He won a Pulitzer Prize#REDIRECT Pulitzer Prize The Pulitzer Prize () is an award for achievements in newspaper, magazine and online journalism, li ...
's play ''
Race Race, RACE or "The Race" may refer to: * Race (biology), an informal taxonomic classification within a species, generally within a sub-species * Race (human categorization), classification of humans into groups based on physical traits, and/or s ...
'', alongside
James Spader James Todd Spader (born February 7, 1960) is an American actor and producer. He has portrayed eccentric characters in films such as the drama ''Sex, Lies, and Videotape ''Sex, Lies, and Videotape'' is a 1989 American Independent film, indepen ...
(with whom she worked on ''Boston Legal''),
David Alan Grier David Alan Grier (born June 30, 1956) is an American actor and comedian. He is best known for his work on the sketch comedy television show ''In Living Color'', as Bernard on ''Damon (TV series), Damon'' (1998), as David Bellows on ''Life with B ...

David Alan Grier
, and Richard Thomas. She also appeared as a part of the ensemble in
Tyler Perry Tyler Perry (born Emmitt Perry Jr., September 13, 1969) is an American actor, director, producer, and screenwriter. In 2011, ''Forbes'' listed him as the highest-paid man in entertainment, earning US$130 million between May 2010 and May 2011. ...

Tyler Perry
's 2010 drama film ''
For Colored Girls ''For Colored Girls'' is a 2010 American drama film In film A film, also called a movie, motion picture or moving picture, is a work of visual art The visual arts are art forms such as painting Painting is the practice o ...
''. She starred in
Quentin Tarantino Quentin Jerome Tarantino (; born March 27, 1963) is an American filmmaker, film director, screenwriter, producer, film critic, and actor. His films are characterized by nonlinear storylines, dark humor Darkness, the polar opposite of brig ...

Quentin Tarantino
's film ''
Django Unchained ''Django Unchained'' () is a 2012 American Revisionist Western The Revisionist Western, Anti-Western or Post-Western is a subgenre Genre () is any form or type of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to sh ...
'' (2012), which received widespread critical acclaim. She was invited to join the
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS, often pronounced ; also known as simply the Academy or the Motion Picture Academy) is a professional honorary organization with the stated goal of advancing the arts and sciences of motion ...
in June 2012 along with 175 other individuals. From April 2012 to April 2018, Washington starred in the
ABC ABC are the first three letters of the Latin script known as the alphabet. ABC or abc may also refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Broadcasting * American Broadcasting Company, a commercial U.S. TV broadcaster ** Disney–ABC Television ...
drama series ''
Scandal A scandal can be broadly defined as the strong social reactions of outrage, anger, or surprise, when accusations or rumours circulate or appear for some reason, regarding a person or persons who are perceived to have transgressed in some way. T ...
'', created by
Shonda Rhimes Shonda Lynn Rhimes (born January 13, 1970) is an American television producer, screenwriter, and author. She is best known as the showrunner A showrunner is the leading producer Producer or producers may refer to: Occupations *Producer (agri ...
, as
Olivia Pope Olivia Carolyn Pope is a fictional character created by Shonda Rhimes Shonda Lynn Rhimes (born January 13, 1970) is an American television producer, screenwriter, and author. She is best known as the showrunner—creator, head writer, and ...
, a crisis manager who runs her own crisis management firm called Olivia Pope & Associates in
Washington, D.C. ) , image_skyline = , image_caption = Clockwise from top left: the Washington Monument The Washington Monument is an obelisk within the National Mall The National Mall is a Landscape architecture, landscape ...
In this position, she worked for high-profile figures, most notably the President of the United States, who was also her on-off lover. The show was a commercial and critical success, and was called one of the most talked about drama series on
Facebook Facebook is an American online social media and social networking service owned by Meta Platforms. Founded in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg with fellow Harvard College students and roommates Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz, an ...

