Anna Deavere Smith Biography
Anna Deavere Smith is an American actress, playwright, and professor. She is known for her roles as National Security Advisor Dr. Nancy McNally in The West Wing (2000–06). She is also known as a hospital administrator Gloria Akalitus in the Showtime series Nurse Jackie (2009–15).
She currently plays the role of Tina Krissman on the ABC show For the People. In 2013, she received The Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize. The prize is one of the richest prizes in the American arts. It comes with a remuneration of $300,000. She was selected as the Jefferson Lecturer by the National Endowment for the Arts in 2015.
Anna Deavere Smith is the founding director of the Institute on the Arts and Civic Dialogue at New York University. At the beginning of her career, Smith appeared in a wide range of stage productions. Among these productions include, the role of Mistress Quickly in an Off-Broadway production of Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor.
This production was set in New Orleans in post-Civil War America. For the role, she transformed herself into a “Cajun voodoo woman.” Smith is best known as a playwright and actress for her “documentary theatre” style. Among these works include; Fires in the Mirror (1992) and Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992 (1993).
Both featured Smith as the sole performer of multiple and diverse characters. For these works, she won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding One-Person Show two years in a row. Other plays that were created in this style include; House Arrest (2000) and Let Me Down Easy (2008).
Let Me Down Easy, which explored the resiliency and vulnerability of the human body, debuted at the Long Wharf Theatre in January 2008. A revised version of the show premiered in October 2009. In 2008, she debuted her one-woman play, The Arizona Project in Phoenix, Arizona. The play explored “women’s relationships to justice and the law,”
In 2009, Anna Deavere Smith was an artist-in-residence with the Center for American Progress. She was the first artist-in-residence at Grace Cathedral, San Francisco, in spring 2012. The program was founded by the Very Rev Jane Shaw, Dean of Grace Cathedral, who shared Smith’s vision of “bringing together art and religion”
Anna Deavere Smith Age
Anna was born in Baltimore, Maryland, United States of America. She was born on 18th Sepember, 1950. Her age is currently 68 years old as of 2019.
Anna Deavere Smith Net Worth
Anna Deavere Smith serves as the artist-in-residence for the Center of American Progress. Between 2000 and 2006 she starred as Nancy McNally on the television series The West Wing. From 2009 to 2015 She also starred as Gloria Akalitus on the TV series Nurse Jackie from 2009 to 2015.
She has also had recurring roles on the TV series The Practice, Presidio Med, and Black-ish. Anna Deavere Smith has appeared in several films including Soup for One, Philadelphia, among others. The professor, Anna Deavere Smith, has a net worth of $4 million. She has made her net worth mainly fro her career.
Anna Deavere Smith Family
Anna Deavere Smith was born into an African-American family in Baltimore, Maryland. She is the daughter of Anna Rosalind and Deaver Young Smith, Jr.. Her mother is an elementary school principal, and her father is a coffee merchant. She is sister to four younger siblings.
She started attending school shortly after the city had started integrating the public schools. She attended both majority-black and majority-white schools during her lower years. She is an alumna of the historic Western High School, an all-girls school.
Anna Deavere Smith Husband
When women her age are busy raising grand kids, Anna Deavere Smith is still single and unmarried. Well, marriage is not for everybody. Some people want to find their independence, without having kids and getting divorced. Some even think or realize that they don’t need another person to make them happy which just feels right.
Or could she be gay? Who knows? While talking about the Freddie Gray’s death case and justice system in September 2015, she revealed about how her boyfriend had been a police victim for no reason.
She said: “My boyfriend, Jake, was near — he was walking to the store. And the police jacked him up and threw him against the wall for no reason, checked him for no reason. And since that time, his momma’s like, I have got to get away from here, because, around this area, that’s all it is around here, is just drug dealers, drug dealers, drug dealers.”
Well, thats a pretty strong signal that she’s involved with someone else and is of straight orientation. We cannot understand why Anna Deavere Smith could decide to remain single all this time!
Anna Deavere Smith Movies And Tv Shows | Anna Deavere Smith Plays | Anna Deavere Smith Twilight | Anna Deavere Smith Blackish | Anna Deavere Smith Notes From The Field | Anna Deavere Smith West Wing
Anna Deavere Smith Movies
- 2018 Can You Ever Forgive Me?
- 2010 Seizing Justice: The Greensboro 4
- 2008 Rachel Getting Married
- 2007 The Kingdom
- 2007 Life Support
- 2004 The Manchurian Candidate
- 2003 The Human Stain
- 2000 Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992
- 1995 The American President
- 1993 Philadelphia
- 1987 Unfinished Business
- 1982 Soup for One
Anna Deavere Smith TV Shows
- 2018–2019 For the People
- 2016 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
- 2016 Legends of Tomorrow
- 2016 Berlin Station
- 2015–present Black-ish
- 2015 Madam Secretary
- 2014 Anna Deavere Smith: A YoungArts Masterclass
- 2013 The Surgeon General
- 2009 – 15 Nurse Jackie
- 2000 – 06 The West Wing
- 2000 The Practice
- 1997 American Experience
- 1983 All My Children
Anna Deavere Smith Interview
Q: Probably one of the first things that jumped into my head when I saw Notes From The Field was something about it being like sampling in hip-hop. I was wondering if that was a connection you make, or if you had any kind of relationship to hip-hop in this way.
