Chandra Wilson

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Chandra Wilson
Chandra Wilson 2013 2.jpg
Wilson in 2013
BornChandra Danette Wilson
(1969-08-27) August 27, 1969 (age 44)[1][2][3]
Houston, Texas
Years active1989–present
ChildrenSerena, Joy and Michael
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Chandra Wilson
Chandra Wilson 2013 2.jpg
Wilson in 2013
BornChandra Danette Wilson
(1969-08-27) August 27, 1969 (age 44)[1][2][3]
Houston, Texas
Years active1989–present
ChildrenSerena, Joy and Michael

Chandra Danette Wilson (born August 27, 1969) is an American actress and director, best known as Dr. Miranda Bailey in the ABC television drama Grey's Anatomy. She made her New York stage debut in 1991. She also began to land guest spots on a variety of prime-time television shows. She made her big-screen debut in the 1993 film Philadelphia.

Early life[edit]

Wilson was born in Houston, Texas. She started her theater career at the age of five with the Houston-based Theatre Under the Stars (TUTS). Wilson attended Houston's High School for the Performing and Visual Arts and went on to the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, where she earned a BFA in drama. Her mother, a postal worker, wanted to keep her daughter active, so she enrolled Chandra in a litany of after-school activities that would set the course for her show business career. "Starting at age four, my mom decided that she was not going to have an idle child in the house," Wilson recalls. "So I started taking dance lessons on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and then I was in acting classes on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and I was also modeling on Saturdays. And that was my childhood."

By the age of five, Wilson was performing in musicals with Houston's Theatre Under the Stars company. She attended Houston's High School for the Performing and Visual Arts and continued on to New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, graduating with a BFA in drama in 1991. For the next four years, from 1991-95, she studied at the Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute while at the same time racking up professional theater credits. She made her New York debut in a 1991 production of The Good Times Are Killing Me and won a Theater World Award for Outstanding Debut Performance. Her other early stage credits include off-Broadway productions of Paper Moon: The Musical and Little Shop of Horrors.

While she was making a name for herself on the New York stage, Wilson also began to land guest spots on a variety of prime-time television shows. She appeared on The Cosby Show (1989), Law & Order (1992) and CBS' Schoolbreak Special (1992). She made her big-screen debut alongside Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington in the highly acclaimed 1993 film Philadelphia. Despite receiving high praise for nearly all of her performances, however, Wilson struggled for many years to gain more prominent roles. For eight years, while she tried to break into major stardom, Wilson worked part-time as a teller at Deutsche Bank in order to make ends meet.

Throughout the late 1990s and early 2000s, Wilson continued to turn in memorable, if brief, performances on popular TV shows. She appeared on Third Watch (2001), Sex and the City (2002), The Sopranos (2004) and in sporadic episodes of Law And Order: SVU. And while struggling to land recurring roles on television, Wilson managed to attain considerable prominence on the Broadway stage in musicals such as On the Town (1998), Avenue Q(2003) and Caroline, or Change (2004).

Then, in 2005, 15 years after she made her television debut on The Cosby Show, Wilson finally landed the breakthrough role she had been waiting for as Dr.Bailey


Wilson's first regular network TV role was in the short-lived series Bob Patterson (2001), a post-Seinfeld vehicle for Jason Alexander. In a review for USA Today, Robert Bianco called Wilson "the only person in the show you can imagine wanting to see again".[4] Similarly, the Los Angeles Times said, "The only character here that's amusingly written is Bob's new assistant, Claudia (Chandra Wilson)".[5] She also appeared on Law & Order SVU, Sex and the City, and The Sopranos, and had a small role in Lone Star (1996). Wilson also had career in theater, where she played Bonna Willis in The Good Times Are Killing Me, and was featured in the Tony-nominated musical Caroline, or Change. Wilson is an accomplished singer, and has sung in several productions.

Wilson worked as a temp at Deutsche Bank Alex. Brown where she made presentations for the investment banking units. She worked at the Banker's Trust location on 130 Liberty Street, right across the street from the South Tower of the World Trade Center through 9-11 when that building was lost to the terrorist attacks. Wilson was still working at a bank when she auditioned for the Grey's Anatomy pilot. She was cast as Miranda Bailey, a role initially envisioned as a blond Caucasian woman[6] The show became a success. Wilson was nominated in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 for an Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama. She was nominated and won the Screen Actors Guild Award in 2007 for Outstanding Female Actor in a Drama Series; she also won a SAG Award as part of the Grey's Anatomy cast, which won Best Ensemble in a Drama Series.

