December 29, 1953
Albany, New York, United States
Alan Michael Harris
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American actress and playwright Charlayne Woodard turned early Broadway success into a career that spanned over several decades. The New York native was nominated for a Tony for her performance in the original cast of "Ain't Misbehavin'", a role that she began as a 24-year-old. While appearing on Broadway, she starred in "Cindy" (ABC, 1978), a television adaption of the classic "Cinderella" fairy tale told with an all African-American cast. She made an equally splashy feature film debut when she joined "Ain't Misbehavin'" costar Nell Carter as one of the "White Boys" singers in Milos Forman's big screen rendering of the musical "Hair" (1979). After starring in the Canadian drama "Hard Feelings" (1982), she spent the next several years taking small roles on television shows such as "Taxi" (ABC, 1978-83) and "Spenser: For Hire" (ABC, 1985-88), while mixing in small roles in features like Louis Malle's "Crackers" (1984). She starred opposite Harry Dean Stanton and Crispin Glover in the dramedy "Twister" (1989), and then began a recurring role on the hit sitcom "Roseanne" (ABC, 1988-97, 2018-). Woodard portrayed Vonda, one of the factory coworkers of the title character. She then began appearing on the daytime soap opera "Days of Our Live" (NBC, 1965-) as Desiree McCall. She continued working in features with roles in the Kevin Bacon comedy "He Said, She Said" (1991) and the Michael Keaton crime drama "One Good Cop" (1991). Another high-profile recurring part followed when she was cast as one of Will Smith's aunts on "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" (NBC, 1990-96). During this time period, Woodard found new success as a playwright. Her initial offering "Pretty Fire" debuted in 1993 and went on to win multiple awards. Her television career continued to flourish as she added recurring roles on the popular medical dramas "Chicago Hope" (CBS, 1994-2000) and "ER" (NBC, 1994-2009). She also enjoyed a memorable multi-episode turn playing Catholic nun Sister Peg on "Law and Order: Special Victims Unit" (NBC, 1999-). Her character was ultimately killed in an accidental shooting. She gained notice on the big screen playing opposite Daniel Day-Lewis and Winona Ryder in the film adaption of "The Crucible" (1996). Her film work included a pivotal role in M. Night Shyamalan's "Unbreakable" (2000), and its sequel "Glass" (2019). While remaining active in theater productions, Woodard kept her hand in television with guest roles in shows like "The Leftovers" (HBO, 2014-17) and "The Blacklist" (NBC, 2013-).