Worked With:

Anna Paquin

Peter Krause

Jordana Spiro

Lance Gross

Steven Pasquale

Kyle Chandler

James Belushi

Ellen Pompeo

Denzel Washington

Hugh Laurie

Dwayne Johnson

Chi McBride

Jurnee Smollett Biography

Home > Actresses > S > Smollett, Jurnee > Biography

Birth Name: Jurnee Smollett
Born: 10/01/1986
Birth Place: New York City, New York, USA

The fourth of six performing siblings, Jurnee Smollett was just what writer-director Kasi Lemmons had envisioned for the lead in her film: "a light-skinned black child . . . who could convey the nuances of a Creole child in the 60s". The young thespian pulled ahead of her brothers and sisters with her bracing portrayal of a ten-year-old who finds her father (Samuel L Jackson) in a compromising position in the finely-crafted independent "Eve's Bayou" (1997). She conveyed a maturity far beyond her years, yet also managed to retain a childlike innocence, impressing critics and audiences alike. Smollett had begun her career as a child model and landed recurring roles on both "Hangin' With Mr. Cooper" and "Full House" before co-starring with her siblings in the sitcom "On Our Own" (ABC, 1994-95). Despite efforts to position the Smolletts as the "new" Jackson family (they sing and dance together as well as act), young Jurnee has managed to carve her own niche. In addition to her film roles, she displayed her acting chops as the daughter of a slain black activist in a particularly memorable episode of "NYPD Blue". After making guest appearances on Bill Cosby's CBS sitcom during the 1997-98 season, she was added as a regular to "Cosby" in the fall of 1998, allowing the veteran to bestow his "wisdom" to her.