A versatile and gifted actress, Jean Smart continues to exhibit her extraordinary talents in theater, television and film. Since completing her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at the University of Washington, Smart’s career has launched into worldwide critical acclaim. Before coming to Los Angeles she made her Broadway debut in Piaf and originated the role of Lil in "Last Summer at Bluefish Cove" off-Broadway, for which she received a Drama Desk nomination.
In the 2010-2011 television season, Smart did double duty with recurring roles as both the Governor of Hawaii in the re-imagined version of “Hawaii 5-0” for CBS and as a love interest for William Shattner on “*%# My Dad Says” also for CBS. Other recent works include the independent film “Barry Munday” starring Patrick Wilson and Judy Greer. She most recently joined Katherine Heigl, Josh Lucas, Josh Duhamel and Christina Hendricks in the Warner Brothers feature film, “Life As We Know It” as Helen, Heigl’s character’s mother. Smart also recently played Michael Cera’s mother in Miguel Arteta’s comedy “Youth in Revolt,” which hit theatres in early 2010.
In addition, Smart has been seen in the Emmy® Award winning comedy series, “Samantha Who?” with Christina Applegate, for which she just earned her third Emmy® Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy.
In 2006, Smart received her fourth Emmy® nomination, this time for her role as the troubled and medicated First Lady Martha Logan on the Fox drama “24.” That same year the show won the Emmy® for Best Drama, and received a Golden Globe nomination and a Screen Actor’s Guild nomination for Ensemble Cast.
In 2001, Smart won her second Emmy® for her guest-starring role on “Frasier” and was nominated for Guest Actress in a Drama Series for her recurring role on “The District.” In 2000 Smart received recognition in theater, film and television when she earned an Independent Spirit Award nomination for her critically acclaimed performance in the Miramax feature film “Guinevere” opposite Sarah Polley, was awarded her first Emmy® for her hilarious recurring role on “Frasier” and was nominated for a Tony® for Best Actress in a Play for her starring role on Broadway opposite Nathan Lane in "The Man Who Came To Dinner."
Smart has also starred in the HBO drama series “Maximum Security” and the popular sitcom “Designing Women.” Several TV series and television films followed, including “Overkill,” the critically acclaimed story of serial killer Aileen Wuornos, “High Society,” in which she played neurotic novelist Ellie Walker opposite Mary McDonnell (an Americanized version of the British phenomenon “Absolutely Fabulous”), Peter Tolan’s comedy “Style and Substance,” “In-Laws” opposite Dennis Farina and “Center of the Universe” opposite John Goodman. In 2003 Smart starred with husband Richard Gilliland in the Hallmark Channel Original Movie, “Audrey’s Rain.”
Smart’s recent film credits include Curtis Hanson’s “Lucky You” opposite Eric Bana and Robert Duvall, “Hero Wanted” starring Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Ray Liotta, “Garden State” for first-time director and writer Zach Braff opposite Braff, Natalie Portman and Peter Sarsgaard, “Mistress” with Danny Aiello and Robert DeNiro, “Flashpoint” with Kris Kristofferson “Bringing Down the House” with Steve Martin and Queen Latifa, “The Kid” with Bruce Willis, “Sweet Home Alabama” with Reese Witherspoon and “I Heart Huckabees.”
Smart currently resides in Los Angeles with her husband and two children.