Kerry Marisa Washington (born January 31, 1977) is an American actress. Since 2012, Washington has gained wide public recognition for starring in the ABC drama Scandal, a Shonda Rhimes series in which she plays Olivia Pope, a crisis management expert to politicians and power brokers in Washington DC. For her role, she has been nominated twice for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series, and a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Television Series.
Washington at the Django Unchained premiere in 2012
|Born||Kerry Marisa Washington
January 31, 1977
The Bronx, New York, U.S.
|Alma mater||George Washington University|
|Spouse(s)||Nnamdi Asomugha (m. 2013)|
Washington is also known for her roles as Della Bea Robinson, in the film Ray (2004), as Kay in The Last King of Scotland (2006), as Alicia Masters in the live-action Fantastic Four films of 2005 and 2007, and as Broomhilda von Schaft in Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained (2012). She has also starred in the independent films Our Song (2000), The Dead Girl (2006), Mother and Child (2009) and Night Catches Us (2010). In 2016, she portrayed Anita Hill in the HBO television film Confirmation and was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or a Movie.
Washington was born in the Bronx, New York City, the daughter of Valerie, a professor and educational consultant, and Earl Washington, a real estate broker. Her father's family is of African American origin, having migrated from South Carolina to Brooklyn. Her mother's family is from Manhattan, and Washington has said that her mother is from a "mixed-race background but from Jamaica, so she is partly English and Scottish and Native American, but also descended from African slaves in the Caribbean." Through her mother, she is a cousin of the former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell.
Washington performed with the TADA! Youth Theater teen group and attended the Spence School in Manhattan from her pre-teen years until graduating from high school in 1994. At age 13, she was taken to watch Nelson Mandela speak at Yankee Stadium upon his release from prison. She attended George Washington University, graduating Phi Beta Kappa in 1998 with a double major in anthropology and sociology. She also studied at Michael Howard Studios in New York City.
In April 2016, Washington confirmed that, in the 1990s in New York, she learned to dance from Jennifer Lopez. During her appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, she told host Jimmy Fallon that "I've been taking dance for a long time, since I was a little girl. I had this very inspiring teacher named Larry Maldonado, for anybody from my neighborhood in the Bronx, he was our role model", Washington continued, "And he had an awesome substitute teacher named Jennifer, who would sometimes step in and teach. But, then she left to move to Los Angeles and be on the TV show In Living Color. So, yes, I learned to dance from JLo!" Washington verified.
Washington got her Screen Actors Guild (SAG) card as a requirement for a commercial that she starred in. Washington made her screen debut in the ABC telefilm Magical Make-Over (1994). She was in the cast of the 1996 PBS sketch comedy-style educational series Standard Deviants, and she appeared in the short "3D" and the feature film Our Song in 2000. She went on to appear in several movies, including Save the Last Dance (2001) and The Human Stain (2003). In 2002 she played Chris Rock's love interest in the spy thriller Bad Company, a film that represented a turning point for her, in that it was the first time in her career that she had made enough money annually to qualify for health insurance under SAG.
In 2004, she played the female lead in Spike Lee's She Hate Me, and she received strong reviews for her performance. After 2004, she held parts in Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005), Little Man (2006), I Think I Love My Wife (2007), and as a wife of 1970s Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in the UK historical drama The Last King of Scotland (2006). Washington has also appeared in the recurring role of Chelina Hall on the ABC television series Boston Legal, and in several episodes of the A&E cable-TV series 100 Centre Street. In 2007, she co-directed and appeared in the music video for hip-hop artist Common's song, "I Want You", the fourth single from his album Finding Forever and became a spokesperson for L'Oréal, appearing in commercials and ads alongside fellow actresses, Scarlett Johansson and Eva Longoria, Gong Li, Michelle Yeoh, Dian Sastrowardoyo, Aishwarya Rai, Maya Karin and model Doutzen Kroes.
Washington narrated the critically acclaimed documentary about the New Orleans-based teenage TBC Brass Band, From the Mouthpiece on Back. She also appears in Maxwell's "Bad Habits" video. In 2009 Washington performed in The People Speak, a documentary feature film that uses dramatic and musical performances of the letters, diaries, and speeches of everyday Americans, based on historian Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States.
In 2010, she made her Broadway debut in David Mamet's Race, alongside James Spader (with whom she worked on "Boston Legal"), David Alan Grier, and Richard Thomas. She also appeared in Tyler Perry's 2010 film For Colored Girls. In October 2011, it was confirmed that she would star in Quentin Tarantino's film Django Unchained, which was released in 2012 and received widespread critical acclaim. She was invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in June 2012 along with 175 other individuals.
