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S. Epatha Merkerson
S. Epatha Merkerson
is a celebrated American film, stage, and television actor. She has received numerous high profile accolades for her work, including an Emmy Award, two Tony Award
Tony Award
nominations, a Golden Globe Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, 2 Obie Awards
Obie Awards
and four NAACP Image Awards. Ms. Merkerson is also the recipient of 4 honorary doctorate degrees. She is best known for her award-winning portrayal of Lieutenant Anita Van Buren
Anita Van Buren
on the NBC
NBC
police procedural drama series Law & Order, a role she played from 1993 to 2010.[1] She appeared in 395 episodes of the series—more than any other cast member.[2] In 2012, Merkerson became the host of Find Our Missing, a reality-reenactment series on TV One which profiles missing people of color.[3] In 2015, she was cast as Sharon Goodwin, Chief of Medical Services of the fictional Gaffney Chicago Medical Center Hospital on the NBC medical drama Chicago Med.

Contents

1 Early life 2 Career 3 Personal life 4 Filmography

4.1 Film 4.2 Television

5 Awards and nominations 6 References 7 External links

Early life[edit] Merkerson has four siblings and is a native of Detroit, Michigan. Her mother, Anna was a trailblazer in the United States Postal Service as the only female in the Detroit vehicles operation unit. During a segment on the January 31, 2012, episode of The Wendy Williams Show, when questioned about the origin of her name, Merkerson shared that "Epatha" was the name of "a grade-school teacher who was influential in keeping [her father] in school."[2] She further went on to clarify that she prefers to be addressed as "Epatha" as opposed to "S. Epatha.".[2] Merkerson graduated from Cooley High School
Cooley High School
in 1970. She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from Wayne State University
Wayne State University
and began her New York City
New York City
theater career in 1978. She was conferred an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Wayne State University
Wayne State University
in May 2009,[4] and received the same distinction from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore in 2012; Montclair State University in 2013 and University of Pittsburgh in 2017. Career[edit] Merkerson made her television debut as Reba the Mail Lady on Pee-wee's Playhouse. Merkerson has also appeared on The Cosby Show, among other series.[4] She first appeared in the NBC
NBC
police procedural drama Law & Order in season 1: episode 17 titled "Mushrooms", as the grief-stricken mother of an 11-month-old boy who is shot accidentally. Her performance impressed the producers enough to select Merkerson to replace Dann Florek
Dann Florek
as detective squad chief in the series' fourth season, making her one of the few actors to secure a recurring role after an initial single appearance on the show. Merkerson's star began to rise after she assumed the lead role in the one-woman play, Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill. That was followed by a Tony Award
Tony Award
nomination as Best Featured Actress in a Play for her performance as Berniece in August Wilson's Pulitzer Prize–winning play The Piano Lesson. Merkerson won an Obie Award
Obie Award
in 1992 for her work in I'm Not Stupid.[4] Her screen credits include Jacob's Ladder, Loose Cannons, She's Gotta Have It, James Cameron's Terminator 2: Judgment Day; and "Navy Seals". In 2006, she won a Golden Globe Award, an Emmy Award and a Screen Actors Guild award for her performance in the HBO
HBO
film Lackawanna Blues. In 2007, she starred as Lola Delaney in the Los Angeles stage production of William Inge's Come Back, Little Sheba, playing the role made famous by Shirley Booth. In January 2008 the production opened a successful run on Broadway and earned Merkerson her second Tony nomination. On April 1, 2010, it was confirmed that after 17 seasons, Merkerson would leave Law & Order at the end of the show's twentieth season.[1] Her departure from Law & Order, which aired on May 24, 2010, was also the show's final episode. In total, Merkerson appeared on the series for 17 consecutive seasons - 395 episodes — which was more than any other actor associated with the program.[5] In 2012, Merkerson became the host of the show Find Our Missing which highlights the search for missing people of color. It is designed to put names and faces to people of color who have disappeared without a trace. Each episode tells the story of the missing person or persons, beginning with the day they vanished, the frantic searches by loved ones and the investigations into their disappearances. Find Our Missing provides insight into these victims’ lives: their hopes and dreams, what makes them tick and how they have touched those around them — from the people who knew them best. Merkerson also appeared in Steven Spielberg's 2012 film Lincoln as Lydia Hamilton Smith, housekeeper to Tommy Lee Jones's character, Congressman Thaddeus Stevens. In 2014, Merkerson appeared in the Primary Stages production of While I Yet Live, which was written by Tony Award
Tony Award
winner Billy Porter. In 2015 Merkerson joined the cast of NBC
NBC
medical drama Chicago Med
Chicago Med
as Sharon Goodwin, Chief of Medical Services. The series was conceived and written by Law and Order creator Dick Wolf, along with Matt Olmstead, Derek Haas
Derek Haas
and Michael Brandt.[6] In 2014 Merkerson became a spokesperson for Merck America’s Diabetes Challenge, to increase type 2 diabetes awareness among African Americans. Personal life[edit] Merkerson is an outspoken advocate against smoking and for lung cancer research and awareness. Filmography[edit] Film[edit]

