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As it relates to acting, Angela Bassett has remained among the top echelon in Hollywood for much of her career. The Oscar Award-nominated and Golden Globe Award-winning actress was born August 16, 1958 in Harlem, New York.

Bassett lived for a time in New York but spent her formative years in St. Petersburg, Fla., where she became the first Black student at her high school admitted into the National Honor Society. Bassett earned her B.A. from Yale University and her Masters of Fine Arts degree from the Yale School of Drama. She met her future husband Courtney B. Vance while attending Yale.

Her career took off with small bit roles beginning in 1985, and a move to Los Angeles to find more work proved fruitful, landing her roles in Boyz In The Hood (1991) and 1992’s Malcolm X, where she played Betty Shabazz, the wife of the slain Nation of Islam leader. She played Shabazz again in 1995’s Panther. 

But it was her role as Tina Turner in the 1993 film What’s Love Got To Do With It that made her a superstar. She also starred in two of author Terry McMillan’s book to film adaptations, Waiting To Exhale and How Stella Got Her Groove Back. Bassett was nominated for a Best Actress Oscar for What’s Love Got To Do With It, winning the Golden Globe Best Actress nod in 1994.

Bassett once again played an iconic character in the 2013 television film Betty and Coretta opposite Mary J. Blige, this time playing Coretta Scott King. Bassett joined the American Horror Story anthology series for several seasons, and was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie for her work on the show in 2014 and 2015. In 2018, Bassett played the role of Queen Ramonda in the Marvel superhero film, Black Panther.


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