Lorraine Toussaint was born in Trinidad in 1960. When she was ten she moved to be with her mother in Brooklyn. She graduated from the Manhattan School of Performing Arts in 1978 and then attended Juilliard where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree. On graduation day she landed her first paying role as Lady Macbeth with “Shakespeare & Company”. Lorraine was a Shakespearean actress for twelve years in New York before moving to Los Angeles for television and film roles.
Toussaint made her television debut in 1983 and her film debut in 1989 as the female lead opposite Burt Reynolds in Breaking In. The film received positive reviews but did not do well at the box office.
Since her debut Lorraine has worked steadily in television and film appearing in over 70 television productions as a guest star or in a recurring role, and in twenty films. She won critical acclaim as an actor and writer alongside Annie Potts, for one of her biggest leading roles in Any Day Now, Lifetime’s first original drama series from 1998-2002. She was a contender for an Emmy in 2001 and was nominated for five NAACP Image Awards.
She had another outstanding performance in 2012 as a hardworking mother in Ava DuVernay’s “Middle of Nowhere” which won her a nomination for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Actress and an Academy Award consideration. Most recently she won a Critic’s Choice Award and a Screen Actor’s Guild Award for her role as street tough, ‘Vee’, in the Netflix original series, Orange Is the New Black.
In 2014, Toussaint co-starred in Ava DuVernay’s historical drama film, Selma, and in the television series, forever. She co-stars in four upcoming film releases in 2015, and joined the cast of Fox’s upcoming drama, Rosewood.
Source: Institute of Caribbean Studies newsletter
Photos courtesy of forever.wikia.com and blogs.indiewire.com