Angela Bassett Biography

Angela Bassett is an American actress, who is most known for her roles in biographical productions. Check out this biography to know about her childhood, family life, achievements and other facts related to her life.

Quick Facts

Birthday: August 16, 1958

Nationality: American

Famous: Black Actresses African American Actress

Age: 61 Years, 61 Year Old Females

Sun Sign: Leo

Also Known As: Angela Evelyn Bassett

Born in: Harlem, New York City, New York, United States

Famous as: Actress

Height: 5'4" (163 cm), 5'4" Females

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Spouse/Ex-: Courtney B. Vance (m. 1997)

father: Daniel Benjamin Bassett

mother: Betty Jane

children: Bronwyn Vance, Slater Vance

City: New York City

U.S. State: New Yorkers

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Angela Bassett is an American actress, who is most known for her roles in biographical productions like 'What's Love Got to Do with It' and 'The Rosa Parks Story'. She has worked on a large variety of projects in her illustrious career spanning over three decades. Even though she performed in a dance group as a child, she discovered her love for acting during a field trip to Washington D.C. in her 11th grade, after watching actor James Earl Jones perform in a Kennedy Center production of the play 'Of Mice and Men'. Before getting into acting, she briefly served as a receptionist at a beauty salon and worked as a photo researcher at 'U.S. News & World Report' magazine. However, she proved her acting prowess as a theatre actor and went on to feature in a number of movies and television shows. Some of her notable films include 'Boyz n the Hood', 'Malcolm X', 'Panther', 'Waiting to Exhale', 'Akeelah and the Bee', 'Green Lantern', 'Black Nativity' and 'London Has Fallen'. She appeared on the television series 'ER', 'American Horror Story', and did voice acting for 'BoJack Horseman'.

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Childhood & Early Life
  • Angela Bassett, who studied under renowned stage director Lloyd Richards, started her acting career on stage under his direction. She appeared in two August Wilson plays, 'Ma Rainey's Black Bottom' (1984) and 'Joe Turner's Come and Gone' (1986), at the Yale Repertory Theatre. Around the same time, she was featured in J. E. Franklin's 'Black Girl' at Second Stage Theatre.
  • She soon switched to TV and films, but initially she was mostly cast in stereotypical roles reserved for African-American women. Her first major role came in 1991 when she was cast in John Singleton's 'Boyz N The Hood'. Her friend Laurence Fishburne, who also acted in the movie, had recommended her for the role.
  • Bassett, who was a big 'Jackson 5' fan, was offered the role of Katherine Jackson in the mini-series 'The Jacksons: An American Dream' in 1992. She went on to play the role of Betty Shabazz in the biopic 'Malcolm X', which released in the same year. She would portray Betty Shabazz again in 'Panther', released in 1995.
  • In 1993, she got the breakthrough role of her career, playing Tina Turner in the biographical film 'What's Love Got to Do with It'. Her friend, Laurence Fishburne, who had previously turned down the role of Ike Turner five times, portrayed the character after Bassett was roped in to play the lead role.
  • In 1995 and 1998, she played major roles in two film adaptations of books by Terry McMillan, 'Waiting to Exhale' and 'How Stella Got Her Groove Back'. In the former, she worked alongside Whitney Houston, the most awarded female artist of all time.
  • Angela Bassett continued to appear on stage productions, working with her husband Courtney B. Vance in 'His Girl Friday' in 2005. The next year, she starred in another August Wilson play, 'Fences', alongside Fishburne.
  • In 2002, she played the protagonist in the biographical telefilm 'The Rosa Parks Story'. In 2006, she worked with Keke Palmer and Laurence Fishburne in the critically acclaimed movie 'Akeelah and the Bee'. She went on to appear in a major role in the 2009 biopic 'Notorious'.
  • On television, she made guest appearances in a number of shows, before being cast as Dr. Cate Banfield in the final season of the long-running medical drama 'ER' in 2008. More recently, she has appeared in four seasons of 'American Horror Story', earning a number of award nominations for her performance.
Major Works
  • Angela Bassett is best known for portraying strong black women in a number of biographical films and TV series. She received much praise for playing Betty Shabazz in 'Malcolm X' and in 'Panther'. She charmed the audience with her portrayal of the titular character in the TV movie 'The Rosa Parks Story'.
  • 'What's Love Got to Do with It' is her most critically acclaimed work so far and earned her a number of prestigious awards and nominations. The film boasts of a 96% "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes and grossed nearly $40 million in the US.
Awards & Achievements
  • For her portrayal of Tina Turner in the biopic 'What's Love Got to Do with It', Angela Bassett was nominated for the 'Academy Award' for 'Best Actress'. She has received a bunch of awards for this role, including the 'Golden Globe Award' for 'Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy'.
  • She has received three 'Primetime Emmy Awards' nominations so far, with two back-to-back nominations in 2014-15 for her role in the television series 'American Horror Story'. She also received two 'Screen Actors Guild Awards' nominations for 'Ruby's Bucket of Blood' and 'Betty and Coretta'.
Personal Life & Legacy
  • In 1997, Angela Bassett married actor, Courtney B. Vance, whom she met while studying at Yale. After going through seven years of failed fertility treatments, the couple gave birth to twins Bronwyn Golden and Slater Josiah via a surrogate mother. The family currently lives in Los Angeles, California.
  • As a black woman, she considered it important for her to actively participate in politics during Barack Obama's reelection campaign in 2012. She also supported Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.
  • When Angela Bassett was very young, most girls her age only had white dolls like Barbie. However, she loved the black dolls her Aunt Golden gave her after several companies started making black dolls following the release of the James Brown song 'Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Proud'.
  • She was injured during the filming of a domestic violence scene in 'What's Love Got to Do with It'. It was the same footage that was used in the movie.

1. Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

  (Action, Sci-Fi, Adventure, Fantasy)

2. Mission: Impossible - Fallout (2018)

  (Adventure, Thriller, Action)

3. Boyz n the Hood (1991)

  (Drama, Crime)

4. Malcolm X (1992)

  (Romance, Biography, Drama, History)

5. Black Panther (2018)

  (Action, Sci-Fi, Adventure)

6. Akeelah and the Bee (2006)


7. What's Love Got to Do with It (1993)

  (Biography, Music, Drama)

8. Contact (1997)

  (Sci-Fi, Drama, Mystery, Thriller)


Golden Globe Awards
1994 Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical What's Love Got to Do with It (1993)

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- Angela Bassett Biography
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Last Updated
- February 14, 2017
Angela Bassett

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