Actors of Color with MAJOR roles on Shondaland shows

by 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).

1. Isaiah Washington

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.

2. Chandra Wilson

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 ...

3. James Pickens Jr.

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 ...

5. Loretta Devine

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 ...

6. Sara Ramirez

Actress | Grey's Anatomy

Sara Ramirez was born on August 31, 1975 in Mazatlan, Sinaloa, Mexico. She is an actress, known for Grey's Anatomy (2005), You've Got Mail (1998) and Spider-Man (2002). She has been married to Ryan DeBolt since July 4, 2012.

7. Gloria Garayua

Actress | Fun with Dick and Jane

Gloria Garayua was born on October 18, 1978 in Bronx, New York, USA. She is known for her work on Fun with Dick and Jane (2005), Faster (2010) and Mother and Child (2009).

8. Brandon Scott

Actor | Wreck-It Ralph

Brandon Scott was born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA. He is an actor, known for Wreck-It Ralph (2012), The Last of Us (2013) and Stand Up Guys (2012).

9. Candice Afia

Actress | Grey's Anatomy

Candice Afia is known for her work on Grey's Anatomy (2005), Patient Zero (2011) and The Mentalist (2008).

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 ...

17. Jerrika Hinton

Actress | The Roommate

Jerrika Hinton was born on September 28, 1981 in Dallas, Texas, USA as Jerrika Delayne Hinton. She is an actress and producer, known for The Roommate (2011), The Strangely Normal (2012) and Grey's Anatomy (2005).

18. Gaius Charles

Actor | Salt

Gaius Charles was born on May 2, 1983 in New York City, New York, USA. He is an actor and director, known for Salt (2010), The Messenger (2009) and Friday Night Lights (2006).

19. Kelly McCreary

Actress | Grey's Anatomy

Kelly McCreary is known for her work on Grey's Anatomy (2005), Castle (2009) and Baby, Baby, Baby (2015). She has been married to Pete Chatmon since May 2019.

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 ...

23. Jonathan Castellanos

Actor | Off the Map

Jonathan Castellanos is an actor, known for Off the Map (2011), Southland (2009) and The Mentalist (2008).

24. Nicholas Gonzalez

Actor | Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid

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,...

28. Guillermo Díaz

Actor | Half Baked

Guillermo Díaz was born in 1975 in New Jersey, USA. He is an actor and producer, known for Half Baked (1998), Cop Out (2010) and Scandal (2012).

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.

30. Khandi Alexander

Actress | CSI: Miami

Khandi Alexander was born on September 4, 1957 in New York City, New York, USA. She is an actress, known for CSI: Miami (2002), Patriots Day (2016) and Treme (2010).

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), ...

32. Billy Brown

Actor | The Lost World: Jurassic Park

Billy Brown is an actor, known for The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997), Star Trek (2009) and Race to Witch Mountain (2009).

33. Alfred Enoch

Actor | Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

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 ...

39. Jacky Ido

Actor | Inglourious Basterds

Jacky Ido was born on May 14, 1977 in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. He is an actor and director, known for Inglourious Basterds (2009), Lockout (2012) and The Catch (2016).



Recently Viewed