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Tracie Thoms Biography

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Birth Name: Tracie Thoms
Born: 08/19/1975
Birth Place: Baltimore, Maryland, USA

A native of Baltimore, MD, Tracie Nicole Thoms was born on Aug. 19, 1975 to Mariana and Donald Thoms. A graduate of the Baltimore School for the Arts - also alma mater of actors Jada Pinkett and the late rapper Tupac Shakur - Thoms received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Washington, D.C.'s Howard University before completing her post-graduate studies at the prestigious New York City's Juilliard School.

Thoms made her major screen debut as diva Sasha Williams on the short-lived sitcom "As If" (UPN, 2002-03), based on a popular British sitcom of the same name. Unfortunately, the Americanized version of "As If" found nowhere near the success of the U.K. version. In total, only seven episodes were made - of which, only two actually aired. As a guest star, Thoms garnered critical praise for playing the daughter of C.C.H. Pounder's character on the edgy FX police drama, "The Shield" (FX, 2002-). That same year, she also achieved a measure of cult celebrity thanks to her appearance in "Porn 'n Chicken," a made-for-TV movie aired on Comedy Central. Thom's biggest TV role, by far, however, was that of Mahandra McGinty on the under-appreciated "Wonderfalls" (Fox, 2004-05). Though the ambitious series was canceled after just 13 episodes, Thoms rebounded quickly by landing a recurring (and later, regular) role as Detective Kat Miller on the hot procedural drama, "Cold Case."

On the big screen, Thoms delivered a solid performance as lesbian lawyer Joanne Jefferson in the uneven film adaptation of "Rent." One of only two performers in the film not to have been part of the original Broadway cast - the other being Rosario Dawson - Thoms came under heavy scrutiny by dedicated fans of the play. Ironically enough, the actress had, in fact, auditioned several times for the show throughout the nineties without success. Assuming the role originally created on stage by actress Fredi Walker, the character of Joanne was modeled after Alcindoro from Puccini's "La Boheme." A man in the original, Thoms' was the only character out of the seven principals whose predecessor was the opposite gender - a change made by "Rent" playwright Jonathan Larson as a personal reference to his own ex-girlfriend leaving him for another woman.

In between her time spent solving unsolved Philadelphia-based murders on her TV series, "Cold Case," Thoms found time to appear in the hit comedy, "The Devil Wears Prada" (2006) starring Meryl Streep, and the thriller "Descent" (2006), which reunited her with her "Rent" co-star, Rosario Dawson. In 2007, Thoms drew raves for her scene-stealing turn as a macho daredevil driver in "Grindhouse" in the Quentin Tarantino directed feature, "Death Proof." Her expletive-laced rapid-fire delivery, coupled with her need for vengeance after Stuntman Mike (Kurt Russell) tries to kill her and her girlfriends during a high speed auto chase, showcased Thoms' comic timing as well as her bad-ass charm - something her day job as Det. Kat Miller never allowed her to exhibit to that extent. In fact, most moviegoers cited Thoms and real-life stuntwoman Zoe Bell as the "Death Proof" standouts, despite the disappointing box office take of the double feature.