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Uzo Aduba

Uzo Aduba

American actress
Uzo Aduba
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro American actress
Is Actor Stage actor Film actor Television actor Voice actor
From United States of America
Type Film, TV, Stage & Radio
Gender female
Birth 10 February 1981, Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, USA
Age 39 years
Star sign Aquarius
Education
Boston University
Boston University College of Fine Arts
Awards
Primetime Emmy Award  
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series 2014
OkayAfrica 100 Women 2018
The details

Biography

Uzoamaka Nwanneka "Uzo" Aduba (/ˈz əˈdbə/; born February 10, 1981) is an American actress. She is known for her role as Suzanne "Crazy Eyes" Warren on the Netflix original series Orange Is the New Black (2013–2019), for which she won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series in 2014, an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series in 2015, and two Screen Actors Guild Awards for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series in 2014 and 2015. She is one of only two actors to win an Emmy Award in both the comedy and drama categories for the same role, the other being Ed Asner for the character Lou Grant.

Aduba appeared in films including American Pastoral (2016), Showing Roots (2016), My Little Pony: The Movie (2017), Candy Jar (2018) and Miss Virginia (2019). In 2020, she played Shirley Chisholm in the Hulu miniseries Mrs. America.

Early life

Aduba was born in Boston, Massachusetts to parents who are from Nigeria. She grew up in Medfield, Massachusetts, and graduated from Medfield High School in 1999. She attended Boston University, where she studied classical voice and competed in track and field. She describes her family as a "sports family". Her younger brother, Obi, played hockey at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and went on to play six seasons professionally.

Career

Early works

Aduba first garnered recognition for her acting in 2003, when her performance in Translations of Xhosa at the Olney Theatre Center for the Arts earned her a Helen Hayes Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Play. Aduba played the character Amphiarus in 2006 at New York Theatre Workshop and again in 2008 at La Jolla Playhouse. In 2007, she made her Broadway debut, portraying Toby in Helen Edmundson's adaptation of Coram Boy at the Imperial Theatre. From 2011 through 2012, she sang "By My Side" as part of the original revival cast of Godspell at the Circle in the Square Theatre. Her first television appearance was as a nurse on Blue Bloods in 2012. She also played the mother of the title character of Venice at The Public Theater in New York.

2013—19: Orange Is the New Black

Aduba at the premiere of American Pastoral at the 2016 Toronto Film Festival

In 2013, Aduba began portraying Suzanne "Crazy Eyes" Warren in the Netflix comedy-drama series Orange Is the New Black. On being cast, Aduba said:

I auditioned for the show back in late July or early August of [2012]. I had been auditioning that summer for more television and film [after doing much theater]. I'd read a lot of scripts and I remember reading Orange Is the New Black, and it was at the head of the pack. I remember thinking, 'Wow, that is really good, I would love to be a part of that.' I went in and auditioned for another part, and my representatives called me about a month later and they were like, "Hi, we have some really good news. You remember that audition you went on for Orange Is the New Black? You didn't get it." I go, "So… okay, what's the good news?" They said they wanted to offer me another part, Crazy Eyes. I was like, "What in my audition would make someone think I'd be right for a part called Crazy Eyes?" But to be honest, when I got the script for it, it felt like the right fit.

Casting director Jennifer Euston explains the selection of Aduba for the role thus: "Uzo Aduba...had her hair in those knots for the audition...They saw something amazing in her and were able to connect it to what they were looking for in Crazy Eyes." In joining the series, Aduba obtained her Screen Actors Guild card, about which she says, "I was just like, 'Wow, this means I'm a full actor now.' It was such a big deal, and I remember being so thankful and feeling so proud."

She has been recognized for her performance as "Crazy Eyes": Aduba won Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series at the 66th Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards as well as Best Guest Performer in a Comedy Series at the 4th Critics' Choice Television Awards and was nominated for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film at the 18th Satellite Awards for her season one performance. Aduba's season two performance earned her the Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series at the 21st Screen Actors Guild Awards and a nomination for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film at the 72nd Golden Globe Awards.

Aduba won a second Primetime Emmy at the 67th Primetime Emmy Awards in 2015, winning the award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series. This makes her the first actress to win both a drama and comedy Emmy for the same role. Aduba's performance in the third season also earned another Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series win for the 22nd Screen Actors Guild Awards. She also earned a Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film at the 73rd Golden Globe Awards.

In March 2014, Aduba performed at Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS benefit concert Broadway Backwards. Aduba teamed with Rachel Bay Jones for a rendition of the song "Lily's Eyes" from the musical The Secret Garden. In 2015, she played Glinda the Good Witch in the NBC live musical event special The Wiz Live!, receiving positive reviews from critics.

Aduba made her film debut in the 2015 musical comedy-drama film Pearly Gates. The following year she went to star alongside Maggie Grace in the comedy-drama Showing Roots, and played supporting roles in Tallulah “[Steven Universe](tv show)” and American Pastoral directed by Ewan McGregor. She played a major role in the 2017 musical animated film My Little Pony: The Movie, where she voices Queen Novo, leader of the Hippogriffs/Seaponies. She co-starred in two Netflix films; comedy Candy Jar in 2018, and drama Beats in 2019. Also in 2019, Aduba went to star in the drama film Miss Virginia, playing the title role.

2020—present

After Orange Is the New Black ended, Aduba was cast as politician Shirley Chisholm in the Hulu miniseries Mrs. America, opposite Cate Blanchett and Sarah Paulson. Chisholm was the first black candidate for a major party's nomination for President of the United States, the first woman to run for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination, as well as the first woman to appear in a United States presidential debate. The miniseries premiered on April 15, 2020 receiving critical acclaim. She also co-starred opposite Lupita Nyong'o in the HBO Max upcoming miniseries Americanah written by Danai Gurira. Aduba also was set to star in the fourth season of FX series Fargo, however drop out of the role due to "some personal family issues". She also co-starred in the upcoming romantic drama film Really Love.

Advocacy

In April 2017, Aduba received the Point Courage Award from the Point Foundation for her support of the LGBT community.

In June 2018, Aduba became Heifer International's first-ever celebrity ambassador to Africa. She saw Heifer's impact first-hand on 2016 and 2018 field visits to Uganda.

Stage credits

Year Title Role Notes
2006 The Seven Amphiarus New York Theatre Workshop
2007 Coram Boy Toby Imperial Theatre
2008 The Seven Amphiarus La Jolla Playhouse
2009 Eclipsed Helena Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
A Civil War Christmas Hannah Huntington Theatre
2011 Godspell Company Circle in the Square Theatre
2013 Venice Anna Monroe The Public Theater
2016 The Maids Solange Trafalgar Studios

Awards and nominations

Organization Year Work(s) Category Result
Critics' Choice Television Award 2014 Orange Is the New Black Best Guest Performer – Comedy Won
Glamour Awards 2016 Comedy Actress Nominated
Golden Globe Award 2015 Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film Nominated
2016 Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film Nominated
NAACP Image Awards 2015 Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series Nominated
2016 Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series Nominated
2017 Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series Nominated
2018 Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series Nominated
2019 Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series Nominated
Primetime Emmy Award 2014 Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series Won
2015 Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Won
2017 Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Nominated
Satellite Awards 2013 Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Award 2015 Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series Won
2015 Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series Won
2016 Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series Won
2016 Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series Won
2017 Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series Nominated
2017 Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series Won
2018 Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series Nominated
2018 Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series Nominated
The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 25 Jul 2020. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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Reference sources
References
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