Anna Deavere Smith: Well, no. I was working like this well before hip-hop was hip-hop.
Q: So hold on. Wait, maybe I should ask: have you inspired sampling in hip-hop? [laughs] Maybe I should reverse the question a bit…
Anna Deavere Smith: No, no. Not at all. I mean, I started working like this in the end of the 1970s, so for all I know there was hip-hop, but I didn’t know about it.
Q: I think this was happening at the exact same time…Maybe there’s something magical here.
Anna Deavere Smith: As “rap,” or “hip-hop?”
Q: As hip-hop. I mean, post-Grandmaster Flash…that would’ve been like, 1978 or so? That’s interesting.
Anna Deavere Smith: I think, for sure, I couldn’t do what I do if the tape recorder hadn’t been invented. The one I used was much bigger then, though.
Q: Hmmm…I think that there’s something in Notes From The Field, for example, how, even though everything is sequenced and unique, there’s something in it that is a repetition. It’s your repetition. You’ve listened to and captured something, and you’re repeating it and structuring it in a specific way. Now, hip-hop has a lot more repetition, usually—back then, it might’ve been 3 seconds on a keyboard [or other device] that’s looped 20 or 200 times. But there’s something magical about a repetition creating a new understanding.
And so, in Notes From The Field, you’ve honed it, and you are a sampler, in a way. It’s filtered through you and made different, changed. But I think there’s a type of magical understanding that comes of that.
Anna Deavere Smith: Okay. So I might have something useful to say, which also might shed some light on hip-hop.
Now, I was just trying to solve, to understand, Shakespeare. What I understood was that what we expect in Shakespeare is a certain rhythm, which is iambic pentameter. “duhDA duhDA duhDA duhDA duhDA”. I had this very unusual teacher who suggested that, if that changes, particularly in the second beat—if it goes “duhDA DADA, duhDA duhDa duhDa”—it’s a signal that the character is going through some type of emotional stress. She gave us, as an example, a moment in King Lear when everything is upside down, and he says, “Never, NEVER, never, never, never.” All of it is upside down.
Q: But that’s such an amazing convergence! The meeting point of the white avant-garde and hip-hop.
Anna Deavere Smith: It’s all happening! The hip-hop people maybe need to take a little listen. Even if you think about songs that weren’t even considered the avant-garde, but [appeared] at the end of the revolution in the 60s, they would say, “All we’re saying is give peace a chance.” You just sing it over and over again with this hope, that you’re going to make peace come, it becomes like a rain dance.
Q: Yeah, it’s like a chant. There’s magic in there. There’s something that is returned.
Anna Deavere Smith: There’s a lot of magic. I believe words are magical.
Q: As do I!
Anna Deavere Smith: I think I read this in a book of Native American poems: “The word, the word above all, is truly magical, not only by its meaning, but by its artful manipulation.” When I try to talk to kids from Abu Dhabi about what I do—sparked by my grandfather’s saying that if you say a word often enough, it becomes you—I didn’t have to get very far into the discussion before someone raised their hand [and said]: “It’s like prayer!”
Q: White people are definitely part of the conversation and message that the film communicates, of course.
Anna Deavere Smith: By the way: my audience is almost always, very, white. And as I said last night, in two of the productions, me and Marcus [Shelby, accompanying Anna on upright bass in Notes From The Field] stopped the show in the middle and said, “Okay, you’re the second act.” And they had to go out in groups of 20 and talk with the facilitator—there was a lot of white people in those audiences. That’s who comes to the theater…at least, that type of theater, the theater that I do.
Q: Last question: do you think that we, as Americans, need some kind of grand social and political reset? Do you think such a thing is even possible or viable or wanted?
Anna Deavere Smith: Don’t you think we’re in the midst of one right now?
Q: Well that’s what I was kind of wondering. Do you think that?
Anna Deavere Smith: I think we’re in a reset. I think even Trump is a reset, and I think the movement against him, and the extent to which former presidents come right out and say it. The way the press comes right out and says it. They’re all sounding like progressive people, you know? I think we’re totally in a reset right now.
Q: This is what it looks like?
Anna Deavere Smith: Well, it’s not a revolution. But it’s a reset. I just hope that it also has cultural impact, and valued impact. It’s very well for us to focus on Trump, but I wrote a whole play about our presidents, traveled with Clinton and Dole on their campaigns in ‘96, hung out with the press.