Facebook
and
Twitter Twitter is an American microblogging Microblogging is an online Broadcasting, broadcast medium that exists as a specific form of blogging. A micro-blog differs from a traditional blog in that its content is typically smaller in both actu ...

Twitter
. Washington's performance earned positive reviews, and in 2013, she won the award for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series at the 44th NAACP Image Awards and was also presented with the NAACP President's Award. The same year, she was named "Favorite actress" and ''Scandal'' "Favorite Drama" of the year at ''
TV Guide TV Guide is an American digital media company that provides television program TV listings, listings information as well as entertainment and television-related news. The company sold off its print magazine division, TV Guide Magazine, TV Guide ...
s Magazine Fan Favorite Awards and was also crowned 2013's "TV Star of the Year" by the editors of the magazine. For her work in the second season of ''Scandal'', Washington was nominated for an
Emmy The Emmy Awards, or Emmys, are awards for artistic and technical merit in the television industry. It is considered one of the four major entertainment awards in the United States, the others being the Grammy The Grammy Award (stylized ...

Emmy
at the
65th Primetime Emmy Awards The 65th Primetime Emmy Awards, honoring the best in prime time television programming from June 1, 2012 until May 31, 2013, were held on Sunday, September 22, 2013 at the Microsoft Theater, Nokia Theatre in Downtown Los Angeles, California. CBS t ...
and
66th Primetime Emmy Awards The 66th Primetime Emmy Awards honored the best in U.S. The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country primarily located in North America North America is a contin ...
, becoming the first
African-American African Americans (also referred to as Black Americans or Afro-Americans) are an ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people A people is any plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being t ...
woman to be nominated in the category of Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series in 18 years. She was also nominated for a
Screen Actors Guild Award Screen Actors Guild Awards (also known as SAG Awards) are accolades given by the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists The Screen Actors Guild - American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA ) i ...
for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series as well as a
Golden Globe Award The Golden Globe Awards are accolades bestowed by the 87 members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) is a non-profit organization A nonprofit organization (NPO), also known as a ...
for Best Actress in a Television Drama Series. ''
The Boston Globe ''The Boston Globe'' is an American daily newspaper A newspaper is a periodical Periodical literature (also called a periodical publication or simply a periodical) is a category of Serial (publishing), serial published, publications that ...

The Boston Globe
'' ranked ''Scandal'' tenth place of its list of "Top 10 political TV shows" in 2015. In addition to Washington's acting, her costumes as Olivia Pope attracted positive attention, prompting '' Vanity Fair'' to name the character one of "The Top Ten Best-Dressed TV Characters" in 2013. According to the show's costume designer, Lyn Paolo, the success of Olivia Pope's wardrobe was based on "this idea of having er characterwear such soft, feminine colors in a man's world". In 2014, Washington and Paolo won the Influencer Award at the 2014 Ace Fashion Awards for Olivia Pope's stylish clothes on the show. In 2013, Washington ranked No. 2 in ''People'' magazine's 100 Most Beautiful people and was named Woman of the Year by ''
Glamour Glamour or glamor may refer to: Arts Film * Glamour (1931 film), ''Glamour'' (1931 film), a British film * Glamour (1934 film), ''Glamour'' (1934 film), an American film * Glamour (2000 film), ''Glamour'' (2000 film), a Hungarian film Writi ...
'' magazine. The same year, she ranked No. 20 on ''
Forbes ''Forbes'' () is an American business magazine owned by Integrated Whale Media Investments and the Forbes family The Forbes family is one of the Boston Brahmins—a wealthy extended American family long prominent in Boston, Massachusett ...

Forbes
'' magazine's annual list of the highest-paid actors in television and was announced as the new face of
Neutrogena Neutrogena Corporation trading as Neutrogena, is an American company that markets skin care Skin care is the range of practices that support skin integrity, enhance its appearance and relieve skin conditions. They can include nutrition, avoid ...
skin care. Washington hosted ''
Saturday Night Live ''Saturday Night Live'' (also known as ''SNL'') is an American late-night live television sketch comedy Sketch comedy comprises a series of short, amusing scenes or vignettes, called "sketches", commonly between one and ten minutes long, ...

