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Jean Smart (American Actress) Bio, Facts

Jean Smart

Born Name: Jean Elizabeth Smart
Date of Birth: September 13, 1951
Place of Birth: Seattle, Washington, United States
Education: Ballard High School
Alma mater: University of Washington
Occupation: Actress
Height: 1.76 m
Spouse: Richard Gilliland (m. 1987)
Children: Connor Douglas Gilliland, Bonnie Kathleen Gilliland

Jean Elizabeth Smart (born September 13, 1951) is an American actress. After beginning her career in regional theater in the Pacific Northwest, she appeared on Broadway in 1981, as Marlene Dietrich in the biographical play Piaf. Smart was later cast in a leading role as Charlene Frazier Stillfield on the CBS sitcom Designing Women, which she starred in from 1986 to 1991.

Smart was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play for the 2000 Broadway revival of The Man Who Came to Dinner, and would go on to receive two Primetime Emmy Awards for her role as Lana Gardener on the NBC sitcom Frasier (2000–01). She won a third Primetime Emmy Award for her starring role as Regina Newley on the ABC sitcom Samantha Who? (2007–09). She also portrayed Martha Logan on the action drama series 24 (2006–07). For her performance as Floyd Gerhardt on Noah Hawley's FX crime series Fargo (2015), she earned a Critics' Choice Television Award and a Primetime Emmy Award nomination. From 2017 to 2019, she starred as Melanie Bird in the FX science fiction series Legion.

Smart's film credits include Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey (1993), The Brady Bunch Movie (1995), Guinevere (1999), Sweet Home Alabama (2002), Garden State (2004), I Heart Huckabees (2004), Youth in Revolt (2009), The Accountant (2016), and A Simple Favor (2018).

Early life
Smart was born and raised in Seattle, Washington, the daughter of Kathleen Marie "Kay" (Sanders) and Douglas Alexander Smart, a teacher. She is the second of four children. Smart was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was thirteen years old. On Season 10 of the television show Who Do You Think You Are?, Smart discovered she is a direct descendant of Dorcas Hoar, one of the last women convicted of witchcraft during the Salem witch trials.

She is a 1969 graduate of Ballard High School 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.

1975–1984: Early work; theater
After graduating from college, Smart began her career appearing in regional theater throughout the Pacific Northwest, including in Washington, Alaska, and Oregon. She performed with the Seattle Repertory Theater as well as the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Oregon. In the mid-1970s, she moved to New York City with college friend and fellow actress, Elizabeth Wingate (Lavery), and began working in Off-Broadway and professional regional productions.

In 1980 she appeared as Lady Macbeth at the Pittsburgh Public Theater opposite Tom Atkins as Macbeth and Keith Fowler as Macduff. In 1981, Smart was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for her performance in the Off-Broadway play Last Summer at Bluefish Cove. In February 1981, Smart appeared in a Broadway production of Piaf playing Marlene Dietrich, a role which she would later reprise for the 1984 television version.

In addition to theater, Smart began working in television in several smaller to mid-size guest parts in the late 1970s and early 1980s, appearing on The Facts of Life, Alice, and Remington Steele among several others. According to Smart, after roles on the short-lived series Teachers Only and Reggie in 1983, "casting directors just decided I was funny. When that happens, you usually get pigeonholed, but I was fortunate. I got to move back and forth." The following year, she had a supporting part in the thriller Flashpoint (1984).

1985–1999: Designing Women; film

Smart at the 1991 Primetime Emmy Awards ceremonyIn 1985, Smart was cast in the starring role of Charlene Frazier Stillfield on the comedy series Designing Women, a role she played from the show's beginning in 1986 through its fifth season. After leaving Designing Women, her work mostly concentrated within made-for-television movies and supporting roles in films. Notably she portrayed serial killer, Aileen Wuornos, in the TV movie, Overkill: The Aileen Wuornos Story (1992), followed by a supporting part in the black comedy Mistress (1992), opposite Robert De Niro and Eli Wallach. Critic Roger Ebert praised the film and called Smart's character portrayal "calculating."

The following year, she appeared in the family drama Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey (1993), and as Ory Baxter in a television version of The Yearling (1994). She was then cast as Sally Brewton in the television miniseries Scarlett (1995), and appeared in a supporting role in The Brady Bunch Movie (1995). She would also appear in the television thriller film A Stranger In Town (1995), opposite Gregory Hines.

