Jada Pinkett Smith

A short-statured actress with a forceful onscreen presence, Jada Pinkett Smith was born in Baltimore on Sept. 18, 1971. She studied drama and dance at the Baltimore School for the Arts and the North Carolina School of the Arts before moving to the West Coast to pursue a career in acting.

Pinkett Smith landed her breakout role in 1991, playing Lena James on two seasons of "A Different World," and made her film debut in 1993's Menace II Society. In 1997, she married actor-rapper Will Smith, adding his last name to her own.

Pinkett Smith has since filled her résumé with roles from just about every genre. She played a brainy love interest in The Nutty Professor (1996), an ill-fated murder victim in Scream 2 (1997), a futuristic rebel in two Matrix movies (both 2003) and a sassy hippopotamus in the Madagascar series. She also portrayed her husband's onscreen wife in Ali (2001).