Angela Bassett

A New York City native (born Aug. 16, 1958), Angela Bassett studied drama at Yale and acted in several TV movies. Her first film role was a small part in F/X (1986), but her big break came as Cuba Gooding's mother in Boyz N the Hood (1991).

Bassett took on a string of roles playing real-life famous women, including Jackson family matriarch Katherine in the TV movie The Jacksons: An American Dream (1992), Betty Shabazz in Malcolm X (1992) and Tina Turner in What's Love Got to Do with It (1993), for which Bassett received a Best Actress Oscar nomination. She also played Rosa Parks in the 2002 television movie The Rosa Parks Story.

Bassett has proved she can deftly adapt to science fiction films (1995's Strange Days and 1997's Contact), dramas (1995's Waiting to Exhale and 1998's How Stella Got Her Groove Back), comedies (2004's Mr. 3000) and action films (2005's Mr. and Mrs. Smith).