Nicole Beharie

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Nicole Beharie
Nicole Beharie SDCC 2014 (cropped).jpg
Beharie in 2014
Born (1985-01-03) January 3, 1985 (age 35)
EducationJuilliard School (BFA)
  • Actress
  • singer
Years active2008–present

Nicole Beharie /bɪˈhɑːri/ (born January 3, 1985) is an American actress and singer. She is best known for her starring roles in films such as the drama American Violet (2008), the psychological drama Shame (2011), the biographical sports drama 42 (2013), the crime drama Monsters and Men (2018), and the independent drama Miss Juneteenth (2020). From 2013 to 2016, she starred in the Fox supernatural drama series Sleepy Hollow.

Early life[edit]

Beharie was born in West Palm Beach, Florida.[1] When Beharie was little, her father was in the Foreign Service, so she grew up in the United Kingdom, Jamaica, Nigeria and Panama.[2] She attended Orangeburg Wilkinson High School in Orangeburg, South Carolina, and is a 2003 graduate of the South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts & Humanities,[3] a public residential high school in Greenville. Beharie was then accepted into Juilliard School, one of the most prestigious performing arts conservatories in the United States (Drama division Group 36: 2003–07).[4] She was awarded a Shakespeare scholarship and trained in England.[5]


Beharie made her feature film debut in the 2008 film American Violet,[6] where she played the leading role. Also in the same year she played Sarah Ward in the American sports film The Express: The Ernie Davis Story opposite actor Rob Brown. In the Lifetime movie, Sins of the Mother (2010),[7] Beharie portrayed Shay Hunter, a struggling university student who goes on a journey to mend her fractured relationship with her mother Nona played by Jill Scott.

In 2011, Beharie performed five original songs as a singer-songwriter opposite German actor Ken Duken in the romantic comedy My Last Day Without You. In the Russell Leigh Sharman film adaptation of his play Apartment 4E, she played Piper, a troubled young woman who never leaves her apartment.[8][9] Beharie played Marianne in the Steve McQueen film Shame,[10] portraying a love interest of Michael Fassbender. Wesley Morris of The Boston Globe praised her performance, calling her "a marvel of natural transparency".[11]

In 2013, Beharie starred as Rachel Robinson, wife of Jackie Robinson (played by Chadwick Boseman), in the historical baseball feature 42. The same year, she began portraying Abbie Mills on the Fox fantasy series Sleepy Hollow, which is based on the 1820 short story "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" by Washington Irving.[12] In Spring 2016, Beharie departed the series, with her character dying in the series' third-season finale, the episode entitled "Ragnarok", which was aired April 8, 2016.[13] She later stated that an autoimmune disease was one of the causes of her exit and also revealed that she struggled to find work and was labelled as problematic after her departure from the show.[14][15]

In 2020, she starred in Miss Juneteenth, a film about a former pageant winner preparing her teenage daughter to assume her former crown.[15]



Year Title Role Notes
2008 American Violet Dee Roberts
2008 The Express: The Ernie Davis Story Sarah Ward
2011 My Last Day Without You Leticia Johnson
2011 Shame Marianne
2012 Apartment 4E Piper
2012 The Last Fall Faith Davis
2012 The Mirror Between Us Zora Short film
2012 Woman Thou Art Loosed: On the 7th Day Beth Hutchins
2013 42 Rachel Robinson
2018 Monsters and Men Michelle
2019 Jacob's Ladder Samantha Singer
2020 Miss Juneteenth Turquoise Jones


Year Title Role Notes
2009 Three Rivers Helen Reed Episode: "Win-loss"
2010 Sins of the Mother Shay Television film
2011 The Good Wife Imani Stonehouse 2 episodes
2012 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Tracy Harrison Episode: "Child's Welfare"
2013–2016 Sleepy Hollow Abbie Mills / Witness Main role (50 episodes)
2015 Bones Abbie Mills Episode: "The Resurrection in the Remains"
2017 AfroPop: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange Host 5 episodes
2019 Black Mirror Theo Episode: "Striking Vipers"
Credited as Nikki Beharie
2020 Little Fires Everywhere Madeline Ryan Episode: "The Uncanny"
2020 Monsterland Annie Episode: "New Orleans, LA"


Year Title Role Venue
2010–11 A Free Man of Color Margery Jolicoeur Vivian Beaumont Theatre (Broadway)

Soundtrack appearances[edit]

Year Album Songs
2013 My Last Day Without You "Two Hands", "Catch Me", "Morning Light", "Scars", "My Last Day Without You"

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Association Category Nominated work Result
2009 African-American Film Critics Best Actress[16] American Violet Won
2010 Black Reel Awards Best Actress Nominated
Best Breakthrough Performance Nominated
Best Ensemble Nominated
2012 Best Song My Last Day Without You Nominated
2014 NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series Sleepy Hollow Nominated
2015 Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series Nominated
Fangoria Chainsaw Awards Favorite Actress on Television[17] Nominated


  1. ^ "Nicole Beharie Biography - Nicole Beharie Bio". January 3, 1985. Retrieved November 29, 2012.
  2. ^ Mark Guiducci (April 12, 2013). "Here's to You, Mrs. Robinson: Ten Questions for 42′s Nicole Beharie". VOGUE Magazine. Retrieved January 5, 2017.
  3. ^ "Three drama alums on Broadway". South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts & Humanities. November 1, 2010. Archived from the original on March 7, 2012.
  4. ^ "Alumni News". The Juilliard School. March 2010. Archived from the original on November 11, 2011. Retrieved April 7, 2012.
  5. ^ Osenlund, Kurt R (April 12, 2013). "On the Rise: Nicole Beharie". Slant Magazine. Retrieved September 24, 2013.
  6. ^ "Celebrities | News". BET. February 22, 2011. Retrieved November 29, 2012.
  7. ^ "Sins of the Mother". Archived from the original on August 3, 2014. Retrieved July 10, 2014.
  8. ^ "Small Of Her Back". Small Of Her Back. Retrieved November 29, 2012.
  9. ^ "Small of Her Back : Post-Production by Russell Sharman – Kickstarter". October 18, 2010. Retrieved November 29, 2012.
  10. ^ "20 Questions: Theater & Film Ingenue Nicole Beharie - Entertainment Newswire | Black Voices". December 14, 2010. Retrieved November 29, 2012.
  11. ^ Morris, Wesley. "Down and dirty: Fassbender's performance as a sex addict is spellbinding, though 'Shame' is not". The Boston Globe. Retrieved February 16, 2012.
  12. ^ Topel, Fred (September 18, 2013). "Exclusive Interview: Nicole Beharie on 'Sleepy Hollow' and 42 We talk to Ichabod Crane's police partner on Fox's modern day "Sleepy Hollow" about the new take on the horror story, and her landmark role in the biopic 42". Retrieved September 24, 2013.
  13. ^ "Nicole Beharie Leaving Sleepy Hollow". Retrieved April 9, 2016.
  14. ^ "Nicole Beharie Reveals Autoimmune Disease Was Behind Her Exit From 'Sleepy Hollow'". Retrieved February 22, 2020.
  15. ^ a b Kelley, Sonaiya (June 19, 2020). "Nicole Beharie was called 'problematic' and blacklisted. 'Miss Juneteenth' brings redemption". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 22, 2020.
  16. ^ "On the Rise: Nicole Beharie". slant magazine. April 12, 2013. Retrieved December 12, 2014.
  17. ^ "The 2015 Fangoria Chainsaw Awards Winners and Full Results!". Retrieved August 8, 2015.

External links[edit]