Anna Deveare Smith

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Anna Deveare Smith

Birthplace: Baltimore, Baltimore , Maryland, United States
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Deaver Young Smith, Jr. and Anna Smith
Sister of Private; Albert Maurice Smith; Private and Private

Occupation: Actress, playwright, professor
Managed by: Erica Howton
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Anna Deveare Smith

Anna Deavere Smith (born September 18, 1950) is an American actress, playwright, and professor. She is currently (2014) the artist-in-residence at the Center for American Progress. Smith is widely known for her roles as National Security Advisor Dr. Nancy McNally in The West Wing (2000–06), and as hospital administrator Gloria Akalitus in the Showtime series Nurse Jackie (2009–present).

Smith won The Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize (2013), one of the richest prizes in the American arts with a remuneration of $300,000. In 2013, she received the 2012 National Humanities Medal from President Barack Obama.

From People Magazine." August 30, 1993 Vol. 40 No. 9 Anna Deavere Smith By Pope Brock "An Electrifying Actress Puts America's Race Wars Onstage—by Playing All the Parts"

"Smith grew up the eldest of five children in a black middle-class neighborhood in Baltimore, where her father worked in the tea and coffee business and her mother was an elementary school principal. "There was segregation in Baltimore then," says Smith, whose light skin sometimes put her right on the color line. "I wasn't allowed to try on clothes in certain department stores. I remember one saleslady saying to my mother, 'She looks okay. I'll let her sneak in.' ""


On the PBS television show "Finding Your Roots" Smith learned from DNA testing that she descends from the Igbo people of Nigeria.


  1. Obituary for Anna Young Smith The Baltimore Sun, September 19, 2003.
  2. "Homeward Bound" Long Departed From Her Native Baltimore, Playwright And Actress Anna Deavere Smith Is Ready To Explore Her Beginnings. The Baltimore Sun, August 23, 2009. "Just the other day, she found out quite by accident - from, of all things, a poster in a New York subway - that she might be related to a conductor on the Underground Railroad who, like Smith's uncle, was named Basil Biggs"


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Anna Deveare Smith's Timeline

September 18, 1950
Baltimore, Baltimore , Maryland, United States