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Octavia Spencer
Also known as:Octavia Lenora Spencer, Octavia L. Spencer
Occupation:Actor • Voice Cast • Executive Producer
Born:May 25, 1970
Birthplace:Alabama, United States Of America
The winner of several prestigious awards including the Academy Award and a Golden Globe, Octavia Spencer is a popular American film and TV actress and author. The actress made her debut on the silver screen with A Time to Kill (1996) but rose to fame when she portrayed the role of Minny Jackson in the critically acclaimed film The Help (2011). Few of her other notable performances in films include Fruitvale Station, Get on Up, Smashed, The Divergent Series: Insurgent, Zootopia and Hidden Figures.

Apart from winning laurels in the film industry, Spencer has also been a successful author. As a writer, she is noted for starting the children`s book series, The Case of the Time-Capsure Bandit (2013) and The Sweetest Heist in History (2015).

Personal Life
Born in Montgomery, Alabama, Spencer grew up in a tough family condition. Her mother, Dellsena Spencer worked as a maid and raised Spencer and her six other siblings all alone. Spencer studied at the Jefferson Davis High School and after completing her graduation in 1988, she went pursue her bachelor`s degree in Liberal Arts from Auburn University.

Movie Career
Octavia Spencer made her debut on the screen with a small role in the Joel Schumacher-directed crime drama film A Time to Kill (1996). The film featuring Sandra Bullock, Samuel L. Jackson, Matthew McConaughey and Kevin Spacey in the lead roles was based on John Grisham`s novel of the same name. The film received wide critical acclaim and was a massive commercial hit; it grossed more than 152 million USD worldwide. Following the success of her debut film, the actress featured mostly in small roles in The 6th Man (1997), Blue Streak (1999), Spider-Man (2002) and Coach Carter (2005).

Although she appeared in several movies, Spencer failed to get any recognition for her work until she starred in the 2011 American period drama, The Help directed by Tate Taylor. The film, which was adapted from the 2009 novel of the same name by Kathryn Stockett opened to wide critical acclaim and got four Academy Award nominations including Best Picture and Best Supporting Actress, with Spencer winning the latter. The film got Spencer wide recognition and won her many other laurels including the Critics` Choice Movie Award for Best Supporting Actress, a Golden Globe, BAFTA and the SAG award.

Following the smashing hit of The Help, Spencer proved her acting brilliance with yet another scintillating performance in the American drama Smashed (2012) directed by James Ponsoldt. The film, which premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival garnered positive reviews from critics with Spencer winning unanimous praise. In 2013, the actress had three releases, viz. Fruitvale Station, Snowpiercer, and Paradise. Whilst, Fruitvale Station and Paradise did not garner any praise for Spencer, she received much appreciation from the critics for her brilliant role as Tanya, a determined mother in the science fiction thriller Snowpiercer. The film, which marks the English-language debut of the Korean director, Bong Joon-ho, also featured Chris Evans, Son Kang-ho, Jamie Bell, Tilda Swinton and Ed Harris in the lead roles. The film, which is noted for being one of the most expensive Korean productions ever grossed 86.8 million USD worldwide.

The actress continued her successful run with another collaboration with director Tate Taylor for her biographical drama film, Get on Up (2014), which was based on the life of singer James Brown. The year 2015 turned out to be a successful year for Spencer at the box office as two of her releases including Black or White and The Divergent Series: Insurgent received positive reviews and fared well at the box office. The actress started her campaign in 2016 on a successful note as her first release of the year, The Free World, an American drama film directed by Jason Lew was chosen to be screened in the U.S. Dramatic Competition section at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. The actress subsequently made her debut as a voice artist and lent her voice to the character named Mrs. Otterton in the American 3D computer-animated comedy adventure film, Zootopia. The film, featuring an ensemble cast including Ginnifer Goodwin, Jason Bateman, Idris Elba, Bonnie Hunt, J.K. Simmons and Alan Tudyk won several awards including Golden Globe for Best Animated Feature Film as well as an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. The film also emerged to be a huge commercial hit; it grossed 1.024 billion USD worldwide.

The actress rounded off the year with the highly commercial and critically successful film Hidden Figures, a biographical drama film directed by Theodore Melfi. The film based on the non-fiction book of the same name by Margot Lee about an Africa-American mathematician at NASA features Taraji P. Henson, Janelle Monae, Kevin Costner and Kirsten Dunst in pivotal roles. The film received highly positive reviews and Spencer for her stellar performance as Dorothy Vaughan, a mathematician and supervisor won a nomination at the Academy Awards and Golden Globes Award for Best Supporting Actress. Her 2017 releases include Gifted, an American drama directed by Marc Webb and The Shack directed by Stuart Hazeldine. In 2020 she was a voice actor for Dab-Dab, a duck with a metal leg, in Dolittle.

TV Career
After making her debut on the big screen with the super hit film, A Time to Kill in 1996, the actress struggled to find a significant role in movies. Consequently, Spencer turned to TV and she made her debut in a TV series with the popular American medical drama series, ER (1998) where she played the role of Maria Jones in two episodes. The following year, Spencer played the role of a nurse in the sci-fi drama series T X-Files. By the beginning of 2000, Spencer had gained a significant experience in both TV and film industries and over the next few years she maintained a fine balance between TV and Film, appearing in a few episodes of series` like Ugly Betty (2007), Wizards of Waverly Place (2008), Hawthorne (2010), Call Me Crazy: A Five Film (2013), Red Band Society (2014) and Drunk History (2015).
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Popular Movies
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The Witches (2020)
A Kid Like Jake
Green Book
The Shape of Water
The Shack
Hidden Figures
The Great Gilly Hopkins

Personal Quotes (8)

  • "I am not an optimist. I am a realist and my reality is that we live in a multifaceted, multicultural world and maybe once we stop labeling ourselves, then maybe everyone else will."
  • "The way to bring about change is to be proactive and active."
  • "If you go through life and you don’t find the beauty in an unexpected place then you really have a sad existence."
  • "The hardest thing about writing, for me, is facing the blank page."
  • "We all have hourglass figures; your sand just settles in different places."
  • "I have an affinity for the law. I like looking at the small type of contracts and if I could have afforded law school. I probably would have gone."
  • "You cannot live to please everyone else. You have to edify, educate and fulfill your own dreams and destiny, and hope that whatever your art is that you are putting out there if it is received, great, I respect you for receiving it. If it is not received, great, I respect you for not."
  • "Weight issues, race issues will always be there and if you allow them to get to you and you allow them to affect you then yes they affect you. But my thing is I have so many other things to worry about I can’t worry about other people’s perception of me."
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