Jean Smart

Jean Smart

At the HBO Post-Emmys Party, Pacific Design Center, September 2008
Born Jean Elizabeth Smart
(1951-09-13) September 13, 1951
Seattle, Washington, U.S.
Alma mater University of Washington
Occupation Actress
Years active 1979–present
Spouse(s) Richard Gilliland (1987-present; 2 children)

Jean Elizabeth Smart (born September 13, 1951) is an American film, television and stage actress. She starred from 1986 to 1991 as Charlene Frazier Stillfield on the CBS sitcom Designing Women. She won two Emmy Awards for her role as Lana Gardener on the NBC sitcom Frasier (2000–01), and a third Emmy in 2008 for her role as Regina Newley on the ABC sitcom Samantha Who? (2007–09). She was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play for the 2000 Broadway revival of The Man Who Came to Dinner.

Smart began her career in regional theatre in Seattle and played Lady Macbeth at the Pittsburgh theatre in 1980. She made her Broadway debut in the 1981 production of Piaf, playing Marlene Dietrich. In 1992, she played the title role in the TV movie Overkill: The Aileen Wuornos Story. Her film appearances include The Brady Bunch Movie (1995), Guinevere (1999), The Odd Couple II (1998), Sweet Home Alabama (2002) and Bringing Down the House (2003). Her other television roles include The District (2000–04), 24 (2006–07), Harry's Law (2011–12) and Fargo (2015).

Early life

Smart was born in Seattle, Washington, the daughter of Kay and Douglas Smart,[1][2] a teacher.[3] The second of four children, she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was thirteen.

She is a 1969 graduate of Ballard High School, located in Seattle; it was there that she gained an interest in acting in the drama program. She graduated from the University of Washington Professional Actors Training Program with a BFA.[1] Smart is a member of the University of Washington chapter of the Alpha Delta Pi sorority.[4]


After graduating from college, Smart began her career appearing in regional theater while still living in Seattle (Seattle Repertory Theater, Ashland (Oregon) Shakespeare festival, etc.).[1] She moved to New York City in the mid 1970s with college friend and fellow actress, Elizabeth Wingate (Lavery), and began working in Off-Broadway and professional regional productions almost immediately. In 1980 she appeared as Lady Macbeth at the Pittsburgh Public Theater opposite Tom Atkins as Macbeth and Keith Fowler as Macduff. She made her Broadway debut portraying Marlene Dietrich in the 1981 play Piaf, a role which she would later reprise for the 1984 television version.[1] Also in 1981, Smart was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for her performance in the Off-Broadway play Last Summer at Bluefish Cove.[1]

Smart after her Primetime Emmy Award win on September 21, 2008.

She began working in television in several smaller to mid-size guest parts in the late 1970s and early 1980s, appearing in such shows as The Facts of Life, Alice, and Remington Steele among several others.[1] Her big break came when she was cast in the starring role of Charlene Frazier Stillfield on the comedy series Designing Women from 1986 to 1991.[1] After leaving Designing Women, her work mostly concentrated within made-for-TV movies and smaller- to mid-size roles in films. Notably she portrayed serial killer, Aileen Wuornos, in the TV movie, Overkill: The Aileen Wuornos Story (1992), Ory Baxter in a television version of The Yearling (1994), Sally Brewton in the television miniseries Scarlett (1995), and Mrs. Dittmeyer in The Brady Bunch Movie (1995).[5] In 1995 Smart landed her own series, High Society, which co-starred Mary McDonnell, which lasted for 13 episodes.[1] In 1998, Smart co-starred with Nancy McKeon in another short-lived CBS sitcom, Style & Substance. Other roles during the 1990s included Dana Colby in Steve Martini's Undue Influence (1998), Holly in Neil Simon's The Odd Couple II (1998), and Deborah Sloane in Guinevere (1999) among others.[1]

In 2000, Smart's career took a turn for the better when she landed the role of Lorna Lynley (later renamed Lana Gardner) on the hit show Frasier. She went on to win two Emmy Awards for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series. In 2001 she was nominated for a Tony Award for her performance in The Man Who Came to Dinner. Soon after, she landed roles in several high-profile films including Stella Kay Perry in the film Sweet Home Alabama,[6] Kate Sanderson in Bringing Down The House,[7] and Carol in Garden State. She also provided the voice of the alcoholic chain-smoking, Pickles Oblong, on The Oblongs, and played the role of Supervisor of Detectives and ex-wife to Chief Jack Mannion of the Metropolitan Police Department on The District.[8]

From 2002 to 2007 she voiced Dr. Ann Possible in Kim Possible,[9] and in 2004, she was cast in a lead role in the short-lived Center of the Universe.[10]

In January 2006, Smart joined the cast of 24, playing the mentally unstable First Lady of the United States, Martha Logan, to actor Gregory Itzin's President Charles Logan.[11] She received back-to-back Emmy nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series and Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama for the role in 2006 and 2007.

