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Jean Smart

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1 Jean Smart on Mon Jan 01, 2018 4:16 pm

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1975–1984: Early work; theater[edit]
After graduating from college, Smart began her career appearing in regional theater throughout the Pacific Northwest, including in Washington, Alaska, and Oregon.[6] She performed with the Seattle Repertory Theater as well as the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Oregon.[2] 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.[6]
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.[2] In February 1981, Smart appeared in a Broadway production of Piaf playing Marlene Dietrich,[6] a role which she would later reprise for the 1984 television version.[2]
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.[2] 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."[6] The following year, she had a supporting part in the thriller Flashpoint (1984).[7]
1985–1999: Designing Women; film[edit]


Smart at the 1991 Primetime Emmy Awards ceremony.
In 1985, Smart was cast in the starring role of Charlene Frazier Stillfield on the comedy series Designing Women,[8] a role she played from the show's beginning in 1986 through its fifth season.[9] 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.[10] Critic Roger Ebert praised the film and called Smart's character portrayal "calculating."[11]
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 Betty Thomas's The Brady Bunch Movie (1995).[12] She would also appear in the television thriller film A Stranger In Town (1995), opposite Gregory Hines.[13]
In 1995 Smart was cast as the lead in the comedy series, High Society, which co-starred Mary McDonnell, which lasted for 13 episodes,[2] 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).[2] She had a lead role in the comedy Forever Fabulous (1999) as an aging beauty queen.[14]
2000–2011: Television and critical success[edit]


Smart after her Primetime Emmy Award win on September 21, 2008.
In 2000, Smart was cast as Lana Gardener on the hit show Frasier, set in her hometown of Seattle. She went on to win two Emmy Awards for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series.[15] 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."[15]
The same year, she played in a Broadway production of The Man Who Came to Dinner, which earned her a Tony Award nomination.[16] Soon after, she landed roles in several high-profile films including Sweet Home Alabama (2002), playing the mother in law of Reese Witherspoon,[17] and in the comedy Bringing Down The House (2002), opposite Queen Latifah.[18] 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.[19]
From 2002 to 2007 she voiced Dr. Ann Possible in Kim Possible,[20] 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!.[3] The same year, she was cast in a lead role in the short-lived Center of the Universe.[21] She also had a supporting role in David O. Russell's I Heart Huckabees (2004).[22][23]
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.[24] 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.[15] 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), opposite Patrick Wilson and Chloë Sevigny.[25]
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,[26] 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.[27]

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