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Audra McDonald Biography

Birth Name:
Audra Ann McDonald
Birth Place:
Berlin, Germany
Actor, singer

Fast Facts

  • Her father's sisters performed in a gospel group called the McDonald Sisters, who toured in the 1970s
  • Made her Broadway debut as a replacement in The Secret Garden while she was still in school at Juilliard
  • Won three Tony awards in five years and was the first person to win three before the age of 30 (she was 27)
  • Released her debut album, Way Back to Paradise, in 1998
  • Joined the cast of Kate Walsh's Grey's Anatomy spinoff, Private Practice, in 2007
  • Daughter Zoe Madeline is named for friends Zoe Caldwell (Audra's costar in Master Class) and Madeline Kahn
  • Performed at the first gay wedding in New York City, and is an active advocate of marriage equality
  • With her win for Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill in 2014, she became the first actor to win six Tony Awards; she has also won a Tony award in all four acting categories


  • 2016Emmy-Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or a Movie: nominated
  • 2008Emmy-Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie: nominated
  • 2001Emmy-Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie: nominated


  • Sally James McDonald-Swenson -- Daughter
  • Zoe Madeline Donovan -- Daughter
  • Stanley James McDonald Jr. -- Father
  • Anna McDonald -- Mother
  • Alison McDonald -- Sister
  • Bridger Swenson -- Stepson
  • Sawyer Swenson -- Stepson