In 1995 Smart was cast as the lead in the comedy series High Society, which co-starred Mary McDonnell and ran for 13 episodes, followed by a role opposite Nancy McKeon in another short-lived CBS sitcom, Style & Substance. Other roles included a part in Neil Simon's The Odd Couple II (1998), and as Deborah Sloane in the drama Guinevere (1999). She had a lead role in the comedy Forever Fabulous (1999) as an aging beauty queen.

2000–2011: Television and critical success

Smart after her Primetime Emmy Award win on September 21, 2008In 2000, Smart was cast as Lana Gardner on the hit show Frasier, set in her home town of Seattle. She went on to win two Emmy Awards for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series. Reflecting on the role, Smart said: "I had loved that role on Frasier so much, particularly that first episode. It’s nice to get nominated and win for something you were particularly proud of. At the time I was a little bit snobby about doing guest parts. Based on what I don’t know. It wasn’t something I was seeking. But my agent said, “You have to read this.” I thought it was hilarious and the show was brilliant so I didn’t even hesitate. I remember when we did the table read with the rest of the cast we could hardly get through it we were laughing so hard."

The same year, she played in a Broadway production of The Man Who Came to Dinner, which earned her a Tony Award nomination. Soon after, she landed roles in several high-profile films including Sweet Home Alabama (2002), playing the mother in law of Reese Witherspoon, and in the comedy Bringing Down The House (2002), opposite Queen Latifah. She also had a supporting role in the independent drama Garden State (2004). Between 2000 and 2004, Smart 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 also provided the voice of the alcoholic chain-smoking, Pickles Oblong, on The Oblongs. In 2004, she reprised her voice role as Reba Heyerdahl in an episode of the Nickelodeon series Hey Arnold!. The same year, she was cast in a lead role in the short-lived Center of the Universe. She also had a supporting role in David O. Russell's I Heart Huckabees (2004).

In January 2006, Smart joined the cast of the Fox series 24, playing the mentally unstable First Lady of the United States, Martha Logan, to actor Gregory Itzin's President Charles Logan. 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. She also appeared in several films between 2006 and 2010, including the Curtis Hanson-directed drama Lucky You (2007), opposite Drew Barrymore; Youth in Revolt (2009); and the independent comedy Barry Munday (2010).

Smart won her third Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for portraying Samantha's overbearing mother in the sitcom Samantha Who?, opposite Christina Applegate, which she played from 2007 to 2009. She later was cast as Hawaii Governor Pat Jameson during the first season of the CBS-TV remake of Hawaii Five-0.

2012–present: Fargo and other projects

Smart at the 2018 San Diego Comic-Con promoting Legion.In 2012, Smart was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series for her role in Harry's Law. She then had a supporting role in the Lifetime film Call Me Crazy: A Five Film (2013).

In 2015, Smart starred in the second season of the FX television series, Fargo, portraying Floyd Gerhardt, whose husband is Fargo's most prominent organized crime syndicate, and who is forced to take over after her husband suffers a debilitating stroke. She later finds herself having to lead the Gerhardt dynasty and deal with her sons who are vying to replace their father. For her performance, Smart won the Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Movie/Miniseries, and was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie.

In 2016, Smart had a role in the thriller The Accountant, opposite Ben Affleck, Anna Kendrick, and John Lithgow.

In 2018, Smart played a guardian angel, to co-star Candace Cameron, in Hallmark's A Shoe Addict's Christmas, which aired Sunday November 25, 2018.

in 2019, it was announced Smart would play older Laurie Juspeczyk in HBO television series Watchmen

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's character, Mary Jo Shively). They have a son, Connor Douglas (born 1989), and a daughter, Bonnie Kathleen (adopted as a baby from China in May 2009). Gilliland played Captain Stan Cotter on 24 while Smart later played First Lady Martha Logan on the same series.

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Categories: 1951 births,Actresses from Seattle,American film actresses,American Shakespearean actresses,American stage actresses,American television actresses,American voice actresses,Ballard High School (Seattle, Washington) alumni,20th-century American actresses,21st-century American actresses,Outstanding Performance by a Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series Primetime Emmy Award winners,People with type 1 diabetes,University of Washington alumni

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