"Desperate Housewives" Welcomes Drowning Crow's Woodard to Cast

News   "Desperate Housewives" Welcomes Drowning Crow's Woodard to Cast Emmy Award winner and frequent stage actress Alfre Woodard has joined the cast of this season's biggest television hit, "Desperate Housewives."
Alfre Woodard
Alfre Woodard

Woodard will arrive on Wisteria Lane during the 2005-2006 season when she becomes the first African-American woman to be a regular on the series, which airs Sunday nights on ABC-TV. Woodard, according to the New York Post, will play "a deeply religious, overbearing single mother who moves to Wisteria Lane after her son gets involved in a bad situation with a girl in their old neighborhood."

Kevin Murphy, co-executive producer of "Desperate Housewives," told the paper, "[Woodard is] one of the best actresses of her generation and to have her on the show is an incredible honor. . . Like all the rest of our women, there's going to be much more to her than initially meets the eye."

Alfre Woodard made her stage debut in 1974 at Arena Stage in Washington, DC. Following roles in the films "Remember My Name" (1978) and "H.E.A.L.T.H." (1979), she was Oscar-nominated for her performance as Geechee in 1983's "Cross Creek." She went on to appear on the TV series, "St. Elsewhere" and won Emmys for her recurring roles on "Hill Street Blues" and "L.A. Law" and an ACE award for the made-for-cable "Mandela" (1987). Other film credits include "Miss Firecracker" (1989), Lawrence Kasdan's "Grand Canyon" (1991) John Sayles' "Passion Fish" (1992, Golden Globe nomination), "Rich In Love" (1993), "Crooklyn" (1994), "Maya Angelou's Down in the Delta," "Funny Valentine" and "Mumford."

In 1995, she received an Emmy nomination and a Screen Actors Guild Best Actress Award for her performance in "The Piano Lesson" and two years later won an Emmy, a Golden Globe, and a SAG Award for her portrayal of the title character of "Miss Evers' Boys," a nurse who consoled many of the subjects of the notorious 1930s "Tuskeegee Study of Untreated Blacks with Syphilis." She was a Broadway understudy in Me and Bessie, so technically, the 2003 production of Drowning Crow, in which she starred, was not her Broadway debut.

Woodard's other stage work includes For Colored Girls . . . at the Mark Taper Forum, Two by South, The Winter's Tale and the Public Theater production of A Map of the World.