Saturday Night Live
'' on November 2, 2013, where she impersonated
Michelle Obama Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama (born January 17, 1964) is an American attorney and author who served as the first lady of the United States The first lady of the United States (FLOTUS) is the title held by the hostess of the , usuall ...

Michelle Obama
and
Oprah Winfrey Oprah Gail Winfrey (born Orpah Gail Winfrey; January 29, 1954) is an American talk show host, television producer, actress, author, and philanthropist Philanthropy consists of "private initiatives, for the public good, focusing on quali ...

Oprah Winfrey
in a cold opening sketch that satirized criticism of ''Saturday Night Live'' for not having had any black female cast members for many years. Washington played the lead role in ''
Confirmation In Christian denominations that practice infant baptism Infant baptism is the practice of baptising infants 222x222px, Eight-month-old sororal twin sisters An infant (from the Latin word ''infans'', meaning 'unable to speak' or ...
'', an HBO movie directed by
Rick Famuyiwa Rick Famuyiwa (born June 18, 1973) is a Nigerian-American director, producer and screenwriter of productions including ''The Wood ''The Wood'' is a 1999 American coming-of-age filmIn genre studies, a coming-of-age story is a genre of literature ...
about
Anita Hill Anita Faye Hill (born July 30, 1956) is an American lawyer and academic. She is a university professor of social policy, law, and women's studies at Brandeis University , mottoeng = Truth even unto its innermost parts , established = , t ...
's testimony during
Clarence Thomas Supreme Court nomination On July 1, 1991, President George H. W. Bush George Herbert Walker BushSince around 2000 he was usually called George H. W. Bush, Bush Senior, Bush 41 or Bush the Elder to distinguish him from his eldest son, George W. Bush George ...
, which aired in 2016. For her role in ''Confirmation'', Washington was nominated for the
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie The Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie is an award presented annually by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (ATAS). It is given in honor of an actress who has delivered an outstanding ...
at the
68th Primetime Emmy Awards The 68th Primetime Emmy Awards honored the best in United States, U.S. prime time television programming from June 1, 2015 until May 31, 2016, as chosen by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. The ceremony was held on Sunday, September 18, 2 ...
, as well as the
Critics' Choice Awards The Critics' Choice Movie Awards (formerly known as the Broadcast Film Critics Association Award) is an awards show presented annually by the American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of ...
' equivalent the same year. ''Confirmation'' was also nominated for the Emmy Award for Outstanding Television Movie at the Emmys. That same year, Washington launched Simpson Street, a production company, which has an overall deal with
ABC Studios ABC Signature is an American television Television, sometimes shortened to TV or telly, is a telecommunication Telecommunication is the transmission of information by various types of technologies over wire A wire is a singl ...

ABC Studios
. In 2017, Washington voiced a role in ''
Cars 3 ''Cars 3'' is a 2017 American computer-animated comedy Comedy (from the el, κωμῳδία, ''kōmōdía'') is a genre of fiction that consists of discourses or works intended to be humor Humour (Commonwealth English The use ...
''. In 2018, Washington made her directorial debut on ''
Scandal A scandal can be broadly defined as the strong social reactions of outrage, anger, or surprise, when accusations or rumours circulate or appear for some reason, regarding a person or persons who are perceived to have transgressed in some way. T ...
'', directing the tenth episode of the seventh season. She also appeared as Olivia Pope in two episodes of ''
How to Get Away with Murder ''How to Get Away with Murder'' is an American legal thriller television series that premiered on American Broadcasting Company, ABC on September 25, 2014, and concluded on May 14, 2020. The series was created by Peter Nowalk, and produced by Sh ...
'', as part of a crossover with Scandal. Scandal concluded after seven seasons in April 2018. That same year, Washington starred in the Broadway play ''American Son'' written by Christopher Demos-Brown, following two parents arriving at a police station in the middle of the night looking for answers.


