Lisa Gay Hamilton
Birthplace: Los Angeles, Calif.
Raised on Long Island, Hamilton contracted the acting bug at an early age. A graduate of fine arts from New York University, she studied drama at the Julliard School. Her first paid acting role was as a spear carrier in the Joseph Papp Public Theatre production of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night but she soon moved on to weightier parts, appearing opposite Kevin Kline in Measure for Measure in the New York Shakespeare Festival. For her role in Athol Fugard's play Valley Song, she won an Obie Award, the Clarence Derwent Award, and a Drama Desk nomination. In film, she's starred opposite Oprah Winfrey in Jonathan Demme's Beloved (1998) and had roles in Quentin Tarantino's Jackie Brown (1997), Clint Eastwood's True Crime (1999), and the The Truth About Charlie (2002). Television has kept her busy too, with guest appearances on Law & Order and Homicide along with a gig on The Practice from 2000–2003. Honored in 2000 by the 100 Black Women Foundation, a network for African American women, she has been tapped by the American Civil Liberties Union to host functions.