One of today’s most prolific actresses boasts over 55 acting and 15 directing credits. She’s a producer and performer, dabbler in everything, and doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon. She was born in California and started acting at the age of 15, and was a staple in John Singleton’s films: Boyz in the Hood, Poetic Justice, and Higher Education. She won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in If Beale Street Could Talk and has four Emmy wins, all for different shows. This woman is Regina King: affluent actress-turned-director with an exceptional success rate, who has conquered everything from comedy to fantasy, and has the ability to create the most impactful stories that have deeply impactful themes for each one.
So how did King get to where she is now? To star in classics such as the original A A Cinderella story and become a super anti-hero in the TV remake of watchmen produce episodes of Shameless, It’s us, and the Oscar nominee One night in MiamiKing has climbed many mountains to get to where she is today – and she continues to create masterpiece after masterpiece to show it off. That’s how Regina King went from famed actress to leading director.
Early acting career
In 1985 King starred in his first television series; the show called 227 centered around a Chicago apartment building of the same name and followed around the stories of Principled Women of Color. King played Brenda Jenkins, daughter of Mary Jenkins who was played by Marla Gibbs (The Jeffersons, El Camino). After the series ended, King was drawn into the world of filmmaking by writer and director John Singleton. In three years she looked in the drama Boyz N the Hood alongside Cuba Gooding Jr. (Empire) and Lawrence Fishburn (The matrix), then went to perform with music legends Tupac Shakur and Janet Jackson in poetic justice. After that, she continued to appear in single episodes of North exposure and New York undercover. King was later cast as Dana Jones in Ice Cube (21 Jump Street) and Chris Tucker (Peak hour) the comedy Friday. These films skyrocketed King’s career, showing off her expertise in both comedic and dramatic roles, effectively proving that she could play both — and play both well.
King’s Biggest Hits and Most Influential Roles
King has played iconic roles in beloved movies. In 2005, she starred in the action comedy sequel Miss Conviviality 2, playing Sandra Bullock’s reluctant Gracie Hart partner. She brings heart and her expertise in comedic timing to this role, making it an instant classic and fun continuation of a beloved story. One of the first Oscar buzz movies King starred in was Ray, with Jamie Foxx. In the biopic about musician Ray Charles, King played Margie Hendrix, the leader of Charles’ backup band. In 2018, King had one of his most influential roles to date: the movie If Beale Street Could Talk swept the festival circuit and his performance won him the Golden Globe and Oscars for Best Supporting Actress. After this victory for her maternal performance, King starred in Jeymes Samuel’s western The more they fallwho offered a spin on stereotypical Hollywood portrayals of westerns, swapping her motherly role for the gun-throwing, devilish, no-shit character in this action-packed flick.
Her debut as a director
Prior to her directorial debut, King amassed a stack of television credits. She directed episodes of Scandal, it’s us, shamelessly, and even The Good Doctor. Prior to 2020, she had 11 directing credits prior to her feature debut titled One night in Miamiloosely based, by CNN, on a night when leaders of the civil rights movement gathered to talk about their roles and the world around them. Starring Kingsley Ben-Adir, Aldis Hodge, Leslie Odom Jr. and Eli Goree playing Malcolm X, Jim Brown, Sam Cooke and Muhammad Ali, this film was released at the height of the pandemic in 2020 on Amazon Prime Video. Despite the possibility of reaching a smaller audience because of this, One night in Miami was still nominated for three Academy Awards: Odom Jr. for Best Supporting Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Original Song.
The future of Regina King
So what’s next for King? Her next role is Shirley Chisholm in the biopic titled Shirley. Centered on the first black member of the United States Congress, this film is still in post-production and should be released on Netflix later this year. She’s made a name for herself in the film world and doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. King is a powerhouse in film and television, using her talents to star, produce, direct and be a top performer in Hollywood, someone everyone can look up to and look up to. She creates stories deeply rooted in black history, bringing stories that matter and the big screen to life. The future is bright for the actress-turned-director-turned-fantasy storyteller.