At a Glance

Kerry Washington : Biography at a Glance

  • Emmy, SAG, and Golden Globe nominated actor, director, producer, and activist Kerry Washington is a versatile and fearless multi‐hyphenate who continues to astound with the depth of her talent.
  • Washington received widespread public recognition for her role as Olivia Pope on the hit ABC drama Scandal, breaking barriers by becoming the first African-American woman since 1974 to headline a network TV drama. Over the course of seven seasons, Washington earned two Primetime Emmy nominations, a Golden Globe nomination, a SAG nomination, and two NAACP Image Awards for her leading role on the Peabody Award­‐winning series.
  • Her latest release is Little Fires Everywhere for Hulu alongside Reese Witherspoon. Washington received an Emmy nomination in the “Outstanding Lead Actress in Limited Series or Movie” category for her portrayal of Mia Warren.
  • Washington is a lifelong advocate and activist. She is dedicated to using her voice to support a healthy and fully participatory democracy by ensuring that all eligible Americans—particularly those who have been historically underrepresented—are engaged and empowered to affect change in their community.
  • She was honored with the NAACP President’s Award, recognizing her special achievements in furthering the cause of civil rights and public service.
Biography

Emmy, SAG, and Golden Globe nominated actor, director, producer, and activist Kerry Washington is a versatile and fearless multi-­‐hyphenate who continues to astound with the depth of her talent. A native of The Bronx, New York, Washington has received high acclaim for her work in film, television, and theater.

Washington received widespread public recognition for her role as Olivia Pope on the hit ABC drama Scandal, breaking barriers by becoming the first African-American woman since 1974 to headline a network TV drama. Over the course of seven seasons, Washington earned two Primetime Emmy nominations, a Golden Globe nomination, a SAG nomination, and two NAACP Image Awards for her leading role on the Peabody Award-­‐winning series. With steamy on-­‐air chemistry and a flair for fashion, Washington turned Olivia Pope into an iconic character.

Washington’s performances over the years have received many accolades, including nominations for the Independent Spirit Awards, People’s Choice Awards, MTV Movie Awards, and wins for the BET Awards, and Teen Choice Awards. Washington’s film credits include: Cars 3, Django Unchained, Ray, The Last King of Scotland, Save the Last Dance, Lift, For Colored Girls, Night Catches Us, Peeples, The Details, Mother and Child, Life is Hot in Cracktown, Lakeview Terrace, Miracle at St. Anna, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver, I Think I Love My Wife, The Dead Girl, Fantastic Four, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, and Our Song.

In 2016, Washington launched her production company Simpson Street, which uses art, entertainment and technology to share narratives that amplify  our  common  humanity  while  affirming  the  value  of every individuals’ journey. Simpson Street’s first project, HBO’s  Confirmation,  earned  Emmy,  Golden Globe, NAACP Image Award and Screen Actors Guild Awards nominations. Simpson Street launched the series Five Points on Facebook Watch in 2017, which debuted its second season on the  platform  last August. The company also executive produced ABC special, “Live in Front of a Studio Audience” in Fall 2019, which featured re-­‐imaginings of two classic sitcoms -­‐ “All in the Family” and “Good Times”. The special received four Emmy nominations and took home the trophy for Outstanding Variety Special (Live). Other projects in development include action-­‐drama SHADOW FORCE in partnership with Sterling K. Brown and Danielle Reardon’s Indian Meadows Productions and Made with Love Media’s Stephen “Dr” Love.

Washington and Simpson Street’s latest release is “Little Fires Everywhere” for Hulu alongside Reese Witherspoon and her Hello Sunshine productions. The series began streaming on the platform on March 18th, 2020 and launched internationally on Amazon Prime on May 22nd, 2020. Washington received an Emmy nomination in the “Outstanding Lead Actress in Limited Series or Movie” category for her portrayal of Mia Warren. The series also received nominations in the following categories: Outstanding Limited Series; Outstanding Directing For A Limited Series, Movie Or Dramatic Special; Outstanding Original Music And Lyrics; and Outstanding Music Composition For A Limited Series, Movie Or Special (Original Dramatic Score).

Washington brought her latest film, THE FIGHT to Sundance this past January where Magnolia Pictures picked up the distribution rights for a Summer 2020 release. This documentary provides unprecedented access to 5 ACLU lawyers as they battle the current administration’s attack on human rights and civil liberties -­‐ from abortion rights to the “Muslim Ban”. The film was released on VOD and in theaters on  Friday, July 31st. Washington is currently in production for Ryan Murphy’s THE PROM for Netflix -­‐ she will star opposite Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman.

In 2009, Washington made her Broadway debut in David Mamet’s Race, alongside James Spader and David Alan Grier. Washington returned to the stage last year in Christopher Demos-­‐Brown’s American Son opposite Steven Pasquale, Jeremy Jordan, and Eugene Lee. Washington has received a Drama League Award nomination and vast critical acclaim for her performance in the limited Broadway run. In January 2019, Washington announced that Simpson Street would be partnering with Netflix to adapt AMERICAN SON for the screen. The production premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in September and was released as a Netflix Television Event on Friday, November 1st. The film was nominated for an Emmy in the ‘Outstanding Television Movie’ category. Washington also received a PGA nomination for ‘Outstanding Producer of Televised or Streamed Motion Pictures’ in support of AMERICAN SON as well as three NAACP nominations for Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Limited-­‐Series or Dramatic Special; Outstanding Television Movie, Limited-­‐Series or Dramatic Special; and Outstanding Directing in  a Motion Picture (Television). In addition to acting and producing, Washington is also directing. Her most recent director credits include "SMILF", "Scandal", and “Insecure”.

Washington is a lifelong advocate and activist. She is dedicated to using her voice to support a healthy and fully participatory democracy by ensuring that all eligible Americans—particularly those who have been historically underrepresented—are engaged and empowered to affect change in their community. Washington has been involved with many social and political causes including her service on President Obama’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities. In 2013, Washington was honored with the NAACP President’s Award recognizing her special achievements in furthering the cause of civil rights and public service. In 2014, Time magazine included Washington on its annual Time 100 list of the Most Influential People in the World. Washington received the GLAAD Media Vanguard Award in 2015 and the ACLU Bill of Rights Award in 2016. In 2018, Washington joined Natalie Portman, America Ferrera, Reese Witherspoon, and many more in the Time’s Up movement. She is currently a co-­‐chair of Mrs. Obama's When We All Vote campaign and the Founder of Influence Change 2020, a strategic initiative that partners with high impact, non profit organizations to increase voter turnout.

Washington currently serves as both a brand ambassador and creative consultant for Neutrogena.

Reviews

She was fantastic. She was smart, funny, and so appreciative. At least ten people have told me it was the best event they had every attended.

Brandeis University
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