In 2013, Washington ranked No. 2 in People magazine's 100 Most Beautiful people and was named Woman of the Year by Glamour magazine. The same year, she ranked No. 20 on Forbes magazine's annual list of the highest-paid actors in television and was announced as the new face of Neutrogena skin care. Washington hosted Saturday Night Live on November 2, 2013, where she impersonated Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey in a cold opening sketch that satirized criticism of Saturday Night Live for not having had any black female cast members for many years.
Since April 2012, Washington has starred in the ABC drama series Scandal, created by Shonda Rimes, as Olivia Pope, a crisis manager who runs her own crisis management firm called Pope & Associates in Washington, D.C.. In this position, she works for high-profile figures, most notably the President of the United States, who is also her on-off lover. The show has been a commercial and critical success, and has been called one of the most talked about drama series on Facebook and Twitter by BuzzFeed. Its success has also drawn attention to racial questions in television, as Washington is the first African-American actress to lead an American network drama series since 1995, when Cicely Tyson starred in the legal drama Sweet Justice on NBC. Tanzina Vega of The New York Times has written that Washington's casting "has prompted discussion among academics and fans of the show about whether Scandal represents a new era of post-racial television, in which cast members are ethnically diverse but are not defined by their race or ethnicity."
Washington's performance has earned positive reviews, and in 2013, she won the award for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series at the 44th NAACP Image Awards and was also presented with the NAACP President's Award. The same year, she was named "Favorite actress" and Scandal "Favorite Drama" of the year at TV Guide's Magazine Fan Favorite Awards  and was also crowned 2013's "TV Star of the Year" by the editors of the magazine. For her work in the second season of Scandal, Washington was nominated for an Emmy at the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards and 66th Primetime Emmy Awards, becoming the first African-American woman to be nominated in the category of Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series in 18 years. She was also nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series as well as a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Television Drama Series.
In addition to Washington's acting, her costumes as Olivia Pope have attracted positive attention, prompting Vanity Fair to name the character one of "The Top Ten Best-Dressed TV Characters" in 2013. According to the show's costume designer, Lyn Paolo, the success of Olivia Pope's wardrobe is based on "this idea of having [her character] wear such soft, feminine colors in a man's world". In 2014, Washington and Paolo won the Influencer Award at the 2014 Ace Fashion Awards for Olivia Pope's stylish clothes on the show.
In 2014, Washington announced her involvement in Malcolm D. Lee's Is He the One? a romantic comedy from MGM. She played the lead role in Confirmation, an HBO movie directed by Rick Famuyiwa about Anita Hill's testimony during Clarence Thomas Supreme Court nomination, which aired in 2016.
In August 2016, it was announced that Washington would be producing a new ABC television show, Patrol, about female LAPD police officers.
For her role in Confirmation, Washington was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie at the 68th Primetime Emmy Awards, as well as the Critics' Choice Awards' equivalent the same year. Confirmation was also nominated for the Emmy Award for Outstanding Television Movie at the Emmys, as well.
Washington was engaged to actor David Moscow from October 2004 to March 2007. Washington married NFL player Nnamdi Asomugha on June 24, 2013 in Hailey, Idaho. They have a daughter and a son.
As a sort of souvenir or memento, she usually tries to keep something from every character that she plays, such as an item of wardrobe or a piece of furniture from the house the character lived in.
On May 19, 2013, she was the commencement speaker for her alma mater, George Washington University. Before giving her commencement address she was presented with an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts.
In 2007, Washington and other celebrities joined for the 2007 Lee National Denim Day, supporting the Women’s Cancer Programs of the Entertainment Industry Foundation. In September 2012, Washington spoke at the Democratic National Convention in favor of re-electing Barack Obama, with her speech focusing on addressing voter apathy.
Washington is also a supporter of gay rights. In August 2013, she was named an honorary chairperson of the GLSEN Respect Awards; and she received the GLAAD Vanguard Award on March 21, 2015. In June 2016, the Human Rights Campaign released a video in tribute to the victims of the 2016 Orlando gay nightclub shooting; in the video, Washington and others told the stories of the people killed there.
