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Jean Smart (1951)

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  Summary  

Jean E. Smart is an American film, television, and stage actress. She is known for her comedic roles, one of the best known being her role as Charlene Frazier Stillfield on the CBS sitcom Designing Women. She later gained critical acclaim for dramatic work, with her portrayal of Martha Logan on 24. Smart recently appeared as Regina Newly on the ABC sitcom Samantha Who? from 2007 to 2009, another comedic role which garnered the actress an Emmy Award in 2008, and was cast as Hawaii Governor Pat Jameson in the first season of the CBS-TV remake of Hawaii Five-0.

  Biography  

 early life
Smart was born in Seattle, Washington, the daughter of Kay and Douglas Smart, a teacher. The second of four children, she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was thirteen. She is a 1969 graduate of Ballard High School, located in Seattle; it was there that she gained an interest in acting in the drama program. She graduated from the University of Washington Professional Actors Training Program with a BFA. Smart is a member of the University of Washington chapter of the Alpha Delta Pi sorority.

 career
After graduating from college, Smart began her career appearing in regional theater while still living in Seattle (Seattle Repertory Theater, Ashland Shakespeare festival, etc.). She moved to NYC in the mid 1970's with college friend and fellow actress, Elizabeth Wingate , and began working in Off-Broadway productions almost immediately. Before long she made her Broadway debut portraying Marlene Dietrich in the 1981 play Piaf, a role which she would later reprise for the 1984 television version. Also in 1981, Smart was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for her performance in the Off-Broadway play Last Summer at Bluefish Cove.

Smart began working in television in several smaller to mid-size guest parts in the late 1970s and early 1980s, appearing in such shows as The Facts of Life, Alice, and Remington Steele among several others. Her big break came when she was cast in the starring role of Charlene Frazier Stillfield on the comedy series Designing Women from 1986 to 1991.

After leaving Designing Women, Smart's career hit a lag during the 1990s with her work mostly concentrated within made-for-TV movies and smaller- to mid-size roles in films. Notably she portrayed serial killer, Aileen Wuornos, in the TV movie, Overkill: The Aileen Wuornos Story , Ory Baxter in a television version of The Yearling , Sally Brewton in the television miniseries Scarlett , and Mrs. Dittmeyer in The Brady Bunch Movie . In 1995 Smart landed her own series, High Society, which co-starred Mary McDonnell. The show, however, was canceled after just 13 episodes. In 1998, Smart co-starred with Nancy McKeon in another short-lived CBS sitcom, Style & Substance. Her other roles in 1990s included Dana Colby in Steve Martini's Undue Influence , Holly in Neil Simon's The Odd Couple II , and Deborah Sloane in Guinevere among others.

In 2000 Smart's career took a turn for the better when she landed the role of Lorna Lynley on the hit show Frasier. She went on to win two Emmy Awards for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series. In 2001 she was nominated for a Tony Award for her performance in The Man Who Came to Dinner. Soon after she landed roles in several high profile films including Stella Kay Perry in the film Sweet Home Alabama, Kate Sanderson in Bringing Down The House, and Carol in Garden State. She also provided the voice of the alcoholic chain-smoking, Pickles Oblong, on The Oblongs, and played the role of Supervisor of Detectives and ex-wife to Chief Jack Mannion of the Metropolitan Police Department on The District.


From 2002 to 2007 she voiced Dr. Ann Possible in Kim Possible, and in 2004, she was cast in a lead role in the short-lived Center of the Universe, her fourth CBS sitcom, this one co-starring John Goodman and Olympia Dukakis.

In January 2006 Smart joined the cast of 24 playing the mentally unstable First Lady of the United States, Martha Logan, to actor Gregory Itzin's President Charles Logan. Her work was critically praised and she received back-to-back Emmy nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series and Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama for the role in 2006 and 2007.

Smart won the 2008 Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her most recent role, that of Samantha's overbearing mother in the sitcom Samantha Who?, which she played from 2007 to 2009.

She currently is cast in the TV series, $h*! My Dad Says, as Rosemary Pernworth, neighbor of Ed Goodson. She also was cast as Hawaii Governor, Pat Jameson, in the first season of the CBS-TV remake of Hawaii Five-0.

 personal life
Smart is married to actor Richard Gilliland, whom she met while working on the set of Designing Women (he played J.D. Shackelford, the boyfriend of Annie Potts' character, Mary Jo). They have a son, Connor Douglas , and a daughter, Bonnie Kathleen . Gilliland played Captain Stan Cotter on 24 while Smart joined the cast as Martha Logan for season 5.

She contributed to the 2008 campaigns of Barack Obama and John Edwards.

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Jean Smart", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.