Alfre Woodard

One of the most accomplished and talented African-American actresses of her generation, Alfre Woodard earned an Oscar nomination and multiple Emmy wins in a prolific film and TV career that spanned over three decades. Woodard worked primarily in drama, where she was celebrated for her grounding force in "Passion Fish" (1992), "Crooklyn" (1994), "How to Make an American Quilt" (1995) and "Down in the Delta" (1998), though she occasionally offered up her uninhibited wit in "Beauty Shop" (2005) and "Desperate Housewives" (ABC, 2004-2012). Among Woodard's most praised performances were TV movies that explored the African-American experience, including James Baldwin's "Go Tell it on the Mountain" (PBS, 1985), "The Piano Lesson" (CBS, 1995), "Miss Evers' Boys" (HBO, 1997) and the TV movie remake of the feature "Steel Magnolias" (Lifetime, 2012). She also shown in guest roles, including her turn as a mentally ill mother on the hit vampire series "True Blood" (HBO, 2008-14). Woodard never considered herself a star but rather a working actress, though her rich gallery of characterizations - whether rural and poverty-stricken or educated women in positions of power - embodied an instinctual savvy and realistic viewpoint that placed her in a league of her own.