Among a long and distinguished career on stage and in film, the Oscar-nominated Alfre Woodard can include her “historic” role as Lily Sloane, the backbone engineer to warp-drive pioneer Dr. Zefram Cochrane in 1996’s big-screen Star Trek: First Contact. Most recently, the busy actress has been seen in recurring roles on True Blood, Memphis Beat, Three Rivers, Black Panther, and a season on Desperate Housewives as Betty Applewhite.


Born in 1952 in Tulsa, Okla., Woodard topped a high school career as a cheerleader and track star by studying drama at Boston University, then played on Broadway before heading to Los Angeles. After a breakout film performance in 1992’s Passion Fish and landing the role of Dr. Roxanne Turner on NBC’s St. Elsewhere, Woodard has 11 nominations and four wins for the U.S. television Emmy Award—with trophies for a supporting actress guest arc on Hill Street Blues, for guest roles in the pilot of LA Law and on The Practice, and for the lead in HBO’s Miss Evers’ Boys—a role that also yielded a Golden Globe Award. Woodard likewise netted an Academy Award nomination for her supporting role in 1983’s Cross Creek.