August 30, 1981
After graduating from Los Angeles County High School for the Arts in 1999, Gardner later moved to New York City and attended Juilliard School with actress Rutina Wesley who she would later go on to work with in the TV show Queen Sugar. Gardner graduated from Juilliard in 2003.
She began acting on television at an early age, appearing in a recurring role on Viper and guest starred on ER. While attending Juilliard, Gardner began acting on stage, appearing in such productions like For Colored Girls, The School of Night, and The Seagull. She also has appeared in a number of regional productions. She also had number of guest-starring roles on television shows such as Crossing Jordan, Bones, Heroes, and Castle. Gardner also worked as voice actress playing Steela Gerrera in the Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
In 2016, Gardner is cast as a lead character alongside Rutina Wesley in the Oprah Winfrey Network drama series, Queen Sugar created and produced by Ava DuVernay and Oprah Winfrey. On October 7, 2018 she guest starred in the CBS new series God Friended Me.
|1994||Viper||Ronnie Wilkes||Recurring role, 4 episodes|
|1994||ER||Sandy Rochon||Episode: "Into That Good Night"|
|2004||Invisible Scream||Andi||Short film|
|2004||Married to the Kellys||Shannon||Episode: "The Other Sister"|
|2004||Crossing Jordan||Leever||Episode: "After Dark"|
|2005||Summerland||Tess||Episode: "Where There's a Will There's a Wave"|
|2006||Art School Confidential||Coed|
|2007||Bones||Court Reporter||Episode: "The Man in the Mansion"|
|2007||Cane||Melissa||Episode: "The Exile"|
|2009-2010||Heroes||Elizabeth||Episodes: "Chapter Nine 'Brother's Keeper'" and "Chapter Thirteen 'Let It Bleed"|
|2011||Castle||Simone Jenkins||Episode: "Cops & Robbers"|
|2012||Prototype 2||Collette Heller||Voice|
|2012||Star Wars: The Clone Wars||Steela Gerrera||Voice, 4 episodes|
|2015||The Mysteries of Laura||Samantha Williams||Episode: "The Mystery of the Watery Grave"|
|2016||Unforgettable||Erica Campbell||Episode: "Breathing Space"|
|2016–present||Queen Sugar||Charley Bordelon West||Series regular|
|2016||Luke Cage||Megan McLaren||Recurring role, 4 episodes|
|2016||The Dunning Man||Alice|
- California Birth Index, 1905-1995 (Report). Ancestry.com. 2005.
- Bastién, Angelica Jade. "Queen Sugar's Dawn-Lyen Gardner on How Playing a Biracial Woman Informs Her Acting Choices". Retrieved November 17, 2017.
- TV News Desk (January 27, 2016). "Dawn-Lyen Gardner, Kofi Siriboe & Omar J. Dorsey Join Cast of OWN's QUEEN SUGAR". Retrieved January 27, 2016.
- Fernandez, Maria Elena. "Queen Sugar's Dawn-Lyen Gardner on the Pilot's 'Maury Povich Moment,' Black-Brown Tension, and Tonight's Pivotal Episode". Retrieved November 17, 2017.
- "Interview: Dawn-Lyen Gardner -- Steela Gerrera on The Clone Wars - StarWars.com". StarWars.com. Retrieved January 27, 2016.
- Petski, Denise. "'Queen Sugar' Adds Dawn-Lyen Gardner, Kofi Siriboe, Omar J. Dorsey - Deadline". Deadline. Retrieved January 27, 2016.
- Tambay A. Obenson (January 27, 2016). "Omar J. Dorsey, Dawn-Lyen Gardner, Kofi Siriboe Join 'Que - Shadow and Act". Shadow and Act. Retrieved January 27, 2016.