Uzo Aduba in 2014
Uzoamaka Nwanneka Aduba
February 10, 1981
|Alma mater||Boston University|
Uzoamaka Nwanneka "Uzo" Aduba (/ /; born February 10, 1981) is an American actress. She is known for her role as Suzanne "Crazy Eyes" Warren on the Netflix original series Orange Is the New Black (2013–2019), for which she won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series in 2014, an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series in 2015, and two Screen Actors Guild Awards for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series in 2014 and 2015. She is one of only two actors to win an Emmy Award in both the comedy and drama categories for the same role, the other being Ed Asner for the character Lou Grant.
Aduba appeared in films including American Pastoral (2016), Showing Roots (2016), My Little Pony: The Movie (2017), Candy Jar (2018) and Miss Virginia (2019). In 2020, she played Shirley Chisholm in the Hulu miniseries Mrs. America.
Aduba was born in Boston, Massachusetts to parents who are from Nigeria. She grew up in Medfield, Massachusetts, and graduated from Medfield High School in 1999. She attended Boston University, where she studied classical voice and competed in track and field. She describes her family as a "sports family". Her younger brother, Obi, played hockey at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and went on to play six seasons professionally.
Aduba first garnered recognition for her acting in 2003, when her performance in Translations of Xhosa at the Olney Theatre Center for the Arts earned her a Helen Hayes Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Play. Aduba played the character Amphiarus in 2006 at New York Theatre Workshop and again in 2008 at La Jolla Playhouse. In 2007, she made her Broadway debut, portraying Toby in Helen Edmundson's adaptation of Coram Boy at the Imperial Theatre. From 2011 through 2012, she sang "By My Side" as part of the original revival cast of Godspell at the Circle in the Square Theatre. Her first television appearance was as a nurse on Blue Bloods in 2012. She also played the mother of the title character of Venice at The Public Theater in New York.
I auditioned for the show back in late July or early August of . I had been auditioning that summer for more television and film [after doing much theater]. I'd read a lot of scripts and I remember reading Orange Is the New Black, and it was at the head of the pack. I remember thinking, 'Wow, that is really good, I would love to be a part of that.' I went in and auditioned for another part, and my representatives called me about a month later and they were like, "Hi, we have some really good news. You remember that audition you went on for Orange Is the New Black? You didn't get it." I go, "So… okay, what's the good news?" They said they wanted to offer me another part, Crazy Eyes. I was like, "What in my audition would make someone think I'd be right for a part called Crazy Eyes?" But to be honest, when I got the script for it, it felt like the right fit.
Casting director Jennifer Euston explains the selection of Aduba for the role thus: "Uzo Aduba...had her hair in those knots for the audition...They saw something amazing in her and were able to connect it to what they were looking for in Crazy Eyes." In joining the series, Aduba obtained her Screen Actors Guild card, about which she says, "I was just like, 'Wow, this means I'm a full actor now.' It was such a big deal, and I remember being so thankful and feeling so proud."
She has been recognized for her performance as "Crazy Eyes": Aduba won Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series at the 66th Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards as well as Best Guest Performer in a Comedy Series at the 4th Critics' Choice Television Awards and was nominated for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film at the 18th Satellite Awards for her season one performance. Aduba's season two performance earned her the Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series at the 21st Screen Actors Guild Awards and a nomination for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film at the 72nd Golden Globe Awards.
Aduba won a second Primetime Emmy at the 67th Primetime Emmy Awards in 2015, winning the award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series. This makes her the first actress to win both a drama and comedy Emmy for the same role. Aduba's performance in the third season also earned another Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series win for the 22nd Screen Actors Guild Awards. She also earned a Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film at the 73rd Golden Globe Awards.
In March 2014, Aduba performed at Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS benefit concert Broadway Backwards. Aduba teamed with Rachel Bay Jones for a rendition of the song "Lily's Eyes" from the musical The Secret Garden. In 2015, she played Glinda the Good Witch in the NBC live musical event special The Wiz Live!, receiving positive reviews from critics.
Aduba made her film debut in the 2015 musical comedy-drama film Pearly Gates. The following year she went to star alongside Maggie Grace in the comedy-drama Showing Roots, and played supporting roles in Tallulah “[Steven Universe](tv show)” and American Pastoral directed by Ewan McGregor. She played a major role in the 2017 musical animated film My Little Pony: The Movie, where she voices Queen Novo, leader of the Hippogriffs/Seaponies. She co-starred in two Netflix films; comedy Candy Jar in 2018, and drama Beats in 2019. Also in 2019, Aduba went to star in the drama film Miss Virginia, playing the title role.
After ending of Orange Is the New Black, Aduba was cast as Shirley Chisholm, who became the first black candidate for a major party's nomination for President of the United States, and the first woman to run for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination, as well as the first woman to appear in a United States presidential debate, in the Hulu miniseries Mrs. America opposite Cate Blanchett and Sarah Paulson. The miniseries premiered on April 15, 2020 receiving critical acclaim. She also co-starred opposite Lupita Nyong'o in the HBO Max upcoming miniseries Americanah written by Danai Gurira. Aduba also was set to star in the fourth season of FX series Fargo, however drop out of the role due to "some personal family issues". She also co-starred in the upcoming romantic drama film Really Love.
|2016||Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip||TSA Officer||Cameo|
|2016||Tallulah||Detective Louisa Kinnie|
|2017||My Little Pony: The Movie||Queen Novo (voice)|
|2018||Candy Jar||Julia Russell|
|2018||We Are Boats||Sir|
|2019||Miss Virginia||Virginia Walden|
|2012||Blue Bloods||Nurse||Episode: "Nightmares"|
|2013||How to Live Like a Lady||Acting Teacher||Television film|
|2013–2019||Orange Is the New Black||Suzanne "Crazy Eyes" Warren||82 episodes|
|2014||Saturday Night Live||Daughter Dudley||Episode: "Woody Harrelson/Kendrick Lamar"|
|2015||Comedy Bang! Bang!||Herself||Episode: "Uzo Aduba Wears a White Blouse and Royal Blue Heels"|
|The Wiz Live!||Glinda the Good Witch||Television special|
|2016–2019||Steven Universe||Bismuth (voice)||9 episodes|
|2018–2019||3Below: Tales of Arcadia||Officer Kubritz (voice)||11 episodes|
|2018–present||Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir||Nora Césaire/Anansi (voice)||4 episodes|
|2019||Steven Universe: The Movie||Bismuth (voice)||Television film|
|2020||Steven Universe Future||Bismuth (voice)||Episode: "Bismuth Casual"|
|2020||Mrs. America||Shirley Chisholm||Miniseries|
|2020||Americanah||Aunty Uju||Upcoming miniseries|
|2006||The Seven||Amphiarus||New York Theatre Workshop|
|2007||Coram Boy||Toby||Imperial Theatre|
|2008||The Seven||Amphiarus||La Jolla Playhouse|
|2009||Eclