May 31, 1975 |
Merle Dandridge (born May 31, 1975) is an actress and singer. She performed in a number of stage productions, including Broadway musicals Jesus Christ Superstar, Spamalot, and Rent. Dandridge is also known for her recurring role on television series such as Sons of Anarchy and The Night Shift. In 2016, she began starring as Grace Greenleaf in the Oprah Winfrey Network drama series, Greenleaf.
Dandridge was born in Okinawa, Japan. Her father was an African-American US serviceman from Memphis and her mother was a local Okinawan of Korean descent. As well as Okinawa, Dandridge has lived in Sacramento, California, at Beale Air Force Base, and later at Offutt Air Force Base (home to the then-Strategic Air Command) in Bellevue, Nebraska, where she spent the majority of her childhood. She attended Papillion La Vista High School and participated in the play production class and theater department there. She then attended the Theatre Conservatory at Roosevelt University (currently called the Chicago College of Performing Arts) She has been married to her husband Christopher Johnston since 2011.
Dandridge began her career appearing in Chicago theatre productions. She has gained a wider audience as the voice of Alyx Vance in the award-winning action game Half-Life 2 and its sequels, Episode One and Episode Two, and also as Marlene in The Last of Us. On television, she guest starred on NCIS, 24, Criminal Minds, The Newsroom and Drop Dead Diva. In 2012, she was cast in a series regular role as Chief in the NBC drama series Chicago Fire, but after pilot episode was replaced by Eamonn Walker. Dandridge also had the recurring roles in the FX drama series, Sons of Anarchy as Rita Roosevelt, and short-lived The CW teen soap Star-Crossed in 2014. In 2015, she co-starred in the second season of NBC medical drama, The Night Shift as Gwen Gaskin.
In 2015, Dandridge was cast as lead character in the Oprah Winfrey Network drama series, Greenleaf opposite Lynn Whitfield. She plays the role of Grace Greenleaf, Greenleaf's estranged daughter. Dandridge has received critical acclaim for her first leading screen role.
Television and film
|2003||The Edge||Agent Angela Wells||Pilot|
|2003||NCIS||Marcy Carruthers||Episode: "Sea Dog"|
|2005||Third Watch||Nikki||Episode: "Too Little, Too Late"|
|2005||All My Children||Lois||Recurring role|
|2005||Guiding Light||Lawyer||Episode: "July 21, 2005"|
|2007||I'm Paige Wilson||Gloria||Pilot|
|2008||Nothing But The Truth||Celia|
|2010||The Deep End||Jennifer Hutchins||Episode: "An Innocent Man"|
|2010||24||Kristen Smith||Episode: "Day 8, 12:00am– 1:00am"|
|2010||CSI: Miami||Stacy Garrett||Episode: "Sleepless In Miami"|
|2011||Lie to Me||D.A. Jill Ottinger||Episode: "Saved"|
|2011||Love Bites||Krista||Episode: "How To..."|
|2011||Ringer||Dr. Anabel Morris||Episode: "Shut Up and Eat Your Bologna"|
|2012||Criminal Minds||Agent Lynn Brooks||Episode: "A Family Affair"|
|2011–2012||Sons of Anarchy||Rita Roosevelt||Recurring role, 6 episodes|
|2012—2013||The Newsroom||Maria Guerrero||Episodes: "Amen" and "One Step Too Many"|
|2014||The Mentalist||Lydia Faulk||Episode: "Il Tavolo Bianco"|
|2014||Star-Crossed||Vega||Recurring role, 7 episodes|
|2014||Drop Dead Diva||Nadine Comer||Episode: "Afterlife"|
|2014||Stalker||Dean Lisa Miner||Episode: "Pilot"|
|2014||NCIS: Los Angeles||CIA Officer Nicole Borders||Episode: "Reign Fall"|
|2015||Perception||Robyn Sherman||Episode: "Meat"|
|2015–present||The Night Shift||Gwen Gaskin||Recurring role, 15 episodes|
|2015||Rosewood||Charlotte||Episode: "Vitamins and Vandals"|
|2016–present||Greenleaf||Grace Greenleaf||Series regular|
|1994||Once on this Island||Performer||Chicago, IL|
|1994||Robber Bridegroom||Rosamund||Roosevelt University Chicago, IL|
|1994||As You Like It||Rosalind||Roosevelt University Chicago, IL|
|1997||Balm in Gilead||Ann||Gilead Theatre Chicago, IL|
|1997||The Kentucky Cycle||Performer||Truman College (Chicago, IL)|
|1997||Sweet and Hot||Performer||Theatre Building Chicago, IL|
|1998||Heart and Soul||Andrea||Chicago, IL|
|1998||Richard II||Performer||Gilead Theatre Co. Chicago, IL|
|1998||Ain't Misbehavin'||European Tour|
|1998||Smokey Joe's Cafe||Swing||National Tour|
|2000||Jesus Christ Superstar||Mary Magdalene||Ford Center for the Performing Arts (Broadway)|
|2002||Aida||Aida (Replacement)||Palace Theatre Broadway|
|2002-2008||Rent||Joanne Jefferson (Replacement)||Nederlander Theatre Broadway|
|2003||Showtune: Celebrating the Words & Music of Jerry Herman||Woman 2||Pasadena Playhouse Pasadena, CA|
|2006-2007||Tarzan||Kala||Richard Rodgers Theatre Broadway|
|2008||Monty Python's Spamalot||The Lady of the Lake||Shubert Theatre Broadway|
|2009-2010||Rent||Joanne||USA National Tour|
|2004||Half-Life 2||Alyx Vance|
|2006||Half-Life 2: Episode One||Alyx Vance|
|2007||Half-Life 2: Episode Two||Alyx Vance|
|2007||The Orange Box||Alyx Vance||Compilation|
|2013||The Last of Us||Marlene|
|2013||Dota 2||Legion Commander
|2015||Everybody's Gone to the Rapture||Kate Collins||Won BAFTA for Best Performer|
|2016||Uncharted 4: A Thief's End||Evelyn
- The Broadway League. "Merle Dandridge - IBDB: The official source for Broadway Information IBDB: The official source for Broadway Information". Retrieved 27 August 2015.
- "DIVA TALK: Chatting with Spamalot's Merle Dandridge Plus Betty Buckley at Birdland". Playbill. Retrieved 27 August 2015.
- "Merle Dandridge Lands Role on NBC Pilot Chicago Fire". Retrieved 21 June 2016.
- Vlada Gelman. "‘The Night Shift’ Season 2 Cast — Merle Dandridge as Jordan’s Best Friend - TVLine". TVLine. Retrieved 27 August 2015.
- Denise Petski. "Lynn Whitfield, Merle Dandridge & Desiree Ross Join ‘Greenleaf’ - Deadline". Deadline. Retrieved 27 August 2015.
- Tambay A. Obenson (24 August 2015). "Lynn Whitfield, Merle Dandridge and Desiree Ross Cast in - Shadow and Act". Shadow and Act. Retrieved 27 August 2015.
- Ryan, Maureen (17 June 2016). "TV Review: ‘Greenleaf’". Retrieved 21 June 2016.
- "Meet Merle Dandridge, the 'Greenleaf' leading lady picked by Oprah". Retrieved 21 June 2016.
- "5 Reasons to Watch Oprah Winfrey's New Series 'Greenleaf'". ABC News. 21 June 2016. Retrieved 21 June 2016.