She is a member of the Creative Coalition; which is a board of actors, writers, musicians, and producers that explore issues that are at the forefront of national discourse. She is also a member of V-Day, a global movement that brings awareness to violence against women and girls.
|2000||Our Song||Lanisha Brown|
|2001||Save the Last Dance||Chenille|
|2002||Take the A Train||Keisha||Short film|
|2003||United States of Leland, TheThe United States of Leland||Ayesha|
|Human Stain, TheThe Human Stain||Ellie|
|2004||Against the Ropes||Renee|
|She Hate Me||Fatima Goodrich|
|Ray||Della Bea Robinson|
|Mr. & Mrs. Smith||Jasmine|
|Fantastic Four||Alicia Masters|
|Last King of Scotland, TheThe Last King of Scotland||Kay Amin|
|Dead Girl, TheThe Dead Girl||Rosetta|
|2007||I Think I Love My Wife||Nikki Tru|
|Put It in a Book||Sheila||Short film|
|30,000 Leagues Under the Sea||Medical Officer Marissa Brau|
|Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer||Alicia Masters|
|2008||Woman in Burka||Kerry||Short film|
|Miracle at St. Anna||Zana Wilder|
|Lakeview Terrace||Lisa Mattson|
|2009||Life Is Hot in Cracktown||Marybeth|
|Mother and Child||Lucy|
|2010||Night Catches Us||Patricia Wilson|
|For Colored Girls||Kelly / Blue|
|2011||Details, TheThe Details||Rebecca Mazzoni|
|2012||Thousand Words, AA Thousand Words||Caroline McCall|
|Django Unchained||Broomhilda von Schaft|
|2017||Cars 3||Natalie Certain (voice)|
|1994||ABC Afterschool Special||Heather||Episode: "Magical Make-Over"|
|1996||Standard Deviants||Kerry||PBS series|
|2001||NYPD Blue||Maya Young||Episode: "Franco, My Dear, I Don't Give a Damn"|
|Deadline||Tina Johnson||Episode: "The Undesirables"|
|Law & Order||Allie Lawrence||Episode: "3 Dawg Night"|
|100 Centre Street||5 episodes|
|2002||Guardian, TheThe Guardian||Drea Westbrook||Episode: "The Next Life"|
|2004||Wonderfalls||Mahandra McGinty||Episode: "Unaired Pilot"|
|Strip Search||Television film|
|2005–06||Boston Legal||Chelina Hall||5 episodes|
|2008||Psych||Mira Gaffney||Episode: "There's Something About Mira"|
|2010||Black Panther||Princess Shuri / Baker Woman (voice)||Miniseries|
|2012–present||Scandal||Olivia Pope||Lead role|
|2013||Jimmy Kimmel Live||Nerdy Girl||Episode: "After The Oscars"|
|Saturday Night Live||Herself/host||Episode: "Kerry Washington/Eminem"|
|Project Runway||Herself||Guest judge|
|2016||Confirmation||Anita Hill||Television film|
|2009||Race||Susan||Ethel Barrymore Theatre|
Awards and nominationsEdit
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- "On This Day". The New York Times. January 31, 2009. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved August 6, 2009.
- Finn, Natalie (May 2, 2014). "Kerry Washington Is a Mom! Check Out Baby Isabelle Amarachi Asomugha's Birth Certificate". E! News. Archived from the original on April 26, 2016. Retrieved May 2, 2016. Sidebar: Certificate of Live Birth: Isabelle Amarachi Asomugha (County of Los Angeles Department of Public Health). Gives Kerry Washington birth date. Archived from the original on May 2, 2016.
- Note: FilmReference.com states "Born January 5, 1977 (some sources cite 1975)…." at "Kerry Washington Biography (1977?- )". Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved May 2, 2016.
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- "So Who Knew? Washington Connects The Dots". Jamaica Observer. October 14, 2012. Retrieved November 16, 2012.
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- "Academy Invites 176 to Membership". The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. June 29, 2012. Retrieved July 19, 2013.
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- "‘Saturday Night Live’: ‘Scandal’s’ Kerry Washington signs on to host; Eminem to perform". October 16, 2013. Retrieved November 1, 2013.
- Hilton, Shani O (February 28, 2013). "Why Twitter Loves "Scandal"". BuzzFeed. Retrieved May 2, 2013.
- "Scandal – Season 1". Metacritic. Retrieved May 2, 2012.
- Gay, Verne (April 3, 2012). "Shonda Rhimes' 'Scandal' premieres on ABC". Newsday. Retrieved May 2, 2013.
- Vega, Tanzina (January 16, 2013). "A Show Makes Friends and History". New York Times. Retrieved May 2, 2013.
- Clark, Cindy (January 18, 2013). "Kerry Washington to receive NAACP President's Award". USA Today. Retrieved January 24, 2013.
- "'Scandal' Cast Adorably And Excitedly Accepts TV Guide Magazine Fan Favorite Awards (VIDEO)". Huffingtonpost. April 17, 2013. Retrieved May 15, 2013.
