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Anna Deavere Smith Biography

Birth Name:
Anna Deavere Smith
Birth Place:
Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Actor, playwright

Fast Facts

  • Worked for an airline to support herself when she first moved to New York City
  • Interviewed more than 50 people from Brooklyn's Crown Heights neighborhood about their experiences to create her 1992 one-woman show Fires in the Mirror
  • Portrays cyclist Lance Armstrong as one of the characters in her stage show Let Me Down Easy
  • Has taught at academic institutions including New York University, Yale University, the University of Southern California at Los Angeles, and as a tenured professor at Stanford University
  • Has been an Artist in Residence for the Ford Foundation, MTV Networks, the Aspen Institute, the Center for American Progress, and Grace Cathedral
  • Has received honorary degrees from academic institutions including the Juilliard School; the School of Visual Arts, University of Pennsylvania; Wesleyan College; and Bryn Mawr College


  • 2012Screen Actors Guild Awards-Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series: nominated
  • 2009Critics' Choice Awards-Best Acting Ensemble: nominated