Jurnee Smollett - Wikipedia

Jurnee Diana Smollett (born October 1, 1986) is an American actress and singer. Smollett began her career as a child actress appearing on television sitcoms, including On Our Own (1994–1995) and Full House (1992–1994). She received critical acclaim and Critic's Choice Award for playing Eve in the 1997 independent drama film Eve's Bayou.

As an adult, Smollett has starred in the films The Great Debaters (2007) and Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor (2013). She also had starring roles in a number of TV series, including the NBC sports drama Friday Night Lights (2009–2011), and the HBO vampire drama True Blood (2013–2014). In 2016, Smollett began playing a leading role as Rosalee, the house slave, in the WGN America period drama Underground. Smollett has won three NAACP Image Awards. In 2018, Smollett was cast as DC Comics superheroine Black Canary in the DC Extended Universe, making her first appearance in Birds of Prey.

Early life Edit

Jurnee Diana Smollett was born in New York City,[1][1] to Janet Harris and Joel Smollett. Her father was Jewish, with ancestors from Russia and Poland,[2][3][4] while her mother is African American.[5][6][7] She is the fourth of six siblings, all performers:[8] one sister, Jazz, and four brothers, Jussie, JoJo, Jake, and Jocqui.[9]

Career Edit

Early works Edit

Smollett began her acting career appearing on Martin in the Christmas episode and Out All Night in 1992. She then had recurring roles as Denise Frazer on the ABC family sitcoms Full House and Hangin' with Mr. Cooper.[10] From 1994 to 1995, she co-starred with her siblings in the short-lived ABC sitcom On Our Own. In 1996, she appeared in the Francis Ford Coppola film Jack, making her big-screen debut.[10]

Smollett received critical acclaim for her performance as 10-year-old Eve in the 1997 film Eve's Bayou opposite Lynn Whitfield, Samuel L. Jackson and Debbi Morgan.[11][12] In casting the role, writer-director Kasi Lemmons envisioned "a light-skinned black child who could convey the nuances of a Creole child in the 60s."[8] She received the Critic's Choice Award and was nominated for a NAACP Image Award.[13] The following year, she joined the cast of the CBS sitcom Cosby, for which she won two NAACP Image Awards.[13] In 1999, Smollett-Bell starred in the ABC TV film Selma, Lord, Selma. In 2000, she co-starred with Sharon Stone and Billy Connolly in the film Beautiful Joe. In 2001, she played the daughter of Angela Bassett in the television film Ruby's Bucket of Blood. In 2005, she co-starred with Bow Wow and Brandon T. Jackson in the roller skating film Roll Bounce. In 2006, she appeared in the drama film Gridiron Gang.[14]

2007–present Edit

In 2007, Smollett portrayed Samantha Booke (loosely based on Henrietta Bell Wells), the sole female debater at Wiley College in the historical film The Great Debaters.[15] The film was produced by Oprah Winfrey and Harvey Weinstein and starred Denzel Washington, who also directed the feature. For her performance, Smollett received NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture. The following year, she returned to television, appearing in two episodes of ABC medical drama Grey's Anatomy. From 2009 to 2011, she was a regular cast member in the DirecTV drama series Friday Night Lights playing Jess Merriweather. From 2010 to 2011, she also co-starred with Jim Belushi and Jerry O'Connell on the short-lived CBS legal drama The Defenders. From 2013 to 2014, she was regular on HBO series True Blood.[16]

In 2013, Smollett played the leading role in the drama film Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor directed by Tyler Perry. The film received negative reviews from critics, but was a box-office hit, grossing $53,125,354. It is the highest-grossing Tyler Perry film which the writer-director did not star in and the highest-grossing Tyler Perry drama.[17] She later played Juanita Leonard, the wife of boxer Sugar Ray Leonard, in the 2016 biographical sport film Hands of Stone co-starring with Usher and Robert De Niro.[18][19]

In 2015, Smollett was cast as lead character in the WGN America period drama series Underground. Smollett played Rosalee, a shy house slave, working on a plantation in 1857.[20] She portrayed Black Canary in the 2020 film Birds of Prey,[21][22] and Letitia "Leti" Lewis in the 2020 HBO series Lovecraft Country[23].