2019–present: Continued success and acclaim

In 2019, Washington directed the seventh episode of the second season of
Showtime Showtime or Show Time may refer to: Film * Showtime (film), ''Showtime'' (film), a 2002 American action/comedy film * Showtime (video), ''Showtime'' (video), a 1995 live concert video by Blur Television Networks and channels * Showtime Networks, ...
's ''
SMILF ''SMILF'' is an American sitcom A sitcom, clipping Clipping may refer to: Words * Clipping (morphology) In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of langu ...
''. She then starred in ''
Live in Front of a Studio Audience ''Live in Front of a Studio Audience'' is a series of live television special A television special (often TV special, or rarely "television spectacular") is a stand-alone television show A television show – or simply TV show – is any ...
'' on
ABC ABC are the first three letters of the Latin script known as the alphabet. ABC or abc may also refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Broadcasting * American Broadcasting Company, a commercial U.S. TV broadcaster ** Disney–ABC Television ...
in a recreation of ''
The Jeffersons ''The Jeffersons'' is an American sitcom television series that was broadcast on CBS from January 18, 1975, to July 2, 1985, lasting 11 seasons and a total of List of The Jeffersons episodes, 253 episodes. ''The Jeffersons'' is one of the long ...
'', portraying the role of Helen Willis. The same year, she reprised her role in the film adaptation of the Broadway play '' American Son'', which she also executive produced, for
Netflix Netflix, Inc. is an American subscription The subscription business model is a business model in which a customer In sales Sales are activities related to selling or the number of goods sold in a given targeted time period. Th ...

Netflix
. The film had its world premiere at the
Toronto International Film Festival The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF, often stylized as tiff) is one of the largest publicly attended film festival A film festival is an organized, extended presentation of film A film, also called a movie, motion pictur ...
on September 12, 2019, and was released on November 1, 2019. In 2020, Washington served as an executive producer on '' The Fight'', a documentary film revolving around legal battles lawyers for the
ACLU The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is a nonprofit organization A nonprofit organization (NPO), also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit organization, or nonprofit institution, is a legal entity organized and operated for ...
face during the Trump administration, which had its world premiere at the
Sundance Film Festival The Sundance Film Festival (formerly Utah/US Film Festival, then US Film and Video Festival) is an annual film festival A film festival is an organized, extended presentation of film A film, also called a movie, motion picture or m ...

Sundance Film Festival
on January 30, 2020. That same year, she served as an executive producer and starred alongside
Reese Witherspoon Laura Jeanne Reese Witherspoon (born March 22, 1976) is an American actress, producer, and entrepreneur. The recipient of various accolades, including an Academy Award The Academy Awards, popularly known as the Oscars, are awards for ...

Reese Witherspoon
in the
Hulu Hulu () (stylized in all lowercase) is an American subscription video on demand service fully controlled and majority-owned by The Walt Disney Company, with Comcast's NBCUniversal as an Equity (finance), equity stakeholder. The service was init ...

Hulu
miniseries '' Little Fires Everywhere'', an adaptation of
Celeste Ng Celeste Ng ( ) (born July 30, 1980) is an American writer and novelist. She has released many short stories that have been published in a variety of literary journals. Ng's first novel, ''Everything I Never Told You'', released on June 26, 201 ...
's 2017
novel of the same name A novel is a relatively long work of narrative fiction, typically written in prose and published as a book. The present English word for a long work of prose fiction derives from the for "new", "news", or "short story of something new", itself ...
. Washington directed the ninth episode of the fourth season of the
HBO Home Box Office (HBO) is an American pay television Pay television, also known as subscription television, premium television or, when referring to an individual service, a premium channel, refers to subscription The subscription busin ...
comedy series '' Insecure''. In September 2020, she won the
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Variety Special (Live) The Primetime Emmy Award The Primetime Emmy Awards are bestowed by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (ATAS), also colloquially known as the Television Academy, is a professional honorary o ...
as a producer of the television special ''Live in Front of a Studio Audience''. In December 2020, Washington starred in '' The Prom'', directed by Ryan Murphy (writer), Ryan Murphy for
Netflix Netflix, Inc. is an American subscription The subscription business model is a business model in which a customer In sales Sales are activities related to selling or the number of goods sold in a given targeted time period. Th ...

Netflix
.


Upcoming projects

She is attached to star and executive produce ''Shadow Force'' opposite Sterling K. Brown for Lionsgate Films, Lionsgate. She is also attached to star and executive produce ''24/7'' directed by
Eva Longoria Eva Longoria Bastón ( Eva Jacqueline Longoria; March 15, 1975) is an American actress and producer. After a number of guest roles on several television series, she was recognized for her portrayal of Isabella Braña on the CBS daytime soap ope ...

Eva Longoria
for Universal Pictures. She is set to play Professor Clarissa Dovey in the The School for Good and Evil (film), film adaptation of Soman Chainani's ''The School for Good and Evil''.


Personal life

Washington was engaged to actor David Moscow from October 2004 to March 2007. Washington married NFL player Nnamdi Asomugha on June 24, 2013 in Hailey, Idaho. They have a daughter and a son. As a sort of souvenir or memento, she usually tries to keep something from every character that she plays, such as an item of wardrobe or a piece of furniture from the house the character lived in. On May 19, 2013, she was the commencement speaker for her ''alma mater'',
George Washington University , mottoeng = "God is Our Trust" , established = , type = Private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfi ...

George Washington University
. Before giving her commencement address she was presented with an honorary degree, honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts.


Activism

In 2007, Washington and other celebrities joined for the 2007 Lee National Denim Day, supporting the Women's Cancer Programs of the Entertainment Industry Foundation. In September 2012, Washington spoke at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, Democratic National Convention in favor of re-electing Barack Obama, with her speech focusing on addressing voter apathy. Washington has also used her celebrity to support voter registration drives and recently encouraged her Twitter followers to make sure they have the appropriate ID needed to vote by contacting VoteRiders, a voter ID education organization. Washington is also a supporter of LGBT rights in the United States, LGBT rights. In August 2013, she was named an honorary chairperson of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, GLSEN Respect Awards; and she received the GLAAD Vanguard Award on March 21, 2015. In June 2016, the Human Rights Campaign released a video in tribute to the victims of the Orlando nightclub shooting; in the video, Washington and others told the stories of the people killed there. She is a member of the Creative Coalition; which is a board of actors, writers, musicians, and producers that explore issues that are at the forefront of national discourse. She is also a member of V-Day (movement), V-Day, a global movement that brings awareness to violence against women and girls. In March 2016, Washington and fellow ShondaLand colleagues, Ellen Pompeo, Viola Davis and
Shonda Rhimes Shonda Lynn Rhimes (born January 13, 1970) is an American television producer, screenwriter, and author. She is best known as the showrunner A showrunner is the leading producer Producer or producers may refer to: Occupations *Producer (agri ...
, appeared in a commercial endorsing Hillary Clinton for president. Washington emceed the third night of the 2020 Democratic National Convention.


Filmography


Film


Television


As director


Theater


Awards and nominations


References


External links

* * * {{DEFAULTSORT:Washington, Kerry 1977 births 20th-century American actresses 21st-century American actresses Living people Activists from New York (state) African-American actresses African-American film producers African-American television directors American television directors African-American television producers Actresses from New York City American film actresses American actors of Jamaican descent American people of English descent American people of Scottish descent American people who self-identify as being of Native American descent American television actresses American voice actresses American women film producers Audiobook narrators Columbian College of Arts and Sciences alumni LGBT rights activists from the United States People from the Bronx Primetime Emmy Award winners Sexual abuse victim advocates Spence School alumni American women television directors