Connie Britton

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Connie Britton
Britton seen from a profile, smiling
Born Constance Elaine Womack
(1967-03-06) March 6, 1967 (age 49)[1]
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
Residence Nashville, Tennessee
Alma mater Dartmouth College
Beijing Normal University
Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre
Occupation Actress, singer, producer
Years active 1995–present
Spouse(s) John Britton (m. 1991; div. 1995)
Children 1 (adopted)

Constance Elaine "Connie" Britton (née Womack; born March 6, 1967)[2] is an American actress, singer and producer.

Britton made her feature film debut in the independent comedy-drama film The Brothers McMullen (1995), and the following year, she was cast as Nikki Faber on the ABC sitcom Spin City (1996–2000). She later starred in the short-lived sitcoms The Fighting Fitzgeralds (2001) and Lost at Home (2003), and appeared in several films, most notably the sports drama film Friday Night Lights (2004) and the thriller film The Last Winter (2006).

Britton received positive reviews from critics for her performance as Tami Taylor on the NBC/DirecTV drama series Friday Night Lights (2006–2011). For this role she was nominated for two Emmy Awards for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series.[3] In 2011, she starred as Vivien Harmon in the first season of FX horror-drama series American Horror Story, for which she was nominated for the Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie.[4]

Britton plays the leading role of country singer Rayna Jaymes in the ABC/CMT musical drama series Nashville (2012–present), for which she was nominated for a Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series and a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama in 2012.[5] In 2014, Britton was named UNDP Goodwill Ambassador.[6] Britton next starred in the comedy-drama film This Is Where I Leave You (2014), the drama film Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (2015) and the action comedy American Ultra (2015). In 2016, Britton played socialite Faye Resnick in the first season of FX true crime anthology series American Crime Story.

Early life[edit]

Britton was born Constance Elaine Womack in Boston, Massachusetts, to Linda Jane (née Cochran) and Edgar Allen Womack, Jr., who was a physicist and an energy company executive.[7][8][9][10] She spent her early years in Rockville, Maryland.[8] When she was seven years old, she moved with her parents and her fraternal twin sister Cynthia[11] to Lynchburg, Virginia, where she attended E.C. Glass High School. She majored in Asian studies with a concentration in Chinese at Dartmouth College and studied at the Beijing Normal University[8] in Beijing during her freshman summer with Kirsten Gillibrand, now a U.S. Senator from New York.[12][13] After graduating in 1989, she moved to New York City, where she spent two years at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre studying with Sanford Meisner.

Career[edit]

1995–2005[edit]

While studying at the Neighborhood Playhouse, Britton (then Womack) made her New York theatrical debut in Caroline Kava's The Early Girl at The Courtyard Playhouse.[3] Britton played seasoned prostitute Laurel opposite Cooper Lawrence, who played Joan. Britton's performance, while well received, nearly got her ousted from the Neighborhood Playhouse program, which prohibited students from taking professional employment during their course of study. After graduating, Britton spent two more years working in off-Broadway theatre productions. In 1995, Britton made her feature film debut in Edward Burns' critically acclaimed comedy-drama The Brothers McMullen.[14] She moved to Los Angeles after the film's success.[3]

After The Brothers McMullen, Britton was cast in a recurring role in the ABC sitcom Ellen, and starred in the unsold Fox pilot Pins and Needles. In 1996, she began co-starring as Nikki Faber in the ABC sitcom Spin City opposite Michael J. Fox.[3] Her character was written out of the show when Charlie Sheen replaced Fox. She also appeared in the romantic comedy-drama No Looking Back (1998) and the mystery comedy-drama Looking for Kitty (2004), both directed by Edward Burns. In 2001, she co-starred opposite Chris Eigeman and Jamie Harris in the romantic comedy The Next Big Thing. She later co-starred in the independent films The Life Coach, Special Ed, The Lather Effect and The Last Winter.

After leaving Spin City, Britton had a recurring role in the ABC crime drama The Fugitive. In 2001, she played Shirley Temple's bad mother in the ABC television film Child Star: The Shirley Temple Story, based on Temple's 1988 autobiography.[15] In the same year, she starred on the short-lived NBC sitcom The Fighting Fitzgeralds.[16] In 2001, Britton also had a recurring role on the NBC political drama The West Wing in the third season, appearing in the two-part premiere titled "Manchester" and the sixth episode titled "Gone Quiet" as Connie Tate, a member of Bruno Gianelli's team. In 2002, she returned to ABC and starred in the short-lived sitcom Lost at Home. In 2006, she had a recurring role on the Fox espionage thriller 24 during the fifth season as Diane Huxley, the landlady and girlfriend of protagonist Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland).

