Actors of Color with MAJOR roles on Shondaland showsby PeggyFromMannix | created - 02 Apr 2016 | updated - 02 Apr 2016 | Public
Shonda Rhimes is credited for breaking the racial barrier on primetime TV dramas. Here's proof (whether you accept that Ms. Rhimes has done actually that is respectfully up to you).
Actor | Grey's Anatomy
Isaiah Washington was born on August 3, 1963 in Houston, Texas, USA. He is an actor and producer, known for Grey's Anatomy (2005), Exit Wounds (2001) and Hollywood Homicide (2003). He has been married to Jenisa Marie Garland since February 14, 1996. They have three children.
Actress | Grey's Anatomy
Houston, Texas native Chandra Wilson began performing in musicals at the age of five with Theatre Under the Stars. She attended Houston's High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, and later went on to acquire her BFA in Drama from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts through which she spent four ...
Actor | Grey's Anatomy
James Pickens Jr. was born October 26, 1954 in Cleveland, Ohio. While attending college at Bowling Green State University, Pickens began pursuing an interest in acting. He graduated from BGSU with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1976. Afterwards, Pickens began work on the stage at the Roundabout Theatre...
4. Sandra Oh
Actress | Grey's Anatomy
Sandra Oh was born to Korean parents in the Ottawa suburb of Nepean, Ontario, Canada. Her father, Oh Junsu, a businessman, and her mother, Oh Young-Nam, a biochemist, were married in Seoul, Korea. They both attended graduate school at the University of Toronto. Sandra began her career as a ballet ...
Actress | Crash
Equally at home on stage and on screen, award-winning actress Loretta Devine has created some of the most memorable roles in theatre, film and television.
Devine first captured national attention in the role of Lorrell, one of the three original "Dreamgirls" in Michael Bennett's classic ...
10. Moe Irvin
Actor | Grey's Anatomy
Moe Irvin is a Southern California native originally from Riverside, California. He is a lifetime member of The Actors Studio and a founding member of The Whitmore Eclectic Theatre group; a company formed in honor of the late James Whitmore. He is also the writer, director and star of the award ...
11. Anjul Nigam
Actor | Bad Words
Anjul Nigam is a veteran actor who has been working in the entertainment industry for over 20 years. A graduate of New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, Anjul is also a founding partner at Brittany House Pictures where he is producing the feature film comedy "Good Ol' Boy," which he ...
12. Cress Williams
Actor | Never Been Kissed
Cress Williams was born on July 26, 1970 in Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany. He is an actor, known for Never Been Kissed (1999), Black Lightning (2018) and Fallen (1998). He has been married to Kristen Torrianni since June 15, 2013. He was previously married to Simbi Kali.
13. Hector Elizondo
Actor | Pretty Woman
Hector Elizondo was born in New York City, New York, where he was raised, on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. He is the son of Carmen Medina Reyes and Martín Echevarría Elizondo. Hector is of Basque and Puerto Rican descent, and "Elizondo" means "at the foot of the church" in Basque. His lifestyle...
14. Jesse Williams
Actor | The Cabin in the Woods
Jesse Wesley Williams born August 5, 1981 is a former high school teacher and activist turned actor/director. He's best known for his role as Dr. Jackson Avery on the ABC Television series Grey's Anatomy and his advocacy for the disenfranchised, highlighted by his internationally resonant ...
15. Jason George
Actor | Fallen
Jason George was born on February 9, 1972 in Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA as Jason Winston George. He is an actor and producer, known for Fallen (1998), Sunset Beach (1997) and Off Centre (2001). He has been married to Vandana Khanna since July 10, 1999. They have three children.
16. Debbie Allen
Actress | Fame
Deborah Kaye Allen was born in Houston, Texas, to African-American parents, Vivian Elizabeth (Ayers), a poet and art director, and Andrew Arthur Allen, an orthodontist. As a child, Debbie, her older brother, Andrew (called Tex), and her older sister, actress Phylicia Rashad, lived in Mexico to ...
20. Taye Diggs
Actor | Chicago
Taye Diggs was born in Newark, New Jersey, and was raised in Rochester, New York. He is the son of Marcia (Berry), a teacher and actress, and Andre Young, a visual artist. When he was a child, his mother married Jeffries Diggs, whose surname Taye took. He received a BFA degree in musical theater ...
