S. Epatha Merkerson - Rotten Tomatoes

S. Epatha Merkerson

Lowest Rated:   0% Loose Cannons (1990)
Birthday:  
Birthplace:   Saginaw, Michigan, USA
S. Epatha Merkerson is a Tony-nominated and Obie-winning, African-American stage actress, but is best known for her portrayal of detective squad chief Lt. Anita Van Buren in the series Law and Order. Born and raised in Detroit as the youngest of five children, she was a fine arts graduate of Wayne State University and began her New York theater career in the late 1970s. Merkerson was nominated for a Tony award for Best Actress for her performance as Berniece in The Piano Lesson and won an Obie award in 1992 for her work in I'm Not Stupid. Her screen credits include Jacob's Ladder and Loose Cannons and, perhaps most visibly, her role as Joe Morton's terrified wife in James Cameron's Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Merkerson made her television debut as Reba, the Mail Lady on Pee Wee's Playhouse, and has appeared on The Cosby Show, among other series, but her most important single television appearance may have been in the first season Law and Order show "Mushrooms," in which she portrayed the grief-stricken mother of an 11-month-old boy who is shot accidentally. Her work was not only memorable to the audience during that key first season, but also to the producers, who later picked Merkerson for the role of the new detective squad chief in the series' fourth season--a role she continued to play for over ten years. Merkerson's talent on the small screen led to roles in numerous TV movies such as Breaking Through and A Mother's Prayer, as well as roles in such films as Radio and The Rising Place. Still, her monumental gifts in both presence and interpretation may not have truly been utilized until she took the part of a strong matriarch who runs a 1960's boarding house in HBO's mini series Lackawanna Blues. Her first leading role in almost twenty years on screen, her performance earned her an Emmy Award as well as a Golden Globe. After her triumphant turn in Lackawanna Blues she returned to the big-screen in Craig Brewer's follow-up to Hustle & Flow, Black Snake Moan co-starring Christina Ricci and Samuel L. Jackson.Over the coming years, Merkerson would appear in a number of films, like The Six Wives of Henry Lefay and Mother and Child.

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Highest Rated Movies

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT YEAR
No Score Yet Year by the Sea
  • Liz Bloomington
2017
No Score Yet The Challenger
  • Jada
2015
No Score Yet The Gabby Douglas Story
  • Grandmother
2014
37% Peeples
  • Daphne Peeples
2013
90% Lincoln
  • Lydia Smith
2012
No Score Yet The Contradictions of Fair Hope
  • Director
2012
No Score Yet The Six Wives of Henry Lefay
  • Effa Devareaux
2010
79% Mother and Child
  • Ada
2010
No Score Yet Zora Neale Hurston: Jump at the Sun
  • Actor
2008
25% Slipstream
  • Bonnie
2007
No Score Yet Girl, Positive
  • Ariel Winters
2007
66% Black Snake Moan
  • Angela
2007
71% Lackawanna Blues
  • Rachel `Nanny' Crosby
2005
41% Jersey Girl
  • Doctor No. 1
2004
36% Radio
  • Maggie
2003
13% The Rising Place
  • Lessie Watson
2002
No Score Yet A Girl Thing
  • Lani
2001
15% Random Hearts
  • Nea
1999
No Score Yet Exiled (Exiled: A Law & Order Movie)
  • Lt. Van Buren
1998
No Score Yet An Unexpected Life
  • Beverly Hawkins
1997
No Score Yet After the Silence
  • Barbara
1996
No Score Yet A Mother's Prayer
  • Ruby
1995
No Score Yet A Place for Annie
  • Alice Blakely
1994
93% Terminator 2: Judgment Day
  • Tarissa Dyson
1991
69% Jacob's Ladder
  • Elsa
1990
19% Navy Seals
  • Jolena
1990
0% Loose Cannons
  • Rachel
1990
No Score Yet Pee-Wee's Playhouse: V. 5
  • Actor
1988
93% She's Gotta Have It
  • Dr. Jamison
1986

TV

RATING TITLE CREDIT
No Score Yet Great Performances
2000
  • Narrator
No Score Yet Live From Lincoln Center
2000
  • Appearing
48% Chicago Med
2015
  • Sharon Goodwin
No Score Yet Law & Order: Criminal Intent
2001-2011
  • Van Buren
No Score Yet Law & Order
1990-2010
  • Lt. Anita Van Mrs. Winters Lt. Anita Van Buren
No Score Yet Drop Dead Diva
2009-2014
  • Actor
No Score Yet The Closer
2005-2012
  • Dr. Rebecca Dioli Dr. Dioli
No Score Yet Chicago P.D.
2014
  • Sharon Goodwin
No Score Yet Frasier
1993-2004
  • Guest
  • Paula McCaskill
97% The Good Wife
2009-2016
  • Judge Ellis
No Score Yet Chicago Fire
2012
  • Sharon Goodwin
38% Deception
2013
  • Beverly Padget

Quotes from S. Epatha Merkerson's Characters