Photo of Kerry Washington Kerry Washington

While mainstream audiences may have been unfamiliar with Kerry Washington until she appeared as Ray Charles's long-suffering wife in Ray (2004), the actress had been quietly amassing an impressive body of work onstage and in independent films for several years prior to her breakout performance in that film.

Born Jan. 31, 1977, in New York, Washington studied theater at George Washington University before making her feature film debut in 2000's Our Song. Demonstrating a keen ability to play characters younger than herself, Washington was subsequently cast as teenagers in a string of films, including Save the Last Dance and The United States of Leland.

Graduating to starring roles with Spike Lee's She Hate Me (2004), Washington has since appeared in such big-budget Hollywood fare as Fantastic Four and Mr. and Mrs. Smith. She also had a recurring role on the TV drama "Boston Legal."

Kerry Washington in Mother and Child

Mother and Child

2009 R

Fifty-year-old Karen (Annette Bening) regrets giving up her daughter, Elizabeth (Naomi Watts), for adoption; years later, Elizabeth questions her own approach to life. Their stories intersect with that of Lucy (Kerry Washington), who hopes to fulfill her dreams of motherhood through adoption. Rodrigo García writes and directs this drama about parenting, sacrifice, romance and self-fulfillment. Eileen Ryan and Samuel L. Jackson co-star.

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  • Kerry Washington in The Last King of Scotland The Last King of Scotland
  • Kerry Washington in Mr. & Mrs. Smith Mr. & Mrs. Smith
  • Kerry Washington in Ray Ray
  • Kerry Washington in Girl Rising Girl Rising
  • Kerry Washington in Confirmation Confirmation
  • Kerry Washington in Save the Last Dance Save the Last Dance
  • Kerry Washington in Lakeview Terrace Lakeview Terrace
  • Kerry Washington in For Colored Girls For Colored Girls
  • Kerry Washington in A Thousand Words A Thousand Words
  • Kerry Washington in Sexual Life Sexual Life
  • Kerry Washington in Sin Sin
  • Kerry Washington in Against the Ropes Against the Ropes
  • Kerry Washington in I Think I Love My Wife I Think I Love My Wife
  • Kerry Washington in Miracle at St. Anna Miracle at St. Anna
  • Kerry Washington in Black Panther: The Animated Series Black Panther: The Animated Series
  • Kerry Washington in The Details The Details
  • Kerry Washington in Peeples Peeples
  • Kerry Washington in Our Song Our Song
  • Kerry Washington in Lift Lift
  • Kerry Washington in She Hate Me She Hate Me
  • Kerry Washington in Fantastic Four Fantastic Four
  • Kerry Washington in Little Man Little Man
  • Kerry Washington in Life Is Hot in Cracktown Life Is Hot in Cracktown
  • Kerry Washington in Night Catches Us Night Catches Us