Regina King

Regina King
Regina King by Gage Skidmore.jpg
King in 2018
Regina Rene King

(1971-01-15) January 15, 1971 (age 51)
Alma materUniversity of Southern California
  • Actor
  • director
Years active1985–present
Ian Alexander
(m. 1997; div. 2007)
RelativesReina King (sister)
AwardsFull list

Regina Rene King (born January 15, 1971)[1] is an American actress and director. She is the recipient of various accolades, including an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award, and four Primetime Emmy Awards, the most for an African-American performer.[2] In 2019, Time magazine named her one of the 100 most influential people in the world.[3]

King first gained attention for her role as Brenda Jenkins in the television series 227 (1985–1990). Notable roles followed in the films Friday (1995), the animated series The Boondocks (2005–2014), and the crime television series Southland (2009–2013). From 2015 to 2017, King starred in the ABC anthology series American Crime, for which she won two Primetime Emmy Awards, and in 2018, she starred in the Netflix miniseries Seven Seconds, for which she won her third Primetime Emmy Award. She starred in Barry Jenkins' film adaptation of the James Baldwin novel If Beale Street Could Talk (2018). For her performance, she won the Golden Globe Award and Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. King won her fourth Primetime Emmy Award for starring in the dystopian superhero limited series Watchmen (2019).

King has also played supporting roles in the films Boyz n the Hood (1991), Poetic Justice (1993), Ray (2004), A Cinderella Story (2004), as well as in the comedies Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde (2003), and Miss Congeniality 2: Armed & Fabulous (2005). Her other television roles include the drama series The Leftovers (2015–2017) and the sitcom The Big Bang Theory (2013–2019).

King has directed episodes for several television shows, including Scandal in 2015 and 2016 and This Is Us in 2017. She has also directed the music video for the 2010 song "Finding My Way Back" by Jaheim. Her feature film directorial debut came with the drama One Night in Miami... (2020), for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Director and a Directors Guild of America Award for First Time Feature Film. She became the second black woman to be nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Director.

Early life and education

King was born in Cincinnati, Ohio,[4] and grew up in View Park–Windsor Hills, California. She is the eldest daughter of Gloria (Cain), a special education teacher, and Thomas King, an electrician.[5] King's parents divorced in 1979.[6] King's younger sister is former actress Reina King, who appeared on What's Happening Now!!.

King attended Westchester High School, graduating in 1988.[7] She later studied Communications at the University of Southern California, dropping out after two years when she realized her passion for acting.[8]


1985–2004: Beginnings as an actress and breakthrough with Ray

King began her acting career in 1985, playing the role of Brenda Jenkins on the television series 227,[9] a role she played until the show ended in 1990. She went on to appear in the John Singleton films Boyz n the Hood, Poetic Justice, and Higher Learning.[10] In 1995, she was featured in the hit comedy film Friday.[10] The next year, she starred in the Martin Lawrence dark comedy-romance A Thin Line Between Love and Hate as Mia,[11] and she gained fame starring in blockbuster romantic comedy film Jerry Maguire as Marcee Tidwell.[10][12]

In 1998, she was cast in Tony Scott's film Enemy of the State, receiving her first nomination at the NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture.[13] In the same year, King took part in the films How Stella Got Her Groove Back,[14] Mighty Joe Young,[15] and Love and Action in Chicago.[16] In 2001, King played Sontee Jenkins in Chris and Paul Weitz's Down to Earth, receiving praise from critics for her performance.[17] The following year, she played the main role in television series Leap of Faith.[18]

After taking part in teen romantic comedy film A Cinderella Story,[19] King was cast as Margie Hendrix in the Academy Awards nominated biographical film Ray, about Ray Charles.[20] For her performance in Ray, King won the Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress, the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress and was part of a cast nomination from the Screen Actors Guild Awards.[21][22]