Year Title Role Notes

1986 She's Gotta Have It Doctor Jamison

1990 Loose Cannons Rachel

1990 Jacob's Ladder Elsa

1990 Navy Seals Jolena

1991 Terminator 2: Judgment Day Tarissa Dyson

1999 Random Hearts Nea

2001 The Rising Place Lessie Watson

2003 Radio Maggie

2004 Jersey Girl Doctor

2006 Black Snake Moan Angela

2007 Slipstream Bonnie

2009 The Six Wives of Henry Lefay Effa

2009 Mother and Child Ada

2012 Find Our Missing Herself

2012 Lincoln Lydia Smith

2013 Tyler Perry Presents Peeples Daphne Peeples

2016 Year by the Sea Liz

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes

1986–1989 Pee-wee's Playhouse Reba the Mail Woman 16 episodes

1988 The Cosby Show Book Club Member #5 Episode: "Bookworm"

1989 CBS Summer Playhouse Jimmie Episode: "Elysian Fields"

1990 Equal Justice Mrs. Walters Episode: "Pilot"

1991 Law & Order Denise Winters Episode: "Mushrooms"

1992 Mann & Machine Capt. Margaret Claghorn 9 episodes

1992–1993 Here and Now Ms. St. Marth 12 episodes

1993–2010 Law & Order Anita Van Buren 388 episodes NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series (2006, 2010–11) Nominated— NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series (1997–99, 2001) Nominated— NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series (2007–09) Nominated— Screen Actors Guild Award
Screen Actors Guild Award
for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series (1997–2002, 2004)

1994 A Place for Annie Alice Television
Television
movie

1995 A Mother's Prayer Ruby Television
Television
movie

1998 Exiled Anita Van Buren Television
Television
movie

2000 Frasier Dr. McCaskill Episode: "Dark Side of the Moon"

2001 Art:21 Herself Episode: "Spirituality"

2001 A Girl Thing Lani Television
Television
movie

2002 Law & Order: Criminal Intent Anita Van Buren Episode: "Badge"

2005 Law & Order: Trial by Jury Anita Van Buren Episode: "Skeleton"

2005 Lackawanna Blues Rachel "Nanny" Crosby Television
Television
movie Golden Globe Award
Golden Globe Award
for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television
Television
Film Gracie Allen Award for Outstanding Female Lead in a Miniseries NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Television
Television
Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie Prism Award for Performance in a Television
Television
Movie or Miniseries Screen Actors Guild Award
Screen Actors Guild Award
for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Miniseries or Television
Television
Movie Nominated— Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Lead Nominated— Satellite Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television
Television
Film

2007 The Closer Dr. Rebecca Dioli 3 episodes

2007 Girl, Positive Ariel Winters Television
Television
movie Nominated— NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special

