Fast Facts

  • Originally pursued an electrical engineering degree at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, but switched to acting---and to Howard University---after failing pre-calculus.
  • Worked her way through Howard as a Pentagon receptionist by day and a singing/dancing waitress on a dinner cruise at night.
  • Began landing TV work in the late 1990s, first with small parts on ER and Smart Guy, and later with recurring roles on The Division and Boston Legal. 
  • Breakout role came with hip-hop drama Hustle & Flow (2005), in which she played the prostitute Shug and performed the Oscar-winning song "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp."
  • Hustle role brought Henson to the attention of the casting director for David Fincher's The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008), in which Henson gave an acclaimed performance as the title character's adopted mother, Queenie.

Awards

  • 2008, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role: Nominee
  • 2008, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture: Nominee
  • 2005, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture: Nominee
  • 2008, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series: Nominee
  • 2008, Oscar — Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role: Nominee
  • 2011, Emmy — Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie: Nominee
  • 2009, Critics' Choice Awards — Best Supporting Actress: Nominee
  • 2015, Critics' Choice Television Awards — Best Actress in a Drama Series: Winner
  • 2009, Critics' Choice Awards — Best Acting Ensemble: Nominee
  • 2015, Emmy — Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series: Nominee
  • 2007, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series: Nominee

Relationships

  • Bernice Gordon — Mother
  • Marcell — Son
  • Boris Henson — Father
  • William Lamar Johnson — Ex-significant Other

College

  • Attended North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, Greensboro, North Carolina, United States; Howard University, Washington, District of Columbia, United States (BA in Fine Arts, 1995)

Details

  • Birth Name: Taraji Penda Henson
  • Birth Place: Washington, District of Columbia, United States
  • Birthday: September 11, 1970, Virgo
  • Profession: Actor
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