Wilson made her television directing debut with the episode "Give Peace a Chance", the 7th episode in season 6 of Grey's Anatomy. She also directed episode 17, "Push", of the same season and the fifth episode of season 7, "Almost Grown", the 21st episode of eight season, "Moment of Truth", "Second Opinion", the 6th episode of ninth season and "Transplant Wasteland", the 17th episode of ninth season.[7] The part of Dr. Bailey, supervisor to the hospital interns, had been written for a petite, Caucasian blonde, but Wilson, a full-figured African-American woman, gave such an impressive audition that the show's producers decided to give her the part. "Besides," she later joked, "I knew the casting director." Wilson earned rave reviews for her performance as the tough-as-nails Dr. Bailey. Wilson was nominated for four consecutive Emmy Awards (2006-2009) and won four consecutive NAACP Image Awards (2007-2010) for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series. She also won the 2008 People's Choice Award for Favorite Scene-Stealing Star. In 2009, while still starring on Grey's Anatomy, Wilson took a brief hiatus from the show to return to Broadway as Mama Morton in a revival of Chicago.

Wilson said the only difference between her acting career now and her acting career a decade ago is that people actually recognize her on the street. "The only difference in my career now is the visibility I have," she insisted. "People say I made it now, but I feel like I made it doing summer stock." She is also clear-headed about the fragility of her new-found fame and fortune. Upon finally leaving her job at Deutsche Bank to focus solely on her role in Grey's Anatomy, Wilson was careful not to burn any bridges. She said, "They told me I could come back if acting doesn't work out. I told them, 'Keep my seat warm.'"

Personal life[edit]

Wilson and her husband have three children; daughters Serena and Joy were born in 1995 and 1998, their son Michael was born on October 31, 2005.[8]


Stage credits[edit]



YearTitleRoleOther notes
1989The Cosby ShowDinaEpisode: "The Lost Weekend"
1992CBS Schoolbreak SpecialGloriaEpisode: "Sexual Considerations"
Law & OrderSerena PriceEpisode: "Cradle to Grave"
2000CosbyEpisode: "It's a Wonderful Wife"
2001Third WatchVolunteerEpisode: "Man Enough"
100 Centre StreetEpisode: "No Good Deed Goes Unpunished"
Bob PattersonClaudiaunknown episodes
2002Sex and the CityPolice OfficerEpisode: "Anchors Away"
Law & Order: Special Victims UnitNurse JenkinsEpisode: "Waste"
2003Queens SupremeDoloresEpisode: "The House Next Door"
2004The SopranosEvelyn GreenwoodEpisode: "Cold Cuts"
2005Law & Order: Special Victims UnitRachel SorannisEpisode: "911"
I Love the 80's 3-DHerself
2005–presentGrey's AnatomyDr. Miranda BaileySeries Regular
Won - NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Directing in a Drama Series - Give Peace a Chance
Nominated – Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series (4 times)
2008Accidental FriendshipYvonneNominated – Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
2009Private PracticeDr. Miranda BaileyEpisode: "Ex-Life"
Episode: "Right Here, Right Now"


Awards and nominations[edit]


  1. ^ "Chandra Wilson: Biography". TV Guide. Retrieved 2013-05-05. 
  2. ^ "Chandra Wilson- Biography". Yahoo!. Retrieved 2013-05-05. 
  3. ^ "Chandra Wilson biography". The Biography Channel. Retrieved 2013-05-05. 
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ MacMedan, Dan (2006-03-01). "At TV fest, 'Grey's Anatomy' cast has as much fun as characters". USA Today. Retrieved 2007-01-28. 
  7. ^ ^ "Grey's Anatomy : Transplant Wasteland". Zap2It. Retrieved February 23, 2013.
  8. ^ Freydkin, Donna (2006-09-20). "Grey's ladies". USA Today. Retrieved 2007-01-28. 
  9. ^ "The Good Times Are Killing Me". (McGinn-Cazale) Loretel Archives / The Off-Broadway Database (Lucille Lortel Foundation). Retrieved 24 February 2013. 

External links[edit]