Angela Bassett biography
Actress, born August 16, 1958, in New York City, New York. Raised with her sister, D'nette, in St. Petersburg, Florida by her single mother, Betty, a social worker. On a high school trip, Bassett became inspired to act after seeing a Kennedy Center production of Of Mice and Men, starring James Earl Jones. Encouraged by a high school teacher, Bassett went on to study at Yale on scholarship, earning a B.A. in Afro-American Studies and an M.F.A. in drama under the renowned stage director, Lloyd Richards. He cast her in the Broadway productions of two August Wilson plays, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom and Joe Turner's Come and Gone. Despite her early success on stage, Bassett had to work hard to break through the stereotypical roles usually assigned to African-American women on screen. Her first role was a bit part in the cult favorite, F/X (1986). In 1991, she had a key role in the seminal anti-gang film, Boyz 'N the Hood. A year later, she landed the role of Katherine Jackson, mother of the Jackson Five singing group in The Jacksons: an American Dream (1992). Bassett continued her stream of strong women roles by portraying Betty Shabazz in Spike Lee's Malcolm X (1992), with Denzel Washington in the title role. She turned in an outstanding performance in her breakthrough role as Tina Turner in What's Love Got To Do With It? (1993), earning an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. Bassett costarred with Whitney Houston in the adaptation of Terry McMillan's Waiting To Exhale in 1995. In 1998, she headlined another McMillan adaptation, How Stella Got Her Groove Back. In Jodie Foster's extraterrestrial-encounter film, Contact (1997), Bassett portrayed a top-level presidential advisor. Back on stage, she played Lady Macbeth in Shakespeare's Hamlet, co-starring Alec Baldwin, at the Joseph Papp Public Theater in New York City in 1998. She played an inner-city schoolteacher opposite Meryl Streep in 1999's Music of the Heart. In 2001, she costarred opposite Robert De Niro in the crime filme The Score, also featuring Marlon Brando and Edward Norton.
Bassett married actor Courtney B. Vance on October 12, 1997.