Best known for playing strong-willed crisis manager Olivia Pope for seven seasons of Shonda Rhimes' ground-breaking political thriller "Scandal" (ABC, 2012-18), Kerry Washington also achieved awards recognition for her roles in "Ray" (2005), "Django Unchained" (2012) and "Confirmation" (HBO, 2016). Born in The Bronx, NY in 1977 to a professor mother and real estate broker father, Kerry Washington attended her home state's TADA! Youth Theater company in her teens and after graduating from George Washington University with a degree in sociology and anthropology, she further honed her acting talents at New York's Michael Howard Studios. She made her screen debut in a 1996 episode of "ABC Afterschool Special" (ABC, 1972-1997) and graduated to the big screen four years later with a co-starring role in coming-of-age "Our Song" (2000). Washington also took center stage as a shoplifter in "Lift" (2001) before playing a single mother in teen flick "Save the Last Dance" (2001), Chris Rock's love interest in comedy "Bad Company" (2002) and Don Cheadle's mistress in legal drama "The United States of Leland" (2003) as well as enjoying a five-episode stint in the short-lived "100 Centre Street" (A&E Network, 2001-02). Minor roles in Philip Roth adaptation "The Human Stain" (2003) and post-9/11 tale "Strip Search" (2004) followed, as did the more substantial parts of Ving Rhames' rebellious sister in crime thriller "Sin" (2003), Omar Epps' girlfriend in boxing drama "Against the Ropes" (2003) and Ray Charles' second wife Della Bea Robinson in acclaimed biopic "Ray" (2005). Washington then impressed as Anthony Mackie's lesbian ex-fiancee Fatima in Spike Lee's "She Hate Me" (2004), appeared in interweaving relationship drama "Sexual Life" (2005) and joined the superhero world with the role of blind sculptor Alicia Masters in "Fantastic Four" (2005). Her prolific streak continued with turns as Angelina Jolie's best friend Jasmine in action comedy "Mr and Mrs Smith" (2005), mother figure Vanessa in the Wayans brothers' farce "Little Man" (2005) and dictator Idi Amin's spouse Kay in biopic "The Last King of Scotland" (2005) and a recurring gig as lawyer Chelina Hall in "Boston Legal" (ABC, 2004-08). Inbetween reuniting with Rock in "I Think I Love My Wife" (2007), Lee in "Miracle at St. Anna" (2008) and Mackie in "Night Catches Us" (2010), Washington played a terrorized newlywed in "Lakeview Terrace" (2008), a transsexual prostitute in "Life Is Hot in Crackdown" (2009) and an aspiring adoptive parent in "Mother and Child" (2009). She then joined an all-star cast in Tyler Perry's "For Colored Girls" (2010), showed up in indie comedy "The Details" (2011) and portrayed house slave Broomhilda Von Schaft in Quentin Tarantino's revisionist western "Django Unchained" (2012). Washington's career then shifted to the small screen when she landed the role of powerful crisis manager Olivia Pope in "Scandal" (ABC, 2012-18). During her six-year stint in Shonda Rhimes' political thriller, for which she picked up multiple Emmy and Golden Globe nods, Washington also joined Craig Robinson in comedy "Peeples" (2013), voiced statistical analyst Natalie Certain in Pixar animations "Cars 3" (2017) and earned critical acclaim for her portrayal of Anita Hill, the lawyer who alleged she'd been sexually harassed by U.S. Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas, in TV movie "Confirmation" (HBO, 2016). Following the show's natural end, Washington played George's nemesis Helen in one-off revival "Norman Lear's All in the Family and The Jeffersons" (ABC, 2019), reprised her role as the mother of a missing teen in the adaptation of Broadway play "American Son" (2019), joined the star-studded cast of Ryan Murphy's musical comedy "The Prom" (2020) and co-starred as Reese Witherspoon's rival Mia in "Little Fires Everywhere" (Hulu, 2020-), a multigenerational drama which the pair also executive produced.