11/8/1952 (70 years old) Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States
While this talented actress has never truly risen to superstar status, she is an accomplished performer of stage and screen. She's played a host of diverse characters---doctor, detective, judge, junkie, teacher---yet she is consistently believable, her portrayals rooted in rich realism and radiating an intuitive humanity. Her prolific, decades-spanning career---which includes TV stints on St. Elsewhere and Hill Street Blues as well as a number of TV-movies and a wide array of theatrical films---has won her critical praise and numerous acting awards. A married mother of two, Woodard has maintained a low personal profile, even when she signed on to one of TV's hottest shows in 2005, Desperate Housewives. Although her turn as enigmatic Wisteria Lane denizen Betty Applewhite boosted her entertainment stature, she retired the role in 2006. She returned to the small screen in the Christian Slater espionage outing My Own Worst Enemy (2008), playing a spy-organization supervisor, and in the equally short-lived medical drama Three Rivers (2009). Off stage, Woodard champions various humanitarian causes, including raising awareness for global poverty and HIV/AIDS, and cofounding Artists for a New South Africa, a non-profit organization devoted to advancing democracy and equality in that country.