2012 Drop Dead Diva Judge Hiller Episode: "Lady Parts"

2013 The Good Wife Judge Melanie Ellis Episode: "Going for the Gold"

2013 Deception Beverly 3 episodes

2014 The Gabby Douglas Story Miss Caroline Television
Television
movie

2015 Being Mary Jane Mark's mother Episode: "Freedom"

2015–Present Chicago Fire Sharon Goodwin Episode: "I Am the Apocalypse"

Chicago Med Main

2016–Present Chicago P.D. 3 episodes

Awards and nominations[edit]

Awards

1992 Obie Award
Obie Award
Outstanding Performance (I'm Not Stupid) 1999 Helen Hayes Award Outstanding Lead Actress-Resident Play (The Old Settler) 2002 Regulus Award For her dedication to lung cancer awareness and education 2005 Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie (Lackawanna Blues) 2006 SunDeis Film
Film
Festival at Brandeis University Entertainer of the Year Award 2006 Screen Actors Guild Award
Screen Actors Guild Award
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television
Television
Movie or Miniseries (Lackawanna Blues) 2006 PRISM Award Performance in a TV-Movie or Miniseries (Lackawanna Blues) 2006 Obie Award
Obie Award
Outstanding Performance (Birdie Blue) 2006 NAACP Image Award Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series (Law & Order) 2006 NAACP Image Award Best Actress in a Made for TV Movie, Miniseries or Dramatic Special
Special
(Lackawanna Blues) 2006 Gracie Allen Award Outstanding Female Lead – Miniseries (Lackawanna Blues) 2006 Golden Globe Award
Golden Globe Award
for Best Performance by an Actress in a Mini-Series or a Motion Picture Made for Television
Television
(Lackawanna Blues) 2006 Black Reel Award Best Actress in a Made for TV Movie or Miniseries (Lackawanna Blues) 2010 NAACP Image Award Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series (Law & Order) 2011 NAACP Image Award Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series (Law & Order) 2013 Honorary Degree, Doctor of Letters, Montclair State University

Nominations

1990 Helen Hayes Award Best Actress, Non-Resident Play (The Piano Lesson) 1990 Drama Desk Award Best Actress, Lead Role-Play (The Piano Lesson) 1990 Tony Award
Tony Award
Best Actress, Featured Role-Play (The Piano Lesson) 1997 NAACP Image Award Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series (Law & Order) 1998 NAACP Image Award Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series (Law & Order) 1999 NAACP Image Award Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series (Law & Order) 2001 NAACP Image Award Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series (Law & Order) 2003 Lucille Lortel Award Outstanding Lead Actress (Fucking A) 2003 Drama League Award Distinguished Performance (Fucking A) 2005 Satellite Award Outstanding Actress in a Miniseries or a Motion Picture Made for Television
Television
(Lackawanna Blues) 2006 Vision Award Best Dramatic Performance (Lackawanna Blues) 2006 Lucille Lortel Award Best Actress (Birdie Blue) 2006 Independent Spirit Award Best Female Lead (Lackawanna Blues) 2006 Drama League Award Distinguished Performance (Birdie Blue) 2007 NAACP Image Award Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series (Law & Order) 2008 NAACP Image Award Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series (Law & Order) 2008 NAACP Image Award Best Actress in a Made for TV Movie, Miniseries or Dramatic Special
Special
(Girl, Positive) 2008 Tony Award
Tony Award
Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play (Come Back, Little Sheba) 2008 NAACP Theatre Award Best Lead Female – Equity (Come Back, Little Sheba)

References[edit]

^ a b "Exclusive: S. Epatha Merkerson
S. Epatha Merkerson
exits 'Law & Order'". ausiellofiles.ew.com. Archived from the original on April 4, 2010. Retrieved April 1, 2010.  ^ a b c "Interview with S. Epatha Merkerson". The Wendy Williams Show. Archived from the original on February 26, 2012. Retrieved January 31, 2012.  ^ Labbé-DeBose, Theola (January 18, 2012). "TV One's 'Find Our Missing' highlight African Americans who vanished". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 28, 2012.  ^ a b c Stated in interview on Inside the Actors Studio ^ "Closing the Case With Law & Order's S. Epatha Merkerson" tv.com, Retrieved January 31, 2012 ^ Andreeva, Nellie. "Laurie Holden Cast In NBC's 'Chicago Med'". deadline.com. Deadline. Retrieved March 11, 2015. 