- Schneider, Michael (December 19, 2013). "TV Guide Magazine Names Kerry Washington TV Star of the Year". tvguide.com. Retrieved March 13, 2014.
- Obenson, Tambay A. (July 18, 2013). "Kerry Washington Is 1st Black Actress Since Cicely Tyson In 1995 To Earn Drama Lead Actress Primetime Emmy Nomination". Indiewire. Retrieved July 19, 2013.
- Freydkin, Donna (July 10, 2014). "Kerry Washington is 'speechless' for once". USA Today. Retrieved July 12, 2014.
- "Nominations Announced for the 20th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards". sagawards.com. January 18, 2014. Retrieved March 12, 2014.
- "2014 Golden Globes Awards". goldenglobes.com. Archived from the original on April 3, 2014. Retrieved March 12, 2014.
- Miller, Julie (March 21, 2013). "The Top 10 Best-Dressed TV Characters". Vanity Fair. Retrieved May 2, 2013.
- Naoreen, Nuzhat (April 4, 2013). "'Scandal'-ous Fashion Secrets!". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved May 2, 2013.
- "Kerry Washington Wants Olivia Pope to Redefine Power Dressing". elle.com. Retrieved November 23, 2014.
- "The top 10 political TV shows". boston globe.com. Retrieved August 21, 2015.
- Obenson, Tambay A. "Kerry Washington Will Reminisce About Past Loves in Malcolm D. Lee's Wedding Romcom 'Is He the One?'". Retrieved January 8, 2015.
- Friedlander, Whitney. "Photo: Kerry Washington as Anita Hill in HBO’s ‘Confirmation’". Retrieved August 16, 2015.
- "Kerry Washington: Dating Scared Me". People. July 7, 2007. Retrieved July 3, 2013.
- "Kerry Washington Weds Nnamdi Asomugha". People. July 3, 2013. Retrieved July 4, 2013.
- "Kerry Washington weds pro athlete Nnamdi Asomugha". CBS News. July 3, 2013. Retrieved July 8, 2013.
- Lee, Caroline (2013). "Nnamdi Asomugha secretly weds 'Scandal' star Kerry Washington - UPI.com". upi.com. Retrieved July 8, 2013.
- Blumm, K.C. "Kerry Washington Welcomes Daughter Isabelle Amarachi". People. Retrieved May 2, 2014.
- Nessif, Bruna and Holly Passalaqua Kerry Washington and Nnamdi Asomugha Welcome Son Caleb, E! Online, 18 October 2016. Retrieved 18 October 2016.
- We Love Kerry Washington Crave Online.
- Alyssa, Newcomb (May 19, 2013). "Kerry Washington: 'Scandal' Star Shares Memories From Her College Years". ABC News. Retrieved May 20, 2013.
- "Kerry Washington at GWU commencement: Grads must be ‘heroes of own lives’". washingtonpost. May 19, 2013. Retrieved May 20, 2013.
- "Reel Sistas Join the Fight Against Breast Cancer". September 5, 2007. Archived from the original on February 1, 2014. Retrieved January 24, 2013.
- "Kerry Washington DNC Speech: Read The Democratic National Convention Remarks". Huffington Post. September 6, 2012. Retrieved January 15, 2013.
- "Kerry Washington On Gay Rumors: 'I've Never Been Bothered By The Lesbian Rumor'". The Huffington Post. AOL. November 1, 2013. Retrieved March 4, 2015.
- Malkin, Marc (March 3, 2015). "Kerry Washington to Be Honored By GLAAD With Vanguard Award | E! Online". E!. NBCUniversal Cable. Retrieved March 4, 2015.
- Kessler, Robert (March 23, 2015). "Kerry Washington Brings the Crowd to Its Feet With GLAAD Awards Speech | Yahoo Celebrity - Yahoo Celebrity". Yahoo! Celebrity. Yahoo!. Retrieved March 23, 2015.
- "49 Celebrities Honor 49 Victims of Orlando Tragedy | Human Rights Campaign". Hrc.org. Retrieved 2016-06-30.
- Rothaus, Steve (June 12, 2016). "Pulse Orlando shooting scene a popular LGBT club where employees, patrons 'like family'". The Miami Herald. Retrieved June 15, 2016.
- "Kerry Washington: Los Angeles, CA". www.pcah.gov. Retrieved March 7, 2015.
- "Kerry Washington". vday.org. Archived from the original on February 2, 2014. Retrieved January 24, 2013.
- "Kerry Washington, Viola Davis, Ellen Pompeo, Shonda Rhimes star in Hillary Clinton ad". Retrieved 2016-08-01.