Smart won the 2008 Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for portraying Samantha's overbearing mother in the sitcom Samantha Who?,[12] which she played from 2007 to 2009. She later was cast as Hawaii Governor Pat Jameson during the first season of the CBS-TV remake of Hawaii Five-0.[13] In 2012, Smart was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series for her role in Harry's Law.[14]

In 2015, Smart starred in the second season of the FX television series, Fargo. She portrayed Floyd Gerhardt, whose husband Fargo's most prominent organized crime syndicate, and who is forced to take over after her husband suffers a debilitating stroke. She later finds herself having to lead the Gerhardt dynasty and deal with her three living sons, each of whom is vying to replace their father. For her performance, Smart won the Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Movie/Miniseries, and is currently nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie.

In 2016, Smart had a role in the action thriller The Accountant, alongside Ben Affleck, Anna Kendrick, J. K. Simmons, and Jon Bernthal. The film was released on October 14.

Personal life

Smart is married to actor Richard Gilliland, whom she met while working on the set of Designing Women (he played J.D. Shackelford, the boyfriend of Annie Potts' character, Mary Jo Shively). They have a son, Connor Douglas (born 1989)[1] and a daughter, Bonnie Kathleen (adopted as a baby from China in May 2009). Gilliland played Captain Stan Cotter on 24 while Smart later played First Lady Martha Logan on the same series.



Year Title Role Notes
1979 Gangsters N/A
1984 Flashpoint Doris
1984 Protocol Ella
1986 Fire with Fire Sister Marie
1987 Project X Dr. Criswell
1992 Baby Talk Narrator
1992 Mistress Patricia
1993 Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey Kate
1994 The Yearling Ora Baxter
1995 The Brady Bunch Movie Dena Dittmeyer
1996 Edie and Pen Wendy the Waitress
1998 The Odd Couple II Holly
1999 Guinevere Deborah Sloane
2000 Forever Fabulous Loreli Daly
2000 Snow Day Laura Brandston
2000 Disney's The Kid Deidre Lefever
2002 Sweet Home Alabama Stella Kay Perry
2003 Bringing Down the House Kate Sanderson
2004 Garden State Carol
2004 I Heart Huckabees Mrs. Hooten
2004 Balto III: Wings of Change Stella
2006 Whisper of the Heart Asako Tsukishima Voice role
2007 Tales from Earthsea N/A
2007 Lucky You Michelle Carson
2008 Hero Wanted Melanie McQueen
2010 Life As We Know It Holly's mother Uncredited
2010 Youth in Revolt Estelle Twisp
2012 Hope Springs Eileen
2016 The Accountant Rita Blackburn