2006–2011[edit]

Britton and Kyle Chandler in 2008

Britton co-starred opposite Kyle Chandler in the critically acclaimed NBC drama series Friday Night Lights as Tami Taylor, the wife of a head football coach Eric Taylor (Chandler), who becomes a high school guidance counselor.[17] The show ran for five seasons from October 3, 2006 to February 9, 2011. During that time, Britton developed a devoted following for her performance – described by The New York Times as "something of an icon, a 40-something sex symbol and role model."[17] She was first cast opposite Billy Bob Thornton in the film version of the series, Friday Night Lights (2004).[18] For her role in the show she was nominated for Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series in 2010 and 2011, for TCA Award for Individual Achievement in Drama in 2007 and 2008, and was awarded Satellite Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama in 2010.

Britton co-starred opposite Carla Gugino and her Friday Night Lights co-star Adrianne Palicki in the 2009 comedy film Women in Trouble, and co-starred opposite Jackie Earle Haley, Kyle Gallner and Rooney Mara in the 2010 remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street as Dr. Gwendoline "Gwen" Holbrook.[19] She co-starred opposite Pamela Adlon in the 2011 romantic comedy Conception.[20] She was also featured on This American Life's 429th episode, "Will They Know Me at Home?", in which she performed monologues from David Finkel's nonfiction book The Good Soldiers.[21]

In 2011, Britton starred in the first season in the FX horror drama American Horror Story. She played Vivien Harmon, a woman who recently relocated with her family to California after a series of tragic marital and family issues.[22] Unfortunately for The Harmons, the new house they purchase quickly reveals itself to be haunted. For this role she was nominated for Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie in 2012. Britton had stated when she wrapped American Horror Story she would be taking a couple of months off to be with her new adopted son, but that she would then begin to re-focus on developing her FX drama collaboration with David O. Russell, but the project went into "development hell".[23]

Britton at the premiere of This Is Where I Leave You in September 2014

2012–present[edit]

On March 6, 2012, Britton signed on to star in and produce the ABC musical drama series, Nashville created by Academy Award winner Callie Khouri. The series ran on ABC for four seasons from October 10, 2012 to May 25, 2016. She plays Rayna Jaymes, a renowned 40-year-old country music singer whose stardom is beginning to fade.[24][25][26] Britton's performance received critical praise,[27][28][29] and she was nominated for a fourth time for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series and a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama for the first time for this role.[5][17] Britton, for her part, has said that the most nerve-wracking part of her role, at least in the beginning, has been the singing the role requires of her. The show was cancelled in May 2016 by ABC.[30] However, in June 2016, CMT picked up the series for a fifth season.[31]

In 2012, Britton co-starred opposite Edward Burns in the comedy-drama film The Fitzgerald Family Christmas.[32] The film was met with positive reviews from critics.[33] That same year, she had co-starred in the comedy-drama Seeking a Friend for the End of the World opposite Steve Carell and Keira Knightley.[34] She played the mother of Aubrey Plaza's Brandy Klark in the comedy The To Do List.[35] Britton returned to Austin, Texas, where Friday Night Lights was filmed, to co-star opposite Harry Connick, Jr. and fellow actors and musicians Willie Nelson, Lyle Lovett and Kris Kristofferson in the Christmas family drama Angels Sing that was released by Lionsgate.

Britton co-starred opposite Jason Bateman, Tina Fey and Jane Fonda as a cougar therapist in the 2014 comedy-drama This Is Where I Leave You, based on Jonathan Tropper's 2009 best-selling novel.[36] In 2015, she co-starred opposite Thomas Mann, RJ Cyler and Olivia Cooke in the comedy-drama Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, and based on Jesse Andrews‘‍ 2012 novel of the same name, a wry coming-of-age story about Greg (Mann), a teenage oddball forced to befriend Rachel (Cooke), a classmate with cancer. She played Greg's mother.[37] She co-starred in the 2015 action comedy American Ultra opposite Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart; Sharon Stone had originally been cast in her part.[38][39][40] Also that year, Britton reunited with American Horror Story creator Ryan Murphy in his miniseries American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson as Faye Resnick.[41][42][43]

In June 2016, the Human Rights Campaign released a video in tribute to the victims of the 2016 Orlando gay nightclub shooting; in the video, Britton and others told the stories of the people killed there.[44][45]

Personal life[edit]

Britton in 2012

Britton uses her married name as her stage name. She met investment banker John Britton at Alpha Delta House at Dartmouth College. They moved to Manhattan together in 1989, married on October 5, 1991 and divorced in 1995.[46]

In 1993, Britton joined the New York Junior League and was a member of the 1993 provisional class of volunteers where she listed her occupation as "Actress".

