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The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture

WOODARD, ALFRE (1952– ).

Alfre Woodard is Oklahoma's best known and most successful African American actor and one of the state's most prolific performers. Born on November 8, 1952, in Tulsa and educated at Boston University's School of Fine Arts, Woodard has had roles in more than fifty films and has made numerous television appearances during her career. Her television career began in 1978 with an episode of The White Shadow and continued through 2001 with the film Baby of the Family. Woodard has made notable performances on television programs such as Hill Street Blues (1981), St. Elsewhere (1982), L.A. Law (1986), and Frasier (1993). She won Emmys for her roles in Hill Street Blues and the pilot episode of L.A. Law.

However, the bulk of her career has been in traditional Hollywood films and made-for-television movies. Her motion-picture career also began in 1978 with a role in Trial of the Moke, made for television. In the 1980s she appeared in films such as Extremities (1986) and Scrooged (1988). In the 1990s Woodard appeared in several high-profile films, including Crooklyn (1994), How to Make an American Quilt (1995), and Primal Fear (1996), but she also added narrator to her repertoire, providing voice-overs for Malcolm X: Make It Plain (1993) and People's Century (1998). Woodard was nominated for a Golden Globe award in 2000 for her performance in the made-for-television movie Holiday Heart and won a Golden Globe for Miss Evers' Boys (1998).

Hugh W. Foley, Jr.


David Thomson, A Biographical Dictionary of Film (3d ed.; New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1995).

Leonard Maltin, Spencer Green, and Luke Sader, Leonard Maltin's Movie Encyclopedia (New York: Penguin Books, 1994).

Larry O'Dell, comp., Oklahoma @ the Movies (Oklahoma City: Oklahoma Historical Society, 2012).

David Thomson, A Biographical Dictionary of Film (3d ed.; New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1995).


The following (as per The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition) is the preferred citation for articles:
Hugh W. Foley, Jr., “Woodard, Alfre,” The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, https://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry?entry=WO010.

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