Angela Bassett was born in New York City on August 16, 1958. She and her sister, D’nette grew up in St. Petersburg, Florida where they lived with their single mother, Betty. A social worker, she stressed the importance of education to both of her children. Through the urgings of a high school teacher, Angela applied for and got a scholarship to Yale University. There she spent a total of seven years, receiving a B.A. in African-American studies in 1980. Three additional post-graduate years were spent studying at the Yale School of Drama, where she earned a Master of Fine Arts Degree in 1983 and met her husband, Courtney B. Vance. The couple married in 1997.
Her very first role was in the television film, “Doubletake” in 1985, but she is more associated with the 1986 cult favorite, “F/X”. She moved more or less unnoticed in cinematic circles however, until 1990 when a number of television roles brought her critical acclaim. Her breakthrough role was as Tina Turner in the film, “What’s Love Got To Do With It?” Ironically, she had never seen Tina Turner perform before taking on the role. She not only earned widespread recognition for her riveting portrayal, but also garnered a Golden Globe for “Best Actress” as well as an Oscar nomination for “Best Actress” (1993).
Angela Bassett’s face is known all over the world, in theaters, stages and television screens. She made headlines a few years back when she was offered the role in “Monster’s Ball” for which Hallie Berry won an Oscar, but did not accept it because she did not approve of its representation of African-American female sexuality. A fine actress who will hopefully make many more films in the coming years, she currently resides with her husband and children in California. The couple’s first children, son Slater Josiah and daughter Bronwyn Golden, were both carried by a surrogate mother.
What are some of YOUR favorite Angela Bassett performances?