Renee Elise Goldsberry is an American actress, singer and songwriter, best known for her role as Angelica Schuyler Church in the Broadway drama, ‘Hamilton’, for which she won multiple awards, including a Grammy for Best Musical Theatre Album. Born in San Jose, California, Renee completed her master’s degree in Music &Jazz and then plunged into show business with the support of her parents, who were talented musicians themselves. Her performance as attorney Evangeline Williamson in the series ‘One Life to Live’ received positive reviews and she ended up winning a Soap Opera Digest Award. Her big screen debut in ‘Palco & Hirsch’ was closely followed by her amazing performance, playing the lead role in the movie ‘All About You’. She also wrote the lyrics for the soundtrack of the film. She has performed for the soundtrack of many of her movies and has written the lyrics of many songs including the lyrics of the hit number ‘Everything but the Kitchen Sink’. Renee married Alexis Johnson and has a son named Benjamin and an adopted daughter named Brielle. She is an inspiration to women who need to find a balance between work and family. Her fans love her for her humble and positive outlook towards life.
Childhood & Early Life
Renee Elise Goldsberry was born on 2 January, 1971 in San Jose, California, USA. Her mother, Betty Sanders, was an industrial psychologist, while her father was a chemist and a physicist, who was also a successful automobile industry executive. She is of mixed ethnicity and was brought up in Houston and Detroit.
She graduated from Cranbrook Kingswood School, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan and went on to do a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre from Carnegie Mellon University in 1993. Later on, she completed her Masters of Music in Jazz Studies from the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music in 1997. During her college days, she actively participated in cultural competitions.
Most of the members of her family were talented musicians and they were passionate enough to appreciate different genres of music. Because of her parents and brothers, Renee was exposed to the best of both old and new trends in music. During her childhood, her parents encouraged her to pursue her dream of becoming an actress and provided her with every opportunity to gain an access into the show business.
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Renee started her career in theatre when she played Michelle Morris in as how titled ‘Dreamgirls’. Her performance earned her the role of Nala in the Disney show ‘The Lion King’ in 2002, which was a major stepping stone in her career. Her other Broadway shows include ‘The Color Purple’ (2005 – 2006), ‘Rent’ (2008), ‘Good People’ (2011) and ‘Hamilton’ (2015 – 2016).
Goldsberry won multiple awards, including a Grammy Award under the category Best Musical Theatre Album for her performance in the Broadway, ‘Hamilton’.
Her television career started with a recurring role in the legal comedy-drama, ‘Ally McBeal’. Her performance was liked by a wide range of audience and hence she became popular almost instantly.
Her career received a major boost when she played the role of Evangeline Williamson in the series, ‘One Life to Live’, for which she won a Soap Opera Digest Award in 2005. Other popular television series that she was a part of include ‘Life on Mars’ (2008), ‘The Good Wife’ (2010 – 2016), ‘The Following’ (2013) and ‘The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks’ (2017).She has lent her voice for the character Dhahadu, the Golden Zebra, in the upcoming animated series ‘The Lion Guard’.
In 2001, Goldsberry made her big screen debut in the movie, ‘Palco & Hirsch’. She then bagged the lead role in the movie ‘All About You’, for which she received positive reviews. She went on to appear in the movies ‘Pistol Whipped’ (2008), ‘Every Secret Thing’ (2014) and ‘Sisters’ (2015). She is currently playing an important role in the upcoming fantasy horror movie ‘The House with a Clock in Its Walls’.
Besides being an actor, Renee is an established songwriter and singer. She has contributed to the soundtrack of many of her movies. She also won the John Lennon Songwriting Contest in 1997. She was seen rapping at the BET Hip Hop Awards in 2015. She wrote the lyrics of the hit number ‘Everything but the Kitchen Sink’ and featured in the album ‘The Christmas Song: A Holiday Affair’. In 2006, Renee released her first EP, ‘Beautiful’, which did fairly well.
Today, Renee Elise Goldsberry is an established celebrity who has made several guest appearances with an impressive fan following on social media. She is a respected personality in the entertainment industry and has been an inspiration to many working women because of the manner in which she has conducted herself.
Some of Renee’s hit films include ‘All About You’ (2001), ‘Pistol Whipped’ (2008), ‘Every Secret Thing’ (2014) and ‘Sisters’ (2015).
Renee Elise Goldsberry has played prominent roles in television series, such as ‘Ally McBeal’ (1997 – 2002), ‘One Life to Live’ (2003 – 2007), ‘The Good Wife’ (2010 - 2016), ‘Law & Order: Special Victims Unit’ (2013 – 2014). She also played the titular role in the TV movie, ‘The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.’
Her Broadways include ‘Dreamgirls’ (1997), ‘The Lion King’ (2002), ‘Two Gentlemen of Verona’ (2005), ‘The Color Purple’ (2005 - 2006), ‘Rent’ (2008), ‘As You Like It’ (2012), ‘I’m Getting My Act Together and Taking It on the Road’ (2013) and ‘Hamilton’ (2015 – 2016).
Awards & Achievements
Renee was awarded the Soap Opera Digest Award under the category, Favorite Triangle, for her role in the drama series, ‘One Life to Live’.
She was awarded several awards, such as Lucille Lortel Award, Drama Desk Award, Tony Award, Broadway.com Audience Award and Grammy Award for her performance in the musical, ‘Hamilton’.
Personal Life & Legacy
In 2002, Renee married Alexis Johnson, who is an attorney in New York. They have a son named Benjamin Johnson and an adopted daughter named Brielle. The family members are bonded by their common love for music and fine arts. Renee’s husband is a loving father, and has supported her career by looking after the children whenever she has a busy schedule.
Renee gave birth to her son at the age of 38 after four miscarriages. She is a fine example of a working woman who maintains a balance between her work and her family. According to her, family has always been her first priority.
Renee has made guest appearances in several TV series like ‘Star Trek: Enterprise’, ‘Royal Pains’ and ‘Masters of Sex’.
Rebecca Skloot, the author of ‘The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,’ was the first to announce that Goldsberry would play the role of Henrietta in the television adaptation of her book.