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Kimberly Elise

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Kimberly Elise
Elise in 2012
Kimberly Elise Trammel

(1967-04-17) April 17, 1967 (age 57)
Years active1995–present
Maurice Oldham
(m. 1989; div. 2005)
George McCrary
(m. 2023)

Kimberly Elise Trammel (born April 17, 1967) is an American actress. She made her feature-film debut in Set It Off (1996), and later received critical acclaim for her performance in Beloved (1998).

During her career, Elise has appeared in films such as John Q., The Manchurian Candidate, and The Great Debaters, all alongside Denzel Washington; Diary of a Mad Black Woman and For Colored Girls, both directed by Tyler Perry; as well as Dope, Almost Christmas, Death Wish, and Ad Astra.

She received a nomination for Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Lead for her performance in the 2004 drama film, Woman Thou Art Loosed, and played the leading roles in a number of made-for-television movies. Elise also starred in the CBS crime drama series Close to Home (2005–07) and the VH1 comedy-drama series Hit the Floor (2013-2016). She is a four-time NAACP Image Awards winner.

Early life[edit]

Elise was born as Kimberly Elise Trammel in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the daughter of Erma Jean (née Johnson), an elementary school teacher, and Marvin Trammel, who owns an executive search firm.[1][2] She has three siblings. She attended The American Film Institute as a Directing Fellow and at the University of Minnesota earned a BA in Mass Communications.[3]



Elise made her big screen debut in the 1996 crime action film Set It Off (1996) directed by F. Gary Gray, in which she played one of four women who resort to robbing a bank for money. Jada Pinkett Smith, Queen Latifah and Vivica A. Fox co-star in film which became a critical and box office success, grossing over $41 million.[4] In 1997 she was cast in the Family Channel original television movie The Ditchdigger's Daughters, based on the Pulitzer-prize nominated and critically acclaimed 1995 memoir The Ditchdigger's Daughters: A Black Family's Astonishing Success Story, written by Yvonne S. Thornton and Jo Coudert. She received critical acclaim for her role in this film,[5] and in 1997, she was recognized as Best Supporting Actress in a Movie or Miniseries at the 19th annual CableACE Awards. Her performance helped her land a role the next year in Beloved alongside Oprah Winfrey and Danny Glover, a horror-drama film based on Toni Morrison's 1987 novel of the same name, directed by Jonathan Demme. Despite being a box office bomb, Elise received praise for her performance, and well as Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Most Promising Actress and Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture. She also received her first NAACP Image Award nomination.[6]


In 2000, Elise starred in The Loretta Claiborne Story playing Loretta Claiborne. The movie was aired as a part of The Wonderful World of Disney at ABC in early 2000. She received good reviews for performance as Claiborne.[7] Later that year, she was female lead in Jamie Foxx's movie Bait, the film was a huge financial failure,[8] and received mostly negative reviews from critics.[9] The following year, she starred opposite Gregory Hines in the biographical drama Bojangles. In 2002–2003, she made guest appearances on the UPN comedy series Girlfriends in which she played an HIV-positive woman, and in the Showtime drama Soul Food.

In 2002, Elise starred alongside Denzel Washington in the crime film John Q. It became a box office success, grossing over $100 million.[10] She next had a leading role in the independent drama Woman Thou Art Loosed portraying Michelle, an abused young woman who finally got the help she needed behind bars. This role won her a Black Reel award for Best Actress and well as received Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Lead nomination. She later starred in the political thriller The Manchurian Candidate, co-starring with Denzel Washington a second time.

In 2005, Elise went to star in the comedy drama film Diary of a Mad Black Woman written by Tyler Perry and directed by Darren Grant. she received positive reviews for her performance, while film received mostly negative reviews.[11][12] The film still was huge box office success, grossing over $50 million against a budget of $5 million.[13] She won her first NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture for this movie. From 2005 to 2007, Elise starred in the CBS crime drama series Close to Home, playing the Marion County, Indiana (Indianapolis) prosecutor Maureen Scofield. Her character was killed off in the last episode of the series. The series was cancelled in May 2007. She received NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series in 2006 for this series. She later guest starred in two Shonda Rhimes' dramas; Private Practice in 2007, and Grey's Anatomy in 2009.

In 2007, Elise has appeared in two biographical drama films. First was Pride opposite Terrence Howard based upon the true story of Philadelphia swim coach Jim Ellis.[14] Later, she appeared again opposite Denzel Washington in The Great Debaters, based on an article written about the Wiley College debate team by Tony Scherman for the spring 1997 issue of American Legacy.[15] in 2009, she starred opposite Cuba Gooding Jr. in the television film Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story, winning NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special.


In 2010, Elise starred in the drama film For Colored Girls as the battered wife Crystal. The film is based on Ntozake Shange's 1975 original choreopoem for colored girls who have considered suicide / when the rainbow is enuf, and was written, directed and produced by Tyler Perry. While the film itself received mixed to negative reviews,[16] her performance was praised by many critics. One journalist described her as "the great lost Best Supporting Actress contender of the 2010 season".[17] Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly comments: "The female cast is great, with especially fierce performances from Loretta Devine, Kimberly Elise, Phylicia Rashad, and Anika Noni Rose. But stuck in a flailing production that might just as well invite Perry's signature drag creation Madea to the block party, the actors' earnest work isn't enuf."[18] She won NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture for her performance.

Elise has had starring roles in a number of independent films in 2000s, include a leading role in Ties That Bind (2011). She co-starred alongside Whoopi Goldberg in the Lifetime television film A Day Late and a Dollar Short in 2014. In 2013, she began starring in the VH1 comedy-drama series Hit The Floor.[19][20] In 2015, she has appeared in the well-received comedy-drama film Dope, and the following year co-starred opposite Kerry Washington in the HBO film Confirmation.[21] Later in 2016, Elise starred in the Christmas comedy-drama film Almost Christmas opposite Danny Glover, Gabrielle Union and Mo'Nique.[22] She next starred in Death Wish opposite Bruce Willis, a remake of the 1974 film of the same name.[23] In 2019, she appeared in the science fiction film Ad Astra.


In 2020, Elise was cast opposite Justin Theroux in the Apple TV+ drama series The Mosquito Coast based on the 1981 novel by Paul Theroux.[24]

Personal life[edit]

Elise was married to Maurice Oldham from 1989 to 2005.[citation needed] The couple had two daughters, born in 1990 and 1998. Not long after their divorce, in 2007, Oldham died from a "massive blood clot".[citation needed] Elise married George McCrary in August 2023.

Elise is vegan and has worked with PETA to promote the lifestyle.[25]

In 2022, soon after the overturning of Roe v. Wade by the Supreme Court of the United States, Elise took to Instagram to praise the justices for their ruling when she wrote:

“Millions of babies will be saved from death by abortion due to the overturning of Roe V. Wade. Hallelujah! #allglorybetoGod”[26]



Year Title Role Notes
1996 Set It Off Tisean 'T.T.' Williams
1997 The Ditchdigger's Daughters Jeanette TV movie
1998 Beloved Denver
2000 Bait Lisa Hill
2001 Bojangles Fannie TV movie
2002 John Q. Denise Archibald
2004 Woman Thou Art Loosed Michelle Jordan
The Manchurian Candidate Eugenie Rose
2005 Diary of a Mad Black Woman Helen Simmons-McCarter
2007 Pride Sue Carter
The Great Debaters Pearl Farmer
2009 Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story Sonya Carson TV movie
2010 For Colored Girls Crystal Wallace / Lady in Brown
2011 Ties That Bind Theresa Harper
2012 Hannah's Law Stagecoach Mary TV movie
2013 Highland Park Toni
Event 15 Blau
2014 A Day Late and a Dollar Short Janelle TV movie
Apple Mortgage Cake Angela TV movie
2015 Dope Lisa Hayes
Back to School Mom Mary Thomas
2016 Confirmation Sonia Jarvis TV movie
Almost Christmas Cheryl Meyers
2018 Death Wish Detective Leonore Jackson
Hellbent Karina McCallum
2019 Ad Astra Lorraine Deavers
Carole's Christmas Carole Jordan TV movie
2020 Environmental Racism PSA Narrator (voice) Short
2023 A Snowy Day in Oakland Theona


Year Title Role Notes
1995 Newton's Apple Bile Duct Supervisor Episode: "Jungle Survival/Liver/Emus"
In the House Roulette Episode: "Nanna Don't Play"
1996 The Sentinel Candace Blake Episode: "Black or White"
2000 The Wonderful World of Disney Loretta Claiborne Episode: "The Loretta Claiborne Story"
2002 The Twilight Zone Jasmine Gardens/Police Detective Episode: "Another Life"
2002–03 Soul Food Estella Guest Cast: Season 3-4
2003 Girlfriends Reesie Jackson Episode: "The Pact" & "The Fast Track & the Furious"
2005–07 Close to Home Maureen Scofield Main Cast
2007 Private Practice Angie Paget Episode: "In Which Charlotte Goes Down the Rabbit Hole"
Masters of Science Fiction Tilly Vee Episode: "Little Brother"
2009 Grey's Anatomy Dr. Swender Recurring Cast: Season 5
2011 Hawthorne - Episode "A Shot in the Dark"
2013–16 Hit the Floor Sloane Hayes Main Cast: Season 1-3
2019 Star Dianne Brooks Recurring Cast: Season 3
2021 The Mosquito Coast Estelle Jones Recurring Cast: Season 1
Love Life Suzanné Hayward Episode: "Suzanné Hayward & Leon Hines"

Awards and nominations[edit]

