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  • Date of birth : 18/09/1950



  • Smith Deavere Anna


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Anna Deavere Smith (1950)

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Anna Deavere Smith is an American actress, playwright, and professor. She is currently the artist in residence at the Center for American Progress.


 early life
Smith was born in Baltimore, Maryland, the daughter of Anna (née Young), an elementary school principal, and Deavere Young Smith, a coffee merchant. Smith is an alumna of the historic Western High School . She then attended Beaver College , graduating in 1971. She received her M.F.A. in Acting from the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, California.

At the beginning of her career, Smith appeared in a wide range of stage productions, including the role of Mistress Quickly in an Off Broadway production of Shakespeare's Merry Wives of Windsor with the Riverside Shakespeare Company, produced by Joseph Papp and the New York Shakespeare Festival, set in New Orleans in post-Civil War America. For the role, Smith transformed herself into a "Cajun voodoo woman," an indication of the actress' transformational power that would manifest itself in her future work.

Smith is best known for her "documentary theatre" style in plays such as Fires in the Mirror and Twilight: Los Angeles,both of which featured Smith as the sole performer of multiple and diverse characters and won her the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding One-Person Show two years in a row. Fires in the Mirror dealt with the 1991 Crown Heights Riot. Twilight: Los Angeles dealt with the 1992 Los Angeles riots. Both of these plays were constructed using material solely from interviews. House Arrest and Let Me Down Easy continued in this style.

Let Me Down Easy, which centered on an exploration of the meaning of the word "grace," debuted at the Long Wharf Theatre in January 2008. It was also performed at the American Repertory Theater in September and October 2008. A revised version of the show had its New York City premiere Off-Broadway at Second Stage Theatre in October 2009 and enjoyed favorable reviews and an extension into January 2010. She debuted her one-woman play, The Arizona Project in Phoenix, Arizona, in November 2008. The piece, which explored "women's relationships to justice and the law," was commissioned by Bruce Ferguson, director of Future Arts Research , a new artist-driven research program at Arizona State University in Phoenix.

As of July 2009 Smith is the artist in residence with the Center for American Progress and is developing a new show called The Americans, which documents change in Washington, DC.

 Film and television
Smith has appeared in several films, including Philadelphia, The American President, Rent, and Rachel Getting Married. She had recurring roles on The West Wing and The Practice. Smith appears as hospital administrator Mrs. Akalitus in the Showtime dark comedy series Nurse Jackie, which premiered in June 2009.


Smith teaches in the Department of Performance Studies at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. From 1990 to 2000 she was a professor in the drama department at Stanford University. She also teaches at NYU School of Law.

In 2000 Smith published her first book, Talk to Me: Travels in Media and Politics. In 2006 she released another, Letters to a Young Artist: Straight-up Advice on Making a Life in the Arts-For Actors, Performers, Writers, and Artists of Every Kind.

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Anna Deavere Smith", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.