Unlike many other actresses seen today Charlayne has not only used her talent for fame and fortune, but has used her success to tell the story of what it was like for many black Americans growing up in her era.
Charlaine “Charlayne” Woodard was born 29 December 1953 in Albany, New York State, USA.
Charlayne high school education is unknown, but she trained at the Goodman School of drama and is now serving as a lifetime member of the Actors Studio, she is also on the council for The Dramatist Guild: The Council of Actor’s Equity Association, as well as is on the Board of Directors at The Jolla Playhouse. The education she received and knowledge she gained over many yeas as an actress and playwright has also given her the honour of being a Fellow of the Ojai Playwrights Conference, The Marble House Project, The La Jolla Playhouse and she is now a guest artist at USC and CAL ARTS.
Career – Actress
Charlayne Woodard’s career began in “Ain’t Misbehavin” a Broadway play that she was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Featured Actress. She made her television debut in 1978 in the film “Cindy” in which she played the lead. In 1982 she made her film debut for a feature film in “Hard Feelings” a Canadian drama which was directed by Daryl Duke. In 1984 she filmed the comedy “Crackers”. Woodard appeared in a supporting role in another television film “God Bless the Child” in 1988, and the next year she played another supporting role as Lola in the comedy called “Twister”, a film directed by Michael Almereyda.
In 1991 Woodard featured in two films, the first was “He Said, She Said”, a romantic drama, and the second “One Goop Cop” a criminal drama, both of which received mixed reviews. Popular series “Days of Our Lives” welcomed her onboard for two years, before she went on to portray Janice Smith in “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” starring actor Will Smith. After a few appearances on television, Charlayne continued to act in movies such as “The Meteor Man” in 1993, “Babyfever” in 1994, ‘and “Eye for an Eye” in 1996.
While she worked to make her a name for herself on the big screen, she continued to take parts in smaller television films, such as “Buffalo Girls” in 1995, “Run for the Dream: The Gail Devers Story” in 1996, and “Touched by Evil” in 1997.
Between 1996 – 2000 she landed a recurring role in ‘Chicago Hope’ a medical drama series, in which she played Dr Paula Michelson. In 2000 she played a Mrs Price in ‘Unbreakable’, a superhero thriller directed by M Night Shyamalan. The movie was a huge success, bringing in almost $250 million on a budget of only $75 million. The film was the first in the “Unbreakable” series and racked in loads of positive reviews.
Between 2002 and 2011 she played a recurring roll in the TV series “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit”, between filming in 2006 – 2007 she was also cast in the “ER” medical drama.
In 2013 Charlayne was seen in “Things Never Said” a movie directed by Charles Murray. Some of her recent projects were “Pose” in 2018 and “Sneaky Pete” in 2019. In 2019 she was brought on by director M Night Shyamalan to reprise her role as Mrs Price in the third and final film in the “Unbreakable” series. Although reviews were mixed the film was again hugely successful, and on a budget of $20 million brought in another $250 million at the box office.
Career – Playwright
To date Woodard has performed in everyone of the plays that she has written. “Pretty Fire” is broken into three segments, and it tells the tale of Charlene’s struggles as an African-America family through three generations.
The series was critically acclaimed and was chosen by the Young Adult Library Services Association as a recommended Young Adult Audiobook, and won the award for a one-women tour de force from the NAACP (The National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People).
“Neat” was the second segment of the “Pretty Fire” series, in which Woodard recalls what life was like growing up in the ‘60s and ‘70s as a young black girl who moved all over the country, finally ending up in New York. Critics said ‘Neat’ was ‘engaging’ and was written with ‘engaging humour and sharp insight’.
The final of the “Pretty Fire” series is “In Real Life”, that finds Charlayne in New York City pursuing her dream to become a successful actress, tackling the challenging avenues of Broadway and the way it shaped her life. Although “The Night Watcher” was written and performed by Woodard, this was not a part of the “Pretty Fire” series. In the play Charlayne portrays a woman who arrives in Los Angeles in hope of only finding materialistic things, but comes to find the mother within her.
Woodward married intellectual property lawyer, Alan Michael Harris in 1991 and the couple have apparentlybeen happily married ever since.
Although the pair have no children of their own, Charlayne has 13 godchildren and 21 nieces and nephews all of whom call her “Auntie Charlayne”
As of March 2020, sources say that Woodard’s net worth is approximately $17 million.
Charlayne is an African American with brown eyes and black hair and is quite tall at 6ft3in (1.93m) but her weight remains unlisted.