Marianne Jean-Baptiste

Possessed with an innate dignity and mellifluous voice, Marianne Jean-Baptiste rose to critical prominence with her supporting role in the British family drama "Secrets & Lies" (1996), followed by wider recognition in the United States on the crime series "Without a Trace" (CBS, 2002-09). Classically trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in her hometown of London, she became the first black woman from the UK to be nominated for an Oscar, with her effortlessly naturalistic performance in Mike Leigh's "Secrets & Lies." The multi-talented Jean-Baptiste also managed to write the musical score for Leigh's next picture, "Career Girls" (1997), in addition to releasing her own blues album in between acting jobs. After several years of lesser roles, she gave a heartrending portrayal as a mother seeking justice for her slain son in the telepic "The Murder of Stephen Lawrence" (PBS, 2002), just prior to her breakout role as FBI Agent Vivian Johnson on "Without a Trace." As she continued to make appearances in such fare as the sci-fi family adventure "City of Ember" (2008) and the crime thriller "Takers" (2010), Jean-Baptiste awaited the next role that would more fully utilize her considerable talent and relatable screen presence.