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ANGELA BASSETT (Ste/la) decided to pursue acting after a high school field trip to the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. left her in tears (She had just witnessed James Earl Jones' powerful performance in "Of Mice and Men"). Less than a decade later, Bassett remained true to her word by earning a Bachelor of Arts degree from Yale College and a Masters of Fine Arts from the demanding and prestigious Yale School of Drama. Upon graduation, Bassett moved directly to New York to pursue her career. It wasn't long before she was landing roles in Off-Broadway productions like Second Stage's "Black Girl," the Negro Ensemble's "Colored Peoples' Time" and "Henry IV Part I" for Joseph Papp's Public Theatre. On Broadway, she appeared in August Wilson's celebrated plays "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom" and "Joe Turner's Come and Gone.

Bassett recently returned to the stage, appearing at the New York Shakespeare Festival as Lady Macbeth (opposite Alec Baldwin).

In 1990. John Singleton cast Bassett in his critically acclaimed feature film debut "Boyz N the Hood." She shined in her role as a single mother trying to raise her troubled, teenage son. Bassett next starred opposite Denzel Washington as Betty Shabazz, the wife of the seminal leader "Malcolm X" in Spike Lee's biographical epic.

But it was her riveting portrayal of legend Tina Turner in "What's Love Got to Do With It?" which cemented Bassett's growing reputation as a powerful and versatile actor. Chronicling the superstar's sixteen year marriage to Ike Turner, Bassett's honest and emotional performance struck a chord with audiences worldwide. She was honored with a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress and also received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress.

Other screen credits include the box-office hit "Waiting to Exhale,""Contact," John Sayles' "City of Hope" and "Passion Fish." Wes Craven's "A Vampire in Brooklyn" (opposite Eddie Murphy), and "Strange Days," directed by Kathryn Bigelow. She also made a cameo appearance in Mario Van Peeble's "Panther," again playing Betty Shabazz.

On television, Bassett appeared in the ABC mini-series "The Jacksons: An American Dream," receiving rave notices for her touching portrayal as Katherine, a role which encompassed thirty years of the woman's life.

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