Year Title Role Notes
1979 Before and After N/A Television movie
1983 Reggie Joan Reynolds 6 episodes
1983 Teachers Only Shari 13 episodes
1984 Single Bars, Single Women Virge Television movie
1984 Piaf Marlene Dietrich Television movie
1984 Maximum Security Dr. Allison Brody 3 episodes
1986 A Fight for Jenny Valerie Thomas Television movie
1986–1991 Designing Women Charlene Olivia Frazier Stillfield 119 episodes
1987 Place at the Table Susan Singer Television movie
1991 A Seduction in Travis County Karen Television movie
1991 Locked Up: A Mother's Rage Cathy Television movie
1992 Overkill: The Aileen Wuornos Story Aileen Wuornos Television movie
1992 Just My Imagination Pally Thompson Television movie
1993 Batman: The Animated Series Helen Ventrix Episode: "See No Evil"
1994 Scarlett Sally Brewton 3 episodes
1994 The Yarn Princess Margaret Thomas Television movie
1995 A Stranger in Town Rose Television movie
1995–1996 High Society Elinore 'Ellie' Walker 13 episodes
1997 Hey Arnold! Phoebe's mother Episode: "Freeze Frame/Phoebe Cheats"
1997 Undue Influence Dana Colby Television movie
1998 Style & Substance Chelsea Stevens 13 episodes
1998 A Change of Heart Elaine Mitchell Television movie
2000 Static Shock Maggie Foley Episode: "Sons of the Fathers"
2000 The Man Who Came to Dinner Lorraine Sheldon Television movie
2000–2004 The District Detective Sherry Regan 14 episodes
2001 The Oblongs Pickles Oblong 8 episodes
2002–2007 Kim Possible Dr. Ann Possible 40 episodes
2000–2001 Frasier Lana Gardener 7 episodes
2002–2003 In-Laws Marlene Pellet 15 episodes
2004–2005 Center of the Universe Kate Barnett 12 episodes
2004 Hey Arnold! Reba Heyerdahl Episode: "Phoebe's Little Problem/Grandpa's Packard"
2004 Audrey's Rain Audrey Walker Television movie
2004 Killer Instinct: From the Files of Agent Candice DeLong Candice DeLong Television movie
2004 A Very Married Christmas Ellen Griffin Television movie
2006–2007 24 Martha Logan 24 episodes
2007–2009 Samantha Who? Regina Newly 35 episodes
2008 American Dad! Miriam Bullock Episode: "One Little Word"
2010–2011 Hawaii Five-0 Governor Pat Jameson 4 episodes
2010 Psych Gillian Tucker Episode: "Chivalry Is Not Dead...But Someone Is"
2011 $h*! My Dad Says Rosemary Penworth 4 episodes
2011 A Royal Romance The Duchess of Cornwall Television movie
2011–2012 Harry's Law Roseanna Remmick 7 episodes
2013 Hot in Cleveland Bess Episode: "Conoga Falls"
2013 Call Me Crazy: A Five Film Claire Television movie
2014 Halt and Catch Fire LouLu Lutherford Episode: "High Plains Hardware"
2014 Sirens Johnny's mother 2 episodes
2014 Getting On Arlene Willy-Weller 2 episodes
2015 Fargo Floyd Gerhardt 10 episodes
2017 Legion Melanie Lead role


Year Title Role Notes
1980–1981 Last Summer at Bluefish Cove Lil
1981 Piaf Marlene
1992 The End of the Day Various
1996 Fit to Be Tied Nessa
2000 The Man Who Came to Dinner Lorraine Sheldon

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Nominated work Result Refs
1981 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play
Last Summer at Bluefish Cove
Nominated [15]
1999 Independent Spirit Award Best Supporting Female
2000 Tony Award Best Actress in a Play
The Man Who Came to Dinner
Nominated [16]
Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series
Won [17]
2001 Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series Won [18]
Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series
The District
American Comedy Award Funniest Female Guest Appearance in a TV Series
2006 Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Satellite Award Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series Nominated
2007 Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series Nominated
2008 Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Samantha Who?
Won [19]
2012 Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series
Harry's Law
2016 Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or a Movie
Critics' Choice Television Award Best Supporting Actress in a Movie/Miniseries Won [20]


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 "Jean Smart- Biography". Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
  2. "". Retrieved 2010-07-21.
  3. "Jean Smart profile". Retrieved 2010-07-21.
  4. "Jean Smart Biography". Retrieved 23 November 2012.
  5. "The Brady Bunch Movie". Retrieved 23 November 2012.
  6. "Sweet Home Alabama (2002)". Retrieved 23 November 2012.
  7. "Bringing Down the House". Retrieved 23 November 2012.
  8. Kuklenski, Valerie (February 26, 2001). "`The District' Gets Smart -- Jean Smart". Retrieved 23 November 2012.
  9. "DR. ANN POSSIBLE". Retrieved November 13, 2012.
  10. Fonseca, Nicholas (December 13, 2004). "Smart and Soul". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved November 23, 2012.
  11. Keck, William (January 9, 2006). "Fox's '24' makes Smart move". USA Today. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
  12. "JEAN SMART 'SAMANTHA WHO?'; Roles of the Season, Maybe a Lifetime". New York Times. June 8, 2008. Retrieved November 23, 2012.
  13. Collis, Clark (March 10, 2010). "Jean Smart says 'Aloha' to 'Hawaii Five-O' remake". EW. Retrieved 23 November 2012.
  14. "Primetime Emmy Awards". Retrieved November 16, 2012.
  15. "Jean Smart". Drama Desk Award database. Retrieved 19 November 2016.
  16. "Jean Smart awards". IBDB. Retrieved 19 November 2016.
  17. "52nd Emmy Award Nominees and Winners". Emmy Awards. Retrieved 19 November 2016.
  18. "53rd Emmy Awards Nominees and Winners". Emmy Awards. Retrieved 19 November 2016.
  19. "60th Emmy Awards Nominees and Winners". Emmy Awards. Retrieved 19 November 2016.
  20. "Critics Choice Awards 2016: Fargo and Mr Robot top TV winners list". Digital Spy. Retrieved 19 November 2016.
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