2005–2017: Acting, American Crime and first works as a director

Regina King at the Independent Spirit Awards in 2010

In 2005, King was cast in Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous[23] and began voicing the characters Huey and Riley Freeman for the animated series The Boondocks.[24] In 2007, King played the main role of Sandra Palmer in season six of television series 24 and acted in films Year of the Dog and This Christmas.[25] From 2009 to 2013, King played Detective Lydia Adams in TNT police drama Southland,[26] receiving multiple Critics' Choice Television Award nominations,[27][28] and winning two NAACP Image Awards.[29][30]

After taking part in Rick Famuyiwa's romantic comedy film Our Family Wedding, King appeared as guest judge in RuPaul's Drag Race.[31] In 2013, King played Janine Davis in the television series The Big Bang Theory.[32] In 2014, she was cast in two television series, The Strain and Shameless.[33]

In 2015, King was a cast member on ABC's John Ridley-penned ensemble drama American Crime, playing three roles, including a devout member of the Nation of Islam and the sister of a drug addict accused of murder.[34] In 2015 and 2016, King won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or a Movie for her roles.[35][34] Also in 2015, King starred in The Leftovers, which earned her a Peabody Award.[36]

From 2015 to 2017, King began to pursue work as a director and writer,[37] initially directing six episodes of the drama series Being Mary Jane.[38] In 2016, she directed two episodes of Scandal, and single episodes of The Catch, Animal Kingdom, This Is Us and Shameless.[39][40]

2018–present: If Beale Street Could Talk and success directing with One Night in Miami

In 2018, she played the role of the mother of a murdered black teenager in the Netflix original series Seven Seconds, winning her third Primetime Emmy Award.[41] Her performance in the 2018 film If Beale Street Could Talk, directed by Barry Jenkins, garnered critical acclaim and earned her the Golden Globe Award and Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.[42][43]

King starred in the 2019 series Watchmen, for which she won her fourth Primetime Emmy Award. In July 2019, it was announced King would direct One Night in Miami... based upon the play of the same name.[44][45] The film had its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival on September 7, 2020, the first film directed by an African-American woman to be selected in the festival's history.[46] King received numerous awards and nominations at major critics' prizes, earning a Best Director nomination at the Golden Globe Awards[43] and being recognized with the Robert Altman Award at the Independent Spirit Awards.[47]

In May 2021, it was announced that King would direct race-themed monster movie Bitter Root for Legendary Entertainment.[48]

Personal life

King was married to Ian Alexander Sr. from 1997 to 2007. Their son, Ian Alexander Jr., a DJ by profession, was born in 1996.[49] He died by suicide on January 21, 2022, at age 26.[50][51]



Year Title Role Notes
1991 Boyz n the Hood Shalika
1993 Poetic Justice Iesha
1995 Higher Learning Monet
1995 Friday Dana Jones
1996 A Thin Line Between Love and Hate Mia Williams
1996 Jerry Maguire Marcee Tidwell
1998 Rituals N/A Short film
1998 How Stella Got Her Groove Back Vanessa
1998 Enemy of the State Carla Dean
1998 Mighty Joe Young Cecily Banks
1999 Love and Action in Chicago Lois Newton
2001 Down to Earth Sontee Jenkins
2002 Truth Be Told Rayne
2003 Daddy Day Care Kim Hinton
2003 Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde Grace Rossiter
2004 A Cinderella Story Rhonda
2004 Ray Margie Hendrix
2005 Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous Sam Fuller
2006 The Ant Bully Kreela Voice
2007 Year of the Dog Layla
2007 This Christmas Lisa Whitfield-Moore
2010 Our Family Wedding Angela
2013 Let the Church Say Amen Director
2014 Planes: Fire & Rescue Dynamite Voice
2018 If Beale Street Could Talk Sharon Rivers Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress[52]
2021 Flag Day[53] U.S. Marshall Blake
2021 The Harder They Fall Trudy Smith