Personal life Edit

Smollett has been active in HIV/AIDS causes since she was 11. Her first encounter with the disease came at age seven when a crew member of On Our Own died of AIDS.[24] She was inspired by the HIV/AIDS survivor Hydeia Broadbent, with whom she eventually worked for HIV/AIDS awareness, including for the Black AIDS Institute and Red Cross. She spoke at the Ryan White Youth Conference, and is on the Board of Directors of Artists for a New South Africa, an organization dedicated to HIV/AIDS in Africa.[25] Smollett is also on the Board of Directors for the Children’s Defense Fund.[26]

On October 24, 2010, she married musician Josiah Bell.[27] Their first child, a son named Hunter, was born on October 31, 2016.[28] In March 2020, Smollett filed for divorce after nearly a decade together.[29]

Filmography Edit

Film Edit

Television Edit

Awards and nominations Edit

References Edit

  1. ^ a b "Jurnee Smollett Bio". BET . Retrieved March 12, 2016 .
  2. ^ Ryzik, Melena (March 9, 2016). "The Smollett Family Business: Acting and Activism". The New York Times . Retrieved June 18, 2019 .
  3. ^ Shepard, Linda (January 21, 2015). "Actress aims to keep 'Dream' alive". C & G Newspapers . Retrieved June 24, 2019 .
  4. ^ Bloom, Nate (March 18, 2016). "Celebrity jews". J. The Jewish News of Northern California . Retrieved June 18, 2019 .
  5. ^ Garmel, Marion (1994-09-06). "You're never on your own in a big family". Indianapolis Star . Retrieved 2011-03-20 .
  6. ^ "What a nice Girl". Hot Sauce. April 1, 2008. Archived from the original on 2012-03-21 . Retrieved 2015-02-19 .
  7. ^ RandomTandem (2010-12-31). "New Artist Alert: Jussie Smollett". Random Tandem. Archived from the original on 2014-05-04 . Retrieved 2014-05-03 .
  8. ^ a b Lena Williams (November 2, 1997). "Up and Coming - Jurnee Smollett - Calm Child at the Center of an Adult Storm". The New York Times . Retrieved September 17, 2015 .
  9. ^ "Jazz Smollet, Troy Wharell Marry". Lipstick Alley. Archived from the original on 2013-06-01.
  10. ^ a b "Jurnee Smollett". Hollywood.com . Retrieved 9 May 2016 .
  11. ^ "Eve's Bayou". 1 June 1996 . Retrieved 9 May 2016 .
  12. ^ Roger Ebert (7 November 1997). "Eve's Bayou" . Retrieved 9 May 2016 .
  13. ^ a b "Jurnee Smollett". IMDb.
  14. ^ "Gridiron Gang". Sep 15, 2006 . Retrieved 15 May 2020 .
  15. ^ "The Great Debaters". 25 December 2007 . Retrieved 9 May 2016 .
  16. ^ EvanDickson. "Two Ladies Move Into Bon Temps For Some 'True Blood ' ". Bloody Disgusting . Retrieved 14 May 2013 .
  17. ^ "Tyler Perry's Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor (2013)". Box Office Mojo . Retrieved 9 May 2016 .
  18. ^ "Usher & Jurnee Smollett gear up in Panama to film 'Hands of Stone ' ". MStarsNews . Retrieved 9 May 2016 .
  19. ^ "Hands of Stone trailer: Robert De Niro coaches Edgar Ramirez". Entertainment Weekly . Retrieved 9 May 2016 .
  20. ^ Cynthia Littleton (February 27, 2015). "WGN America Gives Series Order to Slavery Drama 'Underground ' ". Variety.
  21. ^ Couch, Aaron; McMillan, Graeme (November 20, 2018). "Margot Robbie Reveals Full 'Birds of Prey' Title: 'The Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn ' ". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on 2019-03-02 . Retrieved November 20, 2018 .
  22. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (September 26, 2018). " ' Birds Of Prey' Cast: Mary Elizabeth Winstead Wins Role Of Huntress; Jurnee Smollett-Bell Is Black Canary". Deadline . Retrieved September 26, 2018 .
  23. ^ Yap, Audrey Cleo; Yap, Audrey Cleo (2020-08-16). " ' Lovecraft Country' Star Jurnee Smollett and Creator Misha Green on If They Would Reteam for a Black Canary Project". Variety . Retrieved 2020-08-19 .
  24. ^ "Cover Story". Art & Understanding Magazine. August 2006. Archived from the original on 2007-06-12. (AIDS-related issues magazine)
  25. ^ "Board of Directors". ANSA. Archived from the original on 2007-08-19.
  26. ^ "Board of Directors". Children's Defense Fund. Archived from the original on 2020-04-13 . Retrieved 2020-04-13 .
  27. ^ Zuckerman, Blaine (December 16, 2010). "See Friday Night Lights's Jurnee Smollett's Wedding Photo". People.
  28. ^ Mizoguchi, Karen. "Jurnee Smollett-Bell and Husband Josiah Welcome First Child, Son Hunter Zion". People.
  29. ^ Hearon, Sarah (March 27, 2020). "Jurnee Smollett Files for Divorce From Josiah Bell After Nearly 10 Years of Marriage". Us Weekly . Retrieved August 17, 2020 .

External links Edit