In November 2011, Britton adopted a son, Eyob "Yoby" Britton, from Ethiopia.[47]

Britton studied Chinese in college, living in Beijing with Kirsten Gillibrand, now a US Senator.[48][49] In a 2012 interview on NPR she said of the experience: "I always wanted to be an actor. But when I went to college, I had to fulfill a language requirement and so I thought it would be really cool to do it speaking Chinese. My Chinese these days is real, real shaky. Let's put it this way: These days, my singing is better than my Chinese."[50]

Britton moved to Nashville, Tennessee in 2012 when she signed to star in the ABC musical drama Nashville.[17]

On April 2, 2014, Britton became the 10th Goodwill Ambassador of the United Nations Development Programme, the anti-poverty agency of the UN. She joins celebrities such as Antonio Banderas, Maria Sharapova, Zinedine Zidane and Ronaldo in this role. She will focus her advocacy efforts on eradicating extreme poverty, fighting exclusion and empowering women.[6][51][52][53]

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1995 The Brothers McMullen Molly McMullen
1998 No Looking Back Kelly
2001 One Eyed King Helen Riley
2001 Next Big Thing, TheThe Next Big Thing Kate Crowley
2004 Looking for Kitty Marcie Petracelli
2004 Friday Night Lights Sharon Gaines
2005 Special Ed Abi
2005 Life Coach, TheThe Life Coach Connie
2006 Lather Effect, TheThe Lather Effect Valinda
2006 The Last Winter Abby Sellers
2009 Women in Trouble Doris
2010 Nightmare on Elm Street, AA Nightmare on Elm Street Dr. Gwendoline Holbrook
2011 Conception Gloria
2012 Wing It Parenthood Sharon Shoshonnesy Short film
2012 Seeking a Friend for the End of the World Diane
2012 The Fitzgerald Family Christmas Nora
2013 Angels Sing Susan Walker
2013 The To Do List Jean Klark
2014 This Is Where I Leave You Tracy Sullivan
2015 Me and Earl and the Dying Girl Greg's Mom
2015 American Ultra Victoria Lasseter
2017 Beatriz at Dinner Filming

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1995–96 Ellen Heather 3 episodes
1995 Pins and Needles Cammie Barbash Unsold TV pilot
1998 Cupid Madeleine Episode: "Pilot"
1996 Escape Clause Leslie Bullard Television film
1996–2000 Spin City Nikki Faber Series regular, 100 episodes
2000–01 The Fugitive Maggie Kimble Hume 3 episodes
2001 The Fighting Fitzgeralds Sophie Series regular, 10 episodes
2001 The West Wing Connie Tate 4 episodes
2001 Child Star: The Story of Shirley Temple Gertrude Temple Television film
2003 Lost at Home Rachel Davis Series regular, 6 episodes
2005 Life as We Know It Dianne Episode: "Papa Wheelie"
2006 24 Diane Huxley 6 episodes
2006–11 Friday Night Lights Tami Taylor Series regular, 76 episodes
2011 American Horror Story: Murder House Vivien Harmon Series regular, 12 episodes
2012–present Nashville Rayna Jaymes Series regular, 86 episodes, also co-executive producer
2013 Drunk History Patricia Shaheen Episode: "Boston"
2016 The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story Faye Resnick 2 episodes

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

Title Album details Peak chart positions[54]
UK Compilations US
US Country
US
Soundtracks
The Music of Nashville: Season 1 Volume 1
  • Released: December 11, 2012 (USA)
  • Released: February 25, 2013 (UK)
  • Label: Big Machine Records
  • Format: CD, digital download
5[55] 14 3 1
The Music of Nashville: Season 1 Volume 2
  • Released: May 7, 2013 (USA)[56]
  • Released: May 20, 2013 (UK)
  • Label: Big Machine Records
  • Format: CD, digital download
9[57] 13 5 2
The Music of Nashville, Season 1: The Complete Collection
The Music of Nashville: Season 2, Volume 1
  • Released: December 10, 2013 (USA)
  • Released: February 17, 2014 (UK)
  • Label: Big Machine Records
  • Format: CD, digital download
34 7 4
The Music of Nashville: Season 2, Volume 2 13 4 2
Christmas With Nashville 59 8 10
The Music of Nashville: Season 3, Volume 1 75 10 6

