Regina King Biography

(Actress and Director Best Known for Her Film ‘If Beale Street Could Talk’)

Birthday: January 15, 1971 (Capricorn)

Born In: Los Angeles, California, United States

Regina King is an American actress best known for delivering award winning performances in films and series’ such as If Beale Street Could Talk and American Crime. Regina’s parents divorced when she was a child, after which she moved to LA with her mother. She began her acting career career as a teenager in 1985 with a supporting role in the sitcom titled 227. After making her film debut in the 1991 film Boyz n the Hood, she went on playing supporting roles in films such as Higher Learning, Jerry Maguire and Enemy of the State. Her television career became her primary focus in the 2000s as she appeared in series’ such as Leap of Faith, 24 and Southland. She further appeared playing supporting roles in series’ such as The Big Bang Theory and Shameless. 2015’s American Crime was her big breakthrough, for which she won two Emmy Awards for her performance. She further won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in the 2018 film titled If Beale Street Could Talk. In 2020, she directed the film One Night in Miami, for which she won a Golden Globe Award for Best Director.

Quick Facts

Also Known As: Regina Rene King

Age: 53 Years, 53 Year Old Females


Spouse/Ex-: Ian Alexander Sr. (m. 1997 - div. 2007)

father: Thomas King

mother: Gloria King

siblings: Reina King

children: Ian Alexander Jr.

Born Country: United States

Actresses Directors

Height: 5'3" (160 cm), 5'3" Females

Grouping of People: African American Actresses

Notable Alumni: Westchester High School

U.S. State: California

City: Los Angeles

More Facts

education: University Of Southern California, Westchester High School

Childhood & Early Life

Regina King was born Regina Rene King, on January 15, 1971, in Cincinnati, Ohio, to Gloria and Thomas King. She was raised into a middle class family as one among two children in the family. She grew up with a younger sister named Reina, who is a retired actress.

Regina’s father worked as an electrician, while her mother was a special education teacher. Her parents divorced when she was still a child. Regina grew up with her mother in Los Angeles, California.

Ever since she was a kid, Regina wanted to become an actress. Her fascination with performing arts began when she was in school. She graduated high school in 1988 from the Westchester High School.

Regina began her training in acting when she was still a child. Her acting coach was actress Betty A. Bridges, who trained Regina for close to 10 years before she made her acting debut in 1985.

While she had already started her acting career in school, Regina opted to complete her formal education. Following her high school graduation, she attended the University of Southern California.

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Regina King began auditioning for roles in films and television in her early teen years. She made her acting debut in 1985 with a recurring role as Brenda Jenkins in the sitcom titled 227. It was the debut role of her career, which she played until 1990.

With this major breakthrough early in her career, she had already established herself as a bankable young star. However, before she took on another acting project, she decided to complete her studies first. Hence, only after the conclusion of 227 in 1990 did she began to go for other acting gigs.

In 1991, she made her film debut with the coming-of-age drama film titled Boyz n the Hood. She played Shalika in the film, which was a critical and commercial success. Although she had a small role in the film, it was enough for Regina to exhibit her acting skills.

In 1993, she further appeared in the romantic drama film titled Poetic Justice, which starred Janet Jackson in the lead role. Regina played a supporting role as Iesha Ashley in the film. However, the film received only a very average response from the critics and the audience.

She followed it in 1995 with a drama film titled Higher Learning. She played a supporting role as Monet in the film, which was an average critical and commercial success. Hence, in the first three films of her career, she faced moderate to good success. All three of the films were directed by John Singleton and touched upon the themes of racism.

In 1996, she had a major acting breakthrough when she appeared playing a supporting role as Marcee Tidwell in the romantic comedy sports drama film titled Jerry Maguire. The film turned out to be a major critical and commercial success.

As for her television career, she mostly appeared playing small/guest roles in TV series’ such as Living Single and Northern Exposure.

In the late 1990s, her filmography saw some major additions such as Enemy of the State and Mighty Joe Young. By the early 2000s, she had established herself as a remarkable young black actress. It was in the 2000s that she attained widespread recognition that her acting performances.

In 2002, she appeared playing one of the lead roles in the sitcom titled Leap of Faith. She played Cynthia in the series which turned out to be a critical and commercial failure.

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As for her film career, she appeared playing major roles in films such as Daddy Day Care, A Cinderella Story and Ray. Ray was an autobiographical film of the musician named Ray Charles and was met with major critical and commercial acclaim. Jamie Foxx starrer film earned many awards, including a Screen Actors Guild Awards for Outstanding Ensemble in a Motion Picture.

In 2007, she further appeared playing a supporting role as Layla in the comedy film titled Year of the Dog. The film, which received its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, was a major critical and moderate commercial success.

In the same year, she appeared playing a major role in the action-drama series titled 24. She played Sandra Palmer in the internationally popular series, which was a huge critical and commercial success.

In the late 2000s, she further played another critically acclaimed role as Detective Lydia Adams in the crime drama series titled Southland. Regina appeared in the first five seasons of the series, which was a critical success. For her role, she received two Critics’ Choice Television Award nominations.

She further appeared playing supporting roles in films such as This Christmas and Our Family Wedding.

In 2013, she appeared playing Janine Davis in the sitcom The Big Bang Theory. She played a recurring role in the series, wherein she appeared in many seasons of the series until 2019.

In 2014, she appeared playing supporting roles in two series’, The Strain and Shameless.

In 2015, she got the television role which turned out to be the biggest career breakthrough of her career. In the first season of the crime drama anthology, American Crime, she appeared playing Aliyah Shadeed. It was a recurring role. However, in the second and the third seasons, she appeared playing major roles as Terri LaCroix and Kimara Walters, respectively.

American Crime was a critically and commercially acclaimed series’ that won many awards and honours. Regina was nominated for three Emmy Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actress for her role in the series and ended up winning the award for the first two seasons. The success of American Crime turned out to be a major turning point for her career.

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She followed it with the role of Erika Murphy in the psychological drama series The Leftovers. She played the main role in the second season of the series and for the third season, it was a guest appearance.

In 2018 and 2019, she further appeared playing key roles in series’ such as Watchmen and Seven Seconds. Both the series’ received overwhelmingly great critical and commercial response.

In 2018, she played the most critically acclaimed role of her film career. For her role as Sharon Rivers in the romantic drama film If Beale Street Could Talk, she won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.

She turned to direction in the 2010s and began with directing a few episodes of series’ such as Being Mary Jane and Scandal.

In 2020, she made her feature film directorial debut with the drama film titled One Night in Miami. For the film, she received a Golden Globe nomination and a Critics Choice Award nomination for best director.

Personal Life

Regina King married Ian Alexander in 1997. Ian is a former vice-president of Warner Bros. studio. The couple had a son together before getting divorced in 2007.

Regina has said that her mother was her role model. And like her, Regina wanted to never depend on a man and marry. However, she fell in love with Ian and ended up getting married.

She is a big fan of sports and is addicted to the ESPN channel.

She stays in regular touch with her mother.

Regina is a religious woman and regularly visits the church.

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