Born to a family of actors, Jurnee Smollett began acting at five years old. After recurring roles in Hangin' with Mr. Cooper and Full House, she joined the cast of the ABC comedy On Our Own -- which also features her five siblings. The series ran for two seasons.
Smollett made her film debut in 1996's Jack (alongside Robin Williams) but earned critical acclaim for the following year's Eve's Bayou, which earned her a Critics' Choice Award. In 1998, she took a recurring role on the comedy Cosby, which earned her two NAACP Image Awards.
After a recurring role in the Fox comedy Wanda at Large, Smollett appeared in the acclaimed film The Great Debaters, which earned her another NAACP Image Award. In 2009, she joined the cast of NBC's Friday Night Lights, appearing as Jess Merriweather. Later that year, she joined the cast of CBS' legal series The Defenders, as budding lawyer Lisa Tyler.
In 2012, she had a stint on The Mob Doctor, playing Traci Coolidge. The following year, she joined the cast of True Blood as Nicole Wright.
Smollett is currently married to musician Josiah Bell.
- She has five siblings who are all actors. They all featured in the ABC comedy On Our Own, which aired from 1994-1995.
- Critics' Choice Award, Best Child Performance, 1998 (for Eve's Bayou)
- NAACP Image Award, Outstanding Youth Actor/Actress, 1999 (for Cosby)
- NAACP Image Award, Outstanding Youth Actor/Actress, 2000 (for Cosby)
- NAACP Image Award, Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture, 2008 (for The Great Debaters)
- Jack (1996)
- Eve's Bayou (1997)
- Beautiful Joe (2000)
- Roll Bounce (2005)
- Gridiron Gang (2006)
- The Great Debaters (2007)
- Hangin' with Mr. Cooper (recurring, 1992)
- Full House (recurring, 1992-1994)
- On Our Own (regular, 1994-1995)
- Cosby (recurring, 1998-2000)
- Wanda at Large (recurring, 2003)
- Friday Night Lights (regular, 2009-2011)
- The Defenders (regular, 2010-present)
- The Mob Doctor (2012)
- True Blood (2013)
"There is crying and pain going on. There's a whole population screaming out and no one is listening. It's neglect."