Jean Smart

Jean Smart Biography

Jean E. Smart (born September 13, 1951) is an American film, television, and stage actress. She is known for her comedic roles, one of the best known being her role as Charlene Frazier Stillfield on the CBS sitcom Designing Women. She later gained critical acclaim for dramatic work, with her portrayal of Martha Logan on 24. Smart recently appeared as Regina Newly on the ABC sitcom Samantha Who? from 2007 to 2009, which garnered the actress an Emmy Award in 2008. She played Governor Pat Jameson during the first season of the CBS-TV remake of Hawaii Five-0.

Early life

Smart was born in Seattle, Washington, the daughter of Kay and Douglas Smart, a teacher. 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. Smart is a member of the University of Washington chapter of the Alpha Delta Pi sorority.


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.). She moved to NYC in the mid 1970s with college friend and fellow actress, Elizabeth Wingate (Lavery), and began working in Off-Broadway productions almost immediately. Before long 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. Also in 1981, Smart was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for her performance in the Off-Broadway play Last Summer at Bluefish Cove.

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. 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. 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). In 1995 Smart landed her own series, High Society, which co-starred Mary McDonnell, which lasted only 13 episodes. 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.

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, Kate Sanderson in Bringing Down The House, 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.

From 2002 to 2007 she voiced Dr. Ann Possible in Kim Possible, and in 2004, she was cast in a lead role in the short-lived Center of the Universe, her fourth CBS sitcom, this one co-starring John Goodman and Olympia Dukakis.

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. 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?, 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.

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.

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) 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 Unknown
1979 Before and After Unknown TV movie
1983 Reggie Joan Reynolds 6 episodes
1983 Teachers Only Shari 13 episodes
1984 Single Bars, Single Women Virge TV movie
1984 Maximum Security Dr. Allison Brody 3 episodes
1984 Piaf Marlene Dietrich TV movie
1984 Flashpoint Doris
1984 Protocol Ella
1986 Fire with Fire Sister Marie
1986 A Fight for Jenny Valerie Thomas TV movie
1986-1991 Designing Women Charlene Olivia Frazier Stillfield 120 episodes
1987 Place at the Table Susan Singer TV movie
1987 Project X Dr. Criswell
1991 A Seduction in Travis County Karen TV movie
1991 Locked Up: A Mother's Rage Cathy TV Movie
1992 Baby Talk Narrator
1992 Mistress Patricia
1992 Overkill: The Aileen Wuornos Story Aileen Wuornos TV movie
1992 Just My Imagination Pally Thompson TV movie
1993 Homeward Bound:
The Incredible Journey
1993 Batman: The Animated Series Helen Ventrix Episode: "See No Evil"
1994 The Yarn Princess Margaret Thomas TV movie
1994 The Yearling Ora Baxter
1994 Scarlett Sally Brewton 3 episodes
1995 The Brady Bunch Movie Dena Dittmeyer
1995 A Stranger in Town Rose TV movie
1995-1996 High Society Elinore 'Ellie' Walker 13 episodes
1996 Edie and Pen Wendy the Waitress
1997 Undue Influence Dana Colby TV movie
1998 Style & Substance Chelsea Stevens 13 episodes
1998 The Odd Couple II Holly
1998 A Change of Heart Elaine Mitchell TV movie
1999 Guinevere Deborah Sloane Nominated"?Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Female
2000 Forever Fabulous Loreli Daly
2000 Snow Day Laura Brandston
2000 Disney's The Kid Deidre Lefever
2000 The Man Who Came to Dinner Lorraine Sheldon TV movie
2000 Static Shock Maggie Foley Episode: "Sons of the Fathers"
2000-2004 The District Detective Sherry Regan 14 episodes
Nominated"?Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series
2001 The Oblongs Pickles Oblong 8 episodes
2002-2007 Kim Possible Dr. Ann Possible 40 episodes
2000-2001 Frasier Lana Gardener 7 episodes
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series (2000, 2001)
Nominated"?American Comedy Award for Funniest Female Guest Appearance in a Series
2002 Sweet Home Alabama Stella Kay Perry
2002-2003 In-Laws Marlene Pellet 15 episodes
2003 Bringing Down the House Kate Sanderson
2004 Audrey's Rain Audrey Walker TV movie
2003 Killer Instinct: From the Files
of Agent Candice DeLong
Candice DeLong TV movie
2004 Garden State Carol
2004 I Heart Huckabees Mrs. Hooten
2004 Balto III: Wings of Change Stella
2004-2005 Center of the Universe Kate Barnett 12 episodes
2004 A Very Married Christmas Ellen Griffin TV movie
2006 Whisper of the Heart Asako Tsukishima
2006-2007 24 Martha Logan 24 episodes
Nominated"?Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series
Nominated"?Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Nominated"?Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress " Series, Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated"?Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
2007 Tales from Earthsea Unknown
2007 Lucky You Michelle Carson
2007-2009 Samantha Who? Regina Newly 35 episodes
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
2008 American Dad! Miriam Bullock Episode: "One Little Word"
2008 Hero Wanted Melanie McQueen
2010 Life As We Know It Holly's mother Uncredited
2010 Youth in Revolt Estelle Twisp
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 TV movie
2011-2012 Harry's Law Roseanna Remmick 7 episodes
Nominated"?Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series
2013 Call Me Crazy: A Five Film Claire TV movie
2013 Hot in Cleveland Bess (Victoria's Sister) Guest Star

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