External links[edit]

S. Epatha Merkerson
S. Epatha Merkerson
on IMDb S. Epatha Merkerson
S. Epatha Merkerson
at the Internet Broadway Database
Internet Broadway Database
S. Epatha Merkerson
S. Epatha Merkerson
interview video at the Archive of American Television

Awards for S. Epatha Merkerson

v t e

Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie

Judith Anderson
Judith Anderson
(1954) Mary Martin
Mary Martin
(1955) Claire Trevor
Claire Trevor
(1956) Polly Bergen
Polly Bergen
(1957) Julie Harris (1959) Ingrid Bergman
Ingrid Bergman
(1960) Judith Anderson
Judith Anderson
(1961) Julie Harris (1962) Kim Stanley
Kim Stanley
(1963) Shelley Winters
Shelley Winters
(1964) Lynn Fontanne
Lynn Fontanne
(1965) Simone Signoret
Simone Signoret
(1966) Geraldine Page
Geraldine Page
(1967) Maureen Stapleton
Maureen Stapleton
(1968) Geraldine Page
Geraldine Page
(1969) Patty Duke
Patty Duke
(1970) Lee Grant
Lee Grant
(1971) Glenda Jackson
Glenda Jackson
(1972) Susan Hampshire
Susan Hampshire
/ Cloris Leachman
Cloris Leachman
(1973) Cicely Tyson
Cicely Tyson
/ Mildred Natwick
Mildred Natwick
(1974) Katharine Hepburn
Katharine Hepburn
/ Jessica Walter
Jessica Walter
(1975) Susan Clark
Susan Clark
/ Rosemary Harris
Rosemary Harris
(1976) Sally Field
Sally Field
/ Patty Duke
Patty Duke
(1977) Joanne Woodward
Joanne Woodward
/ Meryl Streep
Meryl Streep
(1978) Bette Davis
Bette Davis
(1979) Patty Duke
Patty Duke
(1980) Vanessa Redgrave
Vanessa Redgrave
(1981) Ingrid Bergman
Ingrid Bergman
(1982) Barbara Stanwyck
Barbara Stanwyck
(1983) Jane Fonda
Jane Fonda
(1984) Joanne Woodward
Joanne Woodward
(1985) Marlo Thomas
Marlo Thomas
(1986) Gena Rowlands
Gena Rowlands
(1987) Jessica Tandy
Jessica Tandy
(1988) Holly Hunter
Holly Hunter
(1989) Barbara Hershey
Barbara Hershey
(1990) Lynn Whitfield
Lynn Whitfield
(1991) Gena Rowlands
Gena Rowlands
(1992) Holly Hunter
Holly Hunter
(1993) Kirstie Alley
Kirstie Alley
(1994) Glenn Close
Glenn Close
(1995) Helen Mirren
Helen Mirren
(1996) Alfre Woodard
Alfre Woodard
(1997) Ellen Barkin
Ellen Barkin
(1998) Helen Mirren
Helen Mirren
(1999) Halle Berry
Halle Berry
(2000) Judy Davis
Judy Davis
(2001) Laura Linney
Laura Linney
(2002) Maggie Smith
Maggie Smith
(2003) Meryl Streep
Meryl Streep
(2004) S. Epatha Merkerson
S. Epatha Merkerson
(2005) Helen Mirren
Helen Mirren
(2006) Helen Mirren
Helen Mirren
(2007) Laura Linney
Laura Linney
(2008) Jessica Lange
Jessica Lange
(2009) Claire Danes
Claire Danes
(2010) Kate Winslet
Kate Winslet
(2011) Julianne Moore
Julianne Moore
(2012) Laura Linney
Laura Linney
(2013) Jessica Lange
Jessica Lange
(2014) Frances McDormand
Frances McDormand
(2015) Sarah Paulson
Sarah Paulson
(2016) Nicole Kidman
Nicole Kidman
(2017)

v t e

Golden Globe Award
Golden Globe Award
for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television
Television
Film

