Anna Deavere Smith

Anna Deavere Smith photo

Anna Deavere Smith was on September 18, 1950 in Baltimore, Maryland. She is an award-winning actress, playwright, author, and professor. She is currently [2016] the artist-in-residence at the Center for American Progress. Smith is perhaps most widely known for her roles as National Security Advisor Dr. Nancy McNally in The West Wing (2000-06), and as hospital administrator Gloria Akalitus in the Showtime series Nurse Jackie (2009-15).

Smith’s plays are known for their “documentary theatre” style. Plays such as Fires in the Mirror and Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992, both of which featured Smith as the sole performer of multiple and diverse characters and won her the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding One-Person Show two years in a row. Fires in the Mirror dealt with the 1991 Crown Heights riot; Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992 dealt with the 1992 Los Angeles riots. Both of these plays were constructed using material solely from interviews.

She is a recipient of The Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize (2013), two Tony nominations, an Obie, Drama Desk Award, Special Citation from the New York Drama Critics Circle, and numerous other honors.

Learn more at Anna Deavere Smith’s official website

6 Books by Anna Deavere Smith