|Born||Aunjanue L. Ellis
February 21, 1969
San Francisco, California, U.S.
Aunjanue L. Ellis (born February 21, 1969) is an American actress. She had leading roles in a number of independent movies, and co-starred in films Men of Honor (2000), Undercover Brother (2002), Ray (2004), The Express (2008), The Taking of Pelham 123 (2009) and The Help (2011). On television, Ellis starred in a number of short-lived dramas and had recurring roles on The Practice, True Blood, and The Mentalist. She stars as the lead character in the 2014 miniseries The Book of Negroes based on bestselling novel by Lawrence Hill.
Life and career
Ellis was born in San Francisco, California, and raised on her grandmother's farm in Mississippi. She attended Tougaloo College before transferring to Brown University, where she completed her Bachelor of Arts in African-American studies, while also studying acting with Jim Barnhill and John Emigh. She went on to study acting in the Graduate Acting Program at New York University. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. In 1995, she appeared as Ariel opposite Patrick Stewart's Prospero in a Broadway revival of William Shakespeare's The Tempest. She later made her screen debut in the episode of Fox drama series New York Undercover, and had roles in films Girls Town and Ed's Next Move.
Ellis has appeared in a number of Broadway anf Off-Broadway theatre productions. In January 2004, she performed in Regina Taylor's play Drowning Crow, at the Manhattan Theatre Club. In the Spring, 2012 Hampton University semester, she taught entertainment industry courses. She was also featured in a Hampton Players and Company production, "Through the Crack."
Ellis starred in the ABC drama series High Incident from 1996 to 1997, and had regular and recurring roles on a number of short-lived series, including MDs, and E-Ring. In film, she had roles of Men of Honor (2000) opposite Cuba Gooding, Jr., The Caveman's Valentine (2004) and Freedomland (2006) with Samuel L. Jackson, and Ray (2004) alongside Jamie Foxx. She also starred in the 2002 comedy Undercover Brother, and was lead actress in the 2007 flop thriller Cover. In 2011, she appeared in The Help as Yule May Davis, one of the maids. Ellis also had many roles in independent films. On television, she appeared on The Practice, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, True Blood, The Good Wife, and NCIS: Los Angeles. From 2010 to 2013, Ellis had a recurring role in the CBS series The Mentalist, as Madeleine Hightower. She starred in the made for television films, Disappearing Acts (2000), Racing for Time (2008), Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story (2009), and Abducted: The Carlina White Story.
Ellis starred as one of the lead characters in the 2013 AMC pilot The Divide, but later WE tv had decided to pick up pilot to series. She left the show and her role was recast with Nia Long. In 2014, Ellis was set to star in the epic miniseries The Book of Negroes, based on Lawrence Hill’s bestselling 2007 novel.
|1995||New York Undercover||Claudia||Episode: "Buster and Claudia"|
|1996-1997||High Incident||Off. Leslie Joyner||Series regular, 24 episodes|
|1999||The Practice||Sharon Young||Recurring role, 4 episodes|
|2000||Third Watch||Gail Moore||Episodes: "Journey to the Himalayas" and "32 Bullets and a Broken Heart"|
|2001||100 Centre Street||Amanda Davis||Recurring role, 3 episodes|
|2002||MDs||Quinn Joyner||Series regular, 10 episodes|
|2004||The D.A.||Ellen Baker||Episode: "The People vs. Sergius Kovinsky"|
|2005||Jonny Zero||Gloria||Recurring role, 6 episodes|
|2005-2006||E-Ring||Jocelyn Pierce||Series regular, 23 episodes|
|2007||Law & Order: Criminal Intent||Carmen Rivera||Episode: "Flipped"|
|2006-2007||Justice||Miranda Lee||Recurring role, 9 episodes|
|2008||Numb3rs||Ivy Kirk||Episode: "Power"|
|2008||The Border||Amira||Episode: "Family Values"|
|2008||True Blood||Diane||Recurring role, 3 episodes|
|2008||The Prince of Motor City||Cora Neel||TV pilot|
|2009||The Good Wife||Linda Underwood||Episode: "Crash"|
|2012||Blue Bloods||Sylvia Marshall||Episode: "Reagan V. Reagan"|
|2012||Missing||Mary Dresden||Recurring role, 3 episodes|
|2012-2013||NCIS: Los Angeles||Michelle Hanna||Recurring role, 4 episodes|
|2010-2013||The Mentalist||Madeleine Hightower||Recurring role, 17 episodes|
|2014||The Book of Negroes||Aminata Diallo||Miniseries|
- Up and Coming: Aunjanue Ellis and Carrie Preston; Two Young Performers Ride 'The Tempest' - New York Times
- "NYU Graduate Acting Alumni". 2011. Retrieved 2011-12-01.
- Robert Brauchle (January 13, 2012). "Delta Sigma Theta sorority sisters to meet this month". Daily Press. Retrieved March 24, 2012.
- The Broadway League. "The Tempest | IBDB: The official source for Broadway Information". IBDB. Retrieved 2014-04-20.
- Ben Brantley (February 20, 2004). "THEATER REVIEW; Chekhov Shows He Can Rap". The New York Times. Retrieved March 24, 2012.
- "'The Help' actress to teach courses at HU". WAVY-TV. January 17, 2012. Retrieved March 24, 2012.
- "Aunjanue Ellis movies, photos, movie reviews, filmography, and biography". AllMovie. 1969-02-21. Retrieved 2014-04-20.
- "Lifetime Greenlights Movie 'Abducted,' Starring Aunjanue Ellis, Keke Palmer, Sherri Shepherd | Shadow and Act". Blogs.indiewire.com. Retrieved 2014-04-20.
- Andreeva, Nellie. "WE TV Eyes Expansion Into Scripted Programming With Series Order To AMC's LaGravenese/Goldwyn Drama Pilot". Deadline.com. Retrieved 2014-04-20.
- "WE TV Announces First Scripted Program 'The Divide,' 3 More to Follow | Filmmakers, Film Industry, Film Festivals, Awards & Movie Reviews". Indiewire. 2012-10-26. Retrieved 2014-04-20.
- Deadline, The. "Louis Gossett Jr, Cuba Gooding Jr, Aunjanue Ellis & Lyriq Bent Set For 'Book Of Negroes' Miniseries". Deadline.com. Retrieved 2014-04-20.
- "Aunjanue Ellis, Louis Gossett Jr., Cuba Gooding Jr. Board 'The Book of Negroes' Adaptation | Shadow and Act". Blogs.indiewire.com. Retrieved 2014-04-20.
- Rhea Mahbubani; Michael Miller (2014-05-02). "Film festival winners - Daily Pilot". Articles.dailypilot.com. Retrieved 2014-05-24.
- Coker, Matt (2014-05-05). "The Sublime and Beautiful, Kickstarted Drama, is Big Newport Beach Film Fest Award Winner | OC Weekly". Blogs.ocweekly.com. Retrieved 2014-05-24.