Worked With:

Ellen Pompeo

Halle Berry

Kate Walsh

Mariska Hargitay

Amy Sedaris

Dominic Chianese

Sarah Jessica Parker

Robert Klein

Molly Price

Bill Cosby

Kris Kristofferson

Tom Hanks

Chandra Wilson Biography

Home > Actresses > W > Wilson, Chandra > Biography

Birth Name: Chandra Wilson
Born: 08/27/1969
Birth Place: Houston, Texas, USA

Born on Aug. 27, 1969, the Houston, TX native was cast in her first play at age five, attended Houston's High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, and earned a BFA from New York University's prestigious Tisch School for the Arts. Wilson then spent four years at the Lee Strasberg Theater Institute. Wilson racked up numerous New York stage credits: She won a Theater World Award for Outstanding Debut Performance for her role in "The Good Times are Killing Me." She also did "Paper Moon: The Musical" at the Papermill Playhouse, "Believing" for the Young Playwright's Festival and the Broadway production of "Our Town." The strong-jawed actress also did TV commercials for Blockbuster, Burger King, Scope and United Negro College Fund.

Her early TV work was sporadic, but Wilson started straight at the top with an appearance on "The Cosby Show" in 1989 and then TV movie sudser "Sexual Considerations" (CBS, 1991). She didn't resurface on the small screen again until three years later on "Law and Order" in 1992. In 1993, Wilson scored bit roles in two high-profile films: "Mad Dog and Glory" with Bill Murray, Uma Thurman and Robert De Niro and the historic "Philadelphia" with Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington and Antonio Banderas. Wilson had a similarly small role in writer-director John Sayles' "Lone Star" (1996) with Matthew McConaughey and Kris Kristofferson.

Eight years after her last TV appearance, Wilson was back on the small screen, this time on another Bill Cosby program "Cosby" in 2000. Wilson appeared on "Third Watch and "100 Centre Street" and had a regular role on one of Jason Alexander's disastrous post-Seinfeld projects, "Bob Patterson" (ABC, 2001). Wilson had a memorably amusing guest spot on the HBO hit "Sex and the City" in 2002, playing the street cop who allows Samantha to continue posting defamatory flyers about her hotel magnate boyfriend, whom she found with another woman. She also made an appearance on "Law and Order: Special Victims Unit" (NBC, 2002). In 2003, Wilson had an uncredited turn in "Head of State" with Chris Rock and Bernie Mac. A year later, she was spotted on another HBO monster hit, "The Sopranos" (1999-2007), and in 2005 she was back for a different one-shot role on "Law and Order: SVU."

The same year, Wilson became a viewer favorite in her role as Dr. Bailey on "Grey's Anatomy," the combative surgical intern supervisor who seems to have it in for heroine Dr. Meredith Grey until the truth is revealed: Grey's boyfriend, Dempsey's character is secretly married and Bailey was actually trying to protect her young intern, defending her charge through the fallout. The actress also made "Strangers with Candy" with Amy Sedaris and Allison Janney, the big screen adaptation of the Comedy Central series about an ex-con returning to high school. Meanwhile, Wilson earned an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series in 2006, an accomplishment she repeated for the next three years. She received a second Emmy nod in 2009 for her performance in the television drama based on a true story, "Accidental Friendship" (Hallmark Channel, 2008), in which she played a homeless woman whose life is transformed by her unlikely friendship with a LAPD officer (Kathleen Munroe). Meanwhile, Dr. Bailey crossed over to the "Grey's Anatomy" spinoff, "Private Practice" (ABC, 2007- ), where she made recurring appearances over the course of several seasons.