Singles[edit]

Year Single Peak chart
positions
Album
US Country
[59]
US
[60]
2012 "No One Will Ever Love You" (with Charles Esten)A 36 117 The Music of Nashville: Season 1 Volume 1
"Wrong Song" (with Hayden Panettiere) 39
2013 "Stronger Than Me" 42 The Music of Nashville: Season 1 Volume 2
"The Best Songs Come from Broken Hearts" 48 N/A
2014 "He Ain't Gonna Change" (with Hayden Panettiere) 50
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Work Result
2007 Television Critics Association Awards Individual Achievement in a Drama Series Friday Night Lights Nominated
Gotham Awards 2007 Best Ensemble Cast The Last Winter Nominated
2008 Television Critics Association Awards Individual Achievement in a Drama Series Friday Night Lights Nominated
2010 Satellite Awards 2010 Best Actress – Television Series Drama Friday Night Lights Won
Online Film & Television Association Award Best Actress in a Drama Series Friday Night Lights Nominated
62nd Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series Friday Night Lights Nominated
2011 Satellite Awards 2011 Best Actress – Television Series Drama Friday Night Lights Nominated
1st Critics' Choice Television Awards Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Drama Actress Friday Night Lights Nominated
Online Film & Television Association Award Best Actress in a Drama Series Friday Night Lights Nominated
IGN Summer Movie Awards Best TV Actress Friday Night Lights Nominated
63rd Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series Friday Night Lights Nominated
Texas Film Hall of Fame Star of Hall of Fame Won[61]
2012 64th Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie American Horror Story Nominated
Satellite Awards 2012 Best Actress – Television Series Drama Nashville Nominated
Satellite Awards 2012 Best Television Series – Drama Nashville (as producer) Nominated
2013 70th Golden Globe Awards Best Actress – Television Series Drama Nashville Nominated
TV Guide Award Favorite Actress Nashville Nominated
65th Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series Nashville Nominated
New York Women in Film & Television Award Muse Award Won[62]

References[edit]

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  9. ^ Special to The New York Times (1963-12-29). "Womack-Cochran - Article - NYTimes.com". Select.nytimes.com. Retrieved 2012-10-22. 
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  26. ^ Michael Ausiello (March 6, 2012). "Scoop: Connie Britton Heads for Nashville With Lead in ABC Musical Drama Pilot". TV Line. Retrieved March 6, 2012. 
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  31. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (June 9, 2016). "'Nashville' Picked Up For Season 5 By CMT With Next-Day Play on Hulu". Deadline.com. Retrieved June 10, 2016. 
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  37. ^ Barbara Vancheri (June 23, 2014). "Philip Roth novel 'American Pastoral' to be filmed in Pittsburgh". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 6 August 2014. 
  38. ^ "Connie Britton Replaces Sharon Stone in Kristen Stewart Movie 'American Ultra'". TheWrap. Retrieved 2014-05-24. 
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  43. ^ Denise Petski. "Connie Britton Cast In 'American Crime Story: The People V. O.J. Simpson' - Deadline". Deadline. Retrieved 23 March 2015. 
  44. ^ "49 Celebrities Honor 49 Victims of Orlando Tragedy | Human Rights Campaign". Hrc.org. Retrieved 2016-06-30. 
  45. ^ Rothaus, Steve (June 12, 2016). "Pulse Orlando shooting scene a popular LGBT club where employees, patrons 'like family'". The Miami Herald. Retrieved June 15, 2016. 
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  49. ^ Caitlin, McDevitt (October 8, 2013). "Connie Britton on roomie Kirsten Gillibrand". Politico. Retrieved November 28, 2013. 
  50. ^ "TV's Britton Fights To Stay In Nashville's Lights". NPR. 7 October 2012. Retrieved 7 October 2012. 
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  52. ^ "Connie Britton Named UN Goodwill Ambassador | E! Online UK". Uk.eonline.com. 2014-04-03. Retrieved 2014-05-24. 
  53. ^ CBS/APApril 2, 2014, 3:16 PM (2014-04-02). "Connie Britton named goodwill ambassador for United Nations Development Program". CBS News. Retrieved 2014-05-24. 
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External links[edit]