Anna Deavere Smith
Anna Deavere Smith is an actress and playwright who is said to have created a new form of theater. She has won numerous awards, among them two Obies, two Tony nominations, a Drama Desk Award, the Susan V. Berresford Fellowship from United States Artists, and a MacArthur fellowship. She was runner-up for the Pulitzer Prize for her play Fires in the Mirror. Her work, in a series called "On The Road: A Search for American Character," combines the journalistic technique of interviewing her subjects with the art of interpreting their words through performance. She currently plays hospital administrator Gloria Akalitus, a series regular, on Showtime's hit series Nurse Jackie. Additional screen credits include The West Wing, The American President, Rachel Getting Married, Life Support, and others. Honorary degrees include those from Juilliard, John Jay College of Criminal Justice at CUNY, Northwestern, Haverford, and Radcliffe. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She has also been the inaugural artist in residence at the Ford Foundation, MTV Networks, and the Aspen Institute. She is a professor at New York University. She is founding director of Anna Deavere Smith Works, Inc., a center that convenes artists whose work addresses the world's most pressing problems.