Acapulco Black Film Festival

  • 1999: Nominated – Best Actress for Beloved (1998)

African-American Film Critics Association

  • 2010: Won – Best Supporting Actress for For Colored Girls

Black Reel Awards

  • 2002: Won – Best Supporting Actress for Bojangles (2001)
  • 2003: Nominated – Best Actress for John Q (2002)
  • 2005: Nominated – Best Supporting Actress for The Manchurian Candidate (2004)
  • 2005: Won – Best Actress, Independent Film for Woman Thou Art Loosed (2004)
  • 2006: Won – Best Actress for Diary of a Mad Black Woman
  • 2011: Nominated – Best Actress for For Colored Girls
  • 2011: Won – Outstanding Ensemble for For Colored Girls

CableACE Award

  • 1997: Won – Supporting Actress in a Movie or Miniseries for The Ditchdigger's Daughters (1997)

Chicago Film Critics Association Awards

  • 1999: Won – Most Promising Actress for Beloved (1998)
  • 1999: Nominated – Best Supporting Actress for Beloved (1998)

Golden Satellite Awards

  • 1999: Won – Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture – Drama for Beloved (1998)

NAACP Image Awards

Independent Spirit Awards

  • 2005: Nominated – Best Female Lead for Woman Thou Art Loosed (2004)


  1. ^ "Kimberly Elise Biography (1971–)". Retrieved 13 June 2015.
  2. ^ "Kimberly Elise of 'Beloved' has good run around town; wily FOX 9 snags 2 shows". Star Tribune. Retrieved 13 June 2015.
  3. ^ "TV Guide". TVGuide.com. Retrieved 13 June 2015.
  4. ^ "Set It Off". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved October 9, 2014.
  5. ^ "Sisters, United in Success, Are Divided on the Details". The New York Times. 20 February 1997. Retrieved 18 March 2018.
  6. ^ BRAXTON, GREG (11 December 1998). "'Beloved,' 'Homicide' Top NAACP Image Award Nominations". Retrieved 18 March 2018 – via LA Times.
  7. ^ Fries, Laura (13 January 2000). "The Loretta Claiborne Story". Retrieved 18 March 2018.
  8. ^ "Bait (2000) - Box Office Mojo". www.boxofficemojo.com. Retrieved 18 March 2018.
  9. ^ "Bait". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 18 March 2018.
  10. ^ "John Q. (2002) - Box Office Mojo". www.boxofficemojo.com. Retrieved 18 March 2018.
  11. ^ "Diary of a Mad Black Woman". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 18 March 2018.
  12. ^ "Diary of a Mad Black Woman". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 18 March 2018.
  13. ^ "Tyler Perry's Diary of a Mad Black Woman (2005) - Box Office Mojo". www.boxofficemojo.com. Retrieved 18 March 2018.
  14. ^ "Pride". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 18 March 2018.
  15. ^ BlackNews.com – American Legacy Magazine's Story The Great Debaters Turns from Pages to the Big Screen Directed By and Starring Denzel Washington and Produced By Oprah Winfrey Archived June 30, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ Rotten Tomatoes. "For Colored Girls (2010)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2011-01-14.
  17. ^ Guy Lodge. "The lost contenders of 'For Colored Girls'". Retrieved 2011-01-14.
  18. ^ Lisa Schwarzbaum (2010-11-03), "For Colored Girls", Entertainment Weekly, archived from the original on 2010-11-05, retrieved 2010-11-03
  19. ^ Black, Elizabeth. "A Celebration Of Hit The Floor Star Kimberly Elise's Illustrious Career". VH1.com. VH1. Archived from the original on 2014-08-21. Retrieved 21 August 2014.
  20. ^ "Hit The Floor' Premiere: Dean Cain And Kimberly Elise Have History In VH1 Dance Drama". huffingtonpost.com. Huffington Post. 28 May 2013. Retrieved 21 August 2014.
  21. ^ Denise Petski (16 June 2015). "Kimberly Elise, Kristen Ariza & Malcolm Gets Cast In 'Confirmation'". Deadline.
  22. ^ Pedersen, Erik (26 October 2015). "Kimberly Elise Is Wished 'A Meyers Christmas'". Retrieved 18 March 2018.
  23. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (7 October 2016). "Eli Roth's 'Death Wish' Adds Kimberly Elise and Camilla Morrone". Retrieved 18 March 2018.
  24. ^ ‘Mosquito Coast’: Kimberly Elise Joins Apple Series
  25. ^ Fiza Pirani, "PETA, Kimberly Elise target African-American communities in ‘Go Vegan’ PSA," Atlanta Journal Constitution, 3 January 2019.
  26. ^ McDuffie, Candace (June 29, 2022). ""Kimberly Elise Gets Dragged On Social Media For Pro-Life Stance"". The Root. G/O Media. Retrieved June 29, 2022.

External links[edit]