Year Title Role Notes
1985–1990 227 Brenda Jenkins Main role (seasons 1–5)
1994 Northern Exposure Mother Nature Episode: "Baby Blues"
1994 New York Undercover Marah Episode: "Tasha"
1995 Living Single Zina Episode: "The Shake-Up"
1999 Where the Truth Lies Lillian Rose-Martin Television film
2000 If These Walls Could Talk 2 Allie Television film
2002 Leap of Faith Cynthia Main role (season 1)
2002 Damaged Care Cheryl Griffith Television film
2005–2014 The Boondocks Huey Freeman / Riley Freeman Voice; Main role (seasons 1–4)
2006 Women in Law N/A Pilot
2007 24 Sandra Palmer Main role (season 6)
2008 Living Proof Ellie Jackson Television film
2009–2013 Southland Detective Lydia Adams Main role (seasons 1–5)
2012 RuPaul's Drag Race Herself (guest judge) Episode: "Dragazines"
2013–2019 The Big Bang Theory Janine Davis 6 episodes
2014 The Strain Ruby Wain 3 episodes
2014 Shameless Gail Johnson 4 episodes
2014 The Gabby Douglas Story Natalie Hawkins Television film
2015–2017 American Crime Aliyah Shadeed Recurring role (season 1)
Terri LaCroix Main role (season 2)
Kimara Walters Main role (season 3)
2015, 2017 The Leftovers Erika Murphy Main role (season 2); guest role (season 3)
2018 Seven Seconds Latrice Butler Main role
2019 Watchmen Angela Abar / Sister Night Main role
2021 Saturday Night Live Herself (host) Episode: "Regina King/Nathaniel Rateliff"

As director

Year Title Notes
2013 Southland Episode: "Off Duty"
2015 Being Mary Jane 6 episodes
2015–2016 Scandal 2 episodes
2016 The Catch Episode: "The Princess and the I.P."
2016 Animal Kingdom Episode: "Child Care"
2016 Greenleaf Episode: "Veni, Vidi, Vici"
2016 Pitch Episode: "The Break"
2017 This Is Us Episode: "The 20s"[54]
2017 Shameless Episode: "Fuck Paying It Forward"[55]
2018 The Good Doctor Episode: "Heartfelt"
2018 Insecure Episode: "Ghost-Like"
2020 One Night in Miami... Feature film;[56] also executive producer
TBA A Man in Full 3 episodes; also executive producer[57]

As music video director

Year Song Artist
2010 "Finding My Way Back" Jaheim
2011 "Not My Daddy" Kelly Price featuring Stokley