21. Audra McDonald
Actress | Beauty and the Beast
Audra McDonald was born on July 3, 1970 in Berlin, Germany as Audra Ann McDonald. She is an actress, known for Beauty and the Beast (2017), Private Practice (2007) and A Raisin in the Sun (2008). She has been married to Will Swenson since October 6, 2012. They have one child. She was previously ...
22. Valerie Cruz
Actress | Cellular
Valerie Cruz has appeared in over 100 television episodes, including recurring roles on The CW series "Charmed," starring as the charmed one's mother 'Marisol,' ABC's "The Rookie" and the CW drama "Life Sentence" alongside stars Lucy Hale and Dylan Walsh. She has been a series regular on shows ...
Nicholas Gonzalez was born on January 3, 1976 in San Antonio, Texas, USA as Nicholas Edward Gonzalez. He is an actor and producer, known for Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid (2004), The Purge: Anarchy (2014) and The O.C. (2003). He has been married to Kelsey Crane since April 16, 2016. They...
25. Aimee Garcia
Actress | Dexter
A Chicago native of Mexican and Puerto Rican descent, she made her professional stage debut at the age of seven in Paul Mejia's "Cinderella" at The Auditorium Theatre. By the age of twelve, she was dancing 20 shows a month as "Clara" in "The Nutcracker". She joined the Young People's Company, whose...
26. Kerry Washington
Actress | Django Unchained
Kerry Washington was born on January 31, 1977 in The Bronx, New York City, New York, USA as Kerry Marisa Washington. She is an actress and producer, known for Django Unchained (2012), Scandal (2012) and Save the Last Dance (2001). She has been married to Nnamdi Asomugha since June 24, 2013. They ...
27. Columbus Short
Actor | The Losers
Born in Kansas City, Missouri on September 19, 1982, Columbus Keith Short, Jr., started entertaining at the age of three, by putting on shows for his folks' enjoyment. Whether impersonating relatives, dancing or just making people laugh, everyone sensed something special about the boy. Fortunately,...
29. Joe Morton
Actor | Terminator 2: Judgment Day
Joe Morton was born on October 18, 1947 in New York, New York, USA. He is a television, film, and theater actor, best known for The Brother from Another Planet (1984), Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991), Eureka (2006), and Scandal (2012). He also writes and directs, and is a singer/songwriter.
31. Viola Davis
Actress | Fences
Actress Viola Davis was born on her grandmother's farm, at the then-Singleton Plantation in St. Matthews, South Carolina. When she was two months old her family moved to Central Falls, Rhode Island, where her father, Dan Davis, worked as a horse groomer and trainer. Her mother, Mary Alice (Logan), ...
33. Alfred Enoch
Alfred Lewis Enoch was born December 2, 1988 in Westminster, London, England, the son of English actor William Russell (William Russell Enoch) and Brazilian doctor Balbina Gutierrez. He is an actor, known for his role as Dean Thomas in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001) (2001), Harry ...
34. Aja Naomi King
Actress | The Birth of a Nation
King appeared in several short films before landing guest roles on the CBS procedurals Blue Bloods and Person of Interest. Her big break came in 2012 when she was cast as new surgical intern Cassandra Kopelson on the CW drama Emily Owens, M.D. The series was canceled after a single season in 2013. ...
35. Karla Souza
Actress | How to Get Away with Murder
Karla Souza was born in 1986 in Mexico City, Distrito Federal, Mexico as Karla Olivares Souza. She is an actress, known for How to Get Away with Murder (2014), Suave patria (2012) and The Noble Family (2013). She has been married to Marshall Trenkmann since May 2014. They have one child.
37. Rose Rollins
Actress | The L Word
Rose Rollins was raised in Yonkers, New York, growing up with five brothers. She is an accomplished actress who has garnered attention on both the big and small screens.
Rollins now stars in ABC's The Catch opposite Mireille Enos. The series centers on a gutsy female forensic accountant who exposes ...
38. Alimi Ballard
Actor | Fast Five
Alimi ("Ali - Me") can be seen as Dr. Robert Dubois on the acclaimed original drama series QUEEN SUGAR from Academy Award-nominated filmmaker creator/executive producer Ava DuVernay and executive producer Oprah Winfrey on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network.
Ballard recently dazzled on the screen as the ...