Alluring audiences with emotionally tinged performances has been the signature of Angela Bassett, who personifies a sense of dignity and pride whenever she appears on screen. Her talent and abilities as an actress and executive producer in both television and film have time and time again earned the respect and acclaim from her peers and fans, proving her to be one of the industry’s premier leading ladies.
Perhaps best known for her intense portrayal of Tina Turner in the biopic What’s Love Got to Do With It, opposite Laurence Fishburne, Bassett earned the Golden Globe® for Best Actress in a Drama, an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Motion Picture, and an Academy Award® nomination for her powerful performance. She first made the successful crossover to the silver screen when she appeared in a small but rich role in John Singleton’s Boyz N The Hood. Bassett’s other memorable roles include, Terry McMillan’s Waiting to Exhale, Strange Days, Vampire in Brooklyn, Supernova and Notorious, portraying the mother of slain rapper, Christopher “Notorious B.I.G.”
Bassett has also received NAACP Image Awards for performances in films such as How Stella Got Her Groove Back, The Score, Music of the Heart, Malcolm X and Contact. She was also recognized for her leading role in the television movie Ruby’s Bucket of Blood, bringing her total number of Image Awards to nine. Bassett also received a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for her performance in Ruby’s Bucket of Blood and an Emmy® nomination for Best Actress in a television movie for her work in The Rosa Parks Story.
For the ABC miniseries The Jacksons: An American Dream, Bassett received critical raves for her touching performance as Katherine Jackson, as well as receiving an Emmy nomination for the Uncle Jed’s Barbershop episode of PBS’ Storytime; and critical nods for narrating the miniseries, Africans in America, also for PBS. Other notable television roles have included the final season of NBC’s hit primetime series E.R. and a recurring role in ABC’s hit drama series Alias. She most recently appeared in two seasons of the anthology series American Horror Story. She starred in the third season, American Horror Story: Coven, as Marie Laveau, and the fourth, American Horror Story: Freak Show, as Desiree Dupree. In 2015, she made the jump to directing with the Whitney Houston biopic Whitney, which aired on Lifetime.
Nominations and awards aside, one of the most gratifying moments of her career was to merge faith and talent when she gave voice to various characters in the all-time best-selling The Bible Experience.
Beginning her career on stage and continuing to this day, this Yale School of Drama graduate completed several productions on and off Broadway, including Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Colored People’s Time, Henry IV, Part I, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, Antigone, Pericles and Black Girl. Bassett returned to the stage in 1998 to star opposite Alec Baldwin in Macbeth at the Joseph Papp Public Theater in New York, in 2005 starred with her husband, Courtney B. Vance, in the North American Premier production of John Guare’s stage adaptation of His Girl Friday at the historic Guthrie Theater, and recently received rave reviews for her work with Fishburne in August Wilson’s classic play Fences at the prestigious Pasadena Playhouse.
Bassett and Vance co-wrote the inspirational book, Friends: A Love Story, their real-life love story of the two who were friends for many years before marrying. They have also formed Bassett/Vance Productions and their first venture, Book of the Year, marks Bassett’s directorial debut. Based on the novel Erasure by Percival Everett and adapted by Dwayne Johnson-Cochran the dramatic comedy follows Monk Ellison, a prominent black literary figure. Ellison writes a faux biography from the perspective of a barely literate hoodlum to decry what is wrong with the glorification of “ghetto” culture but when the book is lauded as a possible contender for the National Book Award, he must choose between pride and fame.
The couple reside outside of Los Angeles with their twins, Bronwyn Golden & Slater Josiah.