  1. ^ "Regina King Biography at". TV Guide. Archived from the original on September 10, 2015. Retrieved March 21, 2013.
  2. ^ Brown, Tracy (September 21, 2020). "Regina King ties record for most acting Emmys won by a Black performer". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 21, 2020.
  3. ^ Davis, Viola (April 17, 2019). "Regina King". Time. Retrieved April 17, 2019.
  4. ^ Deletter, Emily (December 7, 2021). "New movie, 'Shirley,' filming in Cincinnati and starring Regina King". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Retrieved December 10, 2021.
  5. ^ Stated on Who Do You Think You Are?, December 17, 2018
  6. ^ "Regina King profile at Yahoo! Movies". Retrieved November 2, 2018.
  7. ^ 1988 Westchester High School Yearbook (Los Angeles, California)
  8. ^ "The scene stealer". Vulture. Retrieved July 31, 2019.
  9. ^ "It's Evening in America". Vanity Fair. May 2012. p. 155.
  10. ^ a b c "Regina King's Most Memorable Roles". Retrieved October 24, 2017.
  11. ^ "A Thin Line Between Love and Hate". Variety. March 31, 1996. Retrieved July 31, 2019.
  12. ^ Morris, Wesley (March 6, 2016). "Regina King Has So Many Stories to Tell". The New York Times. Retrieved July 31, 2019.
  13. ^ "Enemy of the State". November 20, 1998. Retrieved July 31, 2019.
  14. ^ "How Stella Got Her Groove Back (1998)" – via
  15. ^ "Perry Moore, 'Narnia' series executive producer, dies at 39; Don Peterman, Oscar-nominated cinematographer, dies at 79; Nancy Carr, network TV publicist, dies at 50". Los Angeles Times. February 22, 2011. Retrieved February 23, 2011.
  16. ^ "Love-and-Action-in-Chicago - Trailer - Cast - Showtimes -". August 25, 2011. Archived from the original on August 25, 2011. Retrieved January 4, 2022.
  17. ^ "23rd Annual NAACP Image Awards: Los Angeles: February 23, 2002 | Calendar". Retrieved March 3, 2021.
  18. ^ Gallo, Phil (February 25, 2002). "Leap of Faith". Variety. Retrieved January 4, 2022.
  19. ^ Russo, Gianluca (August 11, 2019). "It's Time For a More Inclusive "Cinderella Story". Teen Vogue. Condé Nast. Retrieved September 14, 2019. What began in 2004 as a modern retelling of the iconic fairy tale... quickly spiraled into a cult classic yielding a decade and a half of follow-up films with different actors and plots...
  20. ^ "Ray". Metacritic. Retrieved May 4, 2020.
  21. ^ "NAACP Hollywood Bureau". NAACP Image Awards. Retrieved March 3, 2021.
  22. ^ "Satellite Awards (2005)". IMDb. Retrieved February 25, 2021.
  23. ^ "Review: Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous". Slant magazine. Retrieved July 31, 2019.
  24. ^ Eldredge, Richard L. (February 13, 2013). "Regina King shares secrets from Southland, The Boondocks". Atlanta Magazine. Retrieved January 4, 2022.
  25. ^ This Christmas, retrieved January 4, 2022
  26. ^ "Regina King is the queen of 'Southland'". Newsday. February 25, 2010. Retrieved July 31, 2019.
  27. ^ "Critics' Choice TV Awards Noms: 'Community' At Top Of List". Archived from the original on September 27, 2013. Retrieved February 25, 2021.
  28. ^ "Big Bang, Horror Story, Parks & Rec, Good Wife, The Americans Lead Critics Choice Nominations". TVLine. May 22, 2013. Retrieved February 25, 2021.
  29. ^ Frankel, Daniel (March 6, 2011). "The 42nd NAACP Image Awards: Complete Winners List". TheWrap. Retrieved March 3, 2021.
  30. ^ "NAACP Image Award Winners Include 'The Help,' Stars Octavia Spencer, Viola Davis". The Hollywood Reporter. February 17, 2012. Retrieved March 3, 2021.
  31. ^ "RuPaul's Drag Race S4 Ep7 – Regina King Slays". Cycling. February 18, 2018. Retrieved January 4, 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  32. ^ "The Big Bang Theory Regina King". Retrieved January 4, 2022.
  33. ^ Drury, Sharareh (October 28, 2021). "Regina King's Career to Be Cemented at Imprinting Ceremony". Variety. Retrieved January 4, 2022.
  34. ^ a b "Aliyah Shadeed played by Regina King". ABC. Retrieved July 31, 2019.
  35. ^ McNary, Dave (October 25, 2017). "Film News Roundup: Regina King Joins Barry Jenkins' 'If Beale Street Could Talk'". Variety. Retrieved November 10, 2017.
  36. ^ Cruickshank, Ruth (February 29, 2020), "Conclusion", Leftovers, Liverpool University Press, pp. 199–200, doi:10.3828/liverpool/9781789620672.003.0007, ISBN 978-1-78962-067-2, S2CID 243585557, retrieved February 25, 2021
  37. ^ Birnbaum, Debra (March 2, 2016). "Regina King Talks Embarking on Her Second Career: Directing". Variety. Retrieved January 4, 2022.
  38. ^ March 25, Nina Terrero Updated; EDT, 2015 at 01:51 PM. "Regina King talks directing 'Being Mary Jane' and 'Scandal'". Retrieved January 4, 2022.
  39. ^ "Regina King to Direct 'This Is Us' Episode | Entertainment Tonight". Retrieved January 4, 2022.
  40. ^ July 12, Derek Lawrence Updated; EDT, 2016 at 12:00 PM. "Regina King: American Crime, Leftovers actress on directing Animal Kingdom". Retrieved January 4, 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  41. ^ Petski, Denise (September 17, 2018). "Regina King Lands Her Third Emmy; Portrays Mom Whose Son Is Killed By Police". Deadline. Retrieved July 31, 2019.
  42. ^ "Regina King wins supporting actress Oscar for 'Beale Street'". Reuters. February 24, 2019. Retrieved July 31, 2019.
  43. ^ a b "Golden GLobe Awards: Regina King". Retrieved January 4, 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  44. ^ Day-Ramos, Dino (July 9, 2019). "Regina King To Direct Adaptation Of One Night In Miami". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 7, 2020.
  45. ^ Fleming Jr (January 7, 2020). "Regina King Directing Debut One Night In Miami Underway With Kingsley Ben-Adir, Eli Goree, Aldis Hodge & Leslie Odom Jr As '60s Icons". Mike. Retrieved January 7, 2020.
  46. ^ Bakare, Lanre (September 7, 2020). "Regina King makes history at Venice film festival with One Night in Miami". The Guardian. Venice. Retrieved September 7, 2020.
  47. ^ Lewis, Hilary (January 26, 2021). "Film Independent Spirit Awards: 'Never Rarely Sometimes Always', 'Minari', 'Ma Rainey's Black Bottom', 'Nomadland' Top Nominations". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 26, 2021.
  48. ^ Couch, Aaron; Kit, Borys (May 11, 2021). "Regina King to Direct Race-Themed Monster Movie Bitter Root for Legendary". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 12, 2021.
  49. ^ Tillet, Salamishah (January 15, 2021). "Regina King: Speaking Truth to Power Through Her Art". The New York Times. Archived from the original on December 28, 2021.
  50. ^ Thomas, Megan; Alonso, Melissa (January 23, 2022). "Regina King mourns the death of her son". CNN. Retrieved January 23, 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  51. ^ Campione, Katie (January 22, 2022). "Regina King's Son Ian Alexander Jr. Dies by Suicide: He 'Cared So Deeply'". People. Archived from the original on January 22, 2022. Retrieved January 22, 2022.
  52. ^ "Regina King wins Oscar for best supporting actress for If Beale Street Could Talk". the Guardian. February 25, 2019. Retrieved May 19, 2021.
  53. ^ Hammond, Pete (July 10, 2021). "Flag Day Cannes Review: Sean Penn Directs And Stars In Powerful True Family Drama That Is Star-Making Showcase For Daughter Dylan Penn". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 10, 2021.
  54. ^ Williams, Kendall (October 31, 2017). "This Is Us Season 2 Episode 6 Review: The 20s". Den of Geek. Retrieved November 4, 2019.
  55. ^ Hampton, Shanola (September 18, 2018). ""The queen has arrived to direct episode 4!!!! Yaaaaassss! #ReginaKing #Shameless"". Instagram. Archived from the original on December 23, 2021.
  56. ^ Ramos, Dino (July 9, 2019). "Regina King To Direct Adaptation Of One Night In Miami". Deadline. Retrieved September 15, 2019.
  57. ^ Otterson, Joe (November 4, 2021). "Regina King, David E. Kelley Team for Netflix Limited Series A Man in Full' (Exclusive)". Variety. Retrieved November 25, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)

External links

Awards and achievements
BET Award
Preceded by Best Actress
for Ray
Succeeded by
NAACP Image Award
Preceded by Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture
for Ray
Succeeded by
Satellite Award
Preceded by Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Comedy or Musical
for Ray
Succeeded by


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