Jane Seymour (1981) Ingrid Bergman
Ingrid Bergman
(1982) Ann-Margret
Ann-Margret
(1983) Ann-Margret
Ann-Margret
(1984) Liza Minnelli
Liza Minnelli
(1985) Loretta Young
Loretta Young
(1986) Gena Rowlands
Gena Rowlands
(1987) Ann Jillian
Ann Jillian
(1988) Christine Lahti
Christine Lahti
(1989) Barbara Hershey
Barbara Hershey
(1990) Judy Davis
Judy Davis
(1991) Laura Dern
Laura Dern
(1992) Bette Midler
Bette Midler
(1993) Joanne Woodward
Joanne Woodward
(1994) Jessica Lange
Jessica Lange
(1995) Helen Mirren
Helen Mirren
(1996) Alfre Woodard
Alfre Woodard
(1997) Angelina Jolie
Angelina Jolie
(1998) Halle Berry
Halle Berry
(1999) Judi Dench
Judi Dench
(2000) Judy Davis
Judy Davis
(2001) Uma Thurman
Uma Thurman
(2002) Meryl Streep
Meryl Streep
(2003) Glenn Close
Glenn Close
(2004) S. Epatha Merkerson
S. Epatha Merkerson
(2005) Helen Mirren
Helen Mirren
(2006) Queen Latifah
Queen Latifah
(2007) Laura Linney
Laura Linney
(2008) Drew Barrymore
Drew Barrymore
(2009) Claire Danes
Claire Danes
(2010) Kate Winslet
Kate Winslet
(2011) Julianne Moore
Julianne Moore
(2012) Elisabeth Moss
Elisabeth Moss
(2013) Maggie Gyllenhaal
Maggie Gyllenhaal
(2014) Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga
(2015) Sarah Paulson
Sarah Paulson
(2016) Nicole Kidman
Nicole Kidman
(2017)

v t e

Screen Actors Guild Award
Screen Actors Guild Award
for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Miniseries or Television
Television
Movie

Joanne Woodward
Joanne Woodward
(1994) Alfre Woodard
Alfre Woodard
(1995) Kathy Bates
Kathy Bates
(1996) Alfre Woodard
Alfre Woodard
(1997) Angelina Jolie
Angelina Jolie
(1998) Halle Berry
Halle Berry
(1999) Vanessa Redgrave
Vanessa Redgrave
(2000) Judy Davis
Judy Davis
(2001) Stockard Channing
Stockard Channing
(2002) Meryl Streep
Meryl Streep
(2003) Glenn Close
Glenn Close
(2004) S. Epatha Merkerson
S. Epatha Merkerson
(2005) Helen Mirren
Helen Mirren
(2006) Queen Latifah
Queen Latifah
(2007) Laura Linney
Laura Linney
(2008) Drew Barrymore
Drew Barrymore
(2009) Claire Danes
Claire Danes
(2010) Kate Winslet
Kate Winslet
(2011) Julianne Moore
Julianne Moore
(2012) Helen Mirren
Helen Mirren
(2013) Frances McDormand
Frances McDormand
(2014) Queen Latifah
Queen Latifah
(2015) Sarah Paulson
Sarah Paulson
(2016) Nicole Kidman
Nicole Kidman
(2017)

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WorldCat Identities VIAF: 95128124 LCCN: no2001079978 ISNI: 0000 0000 7850 3469 GND: 1014493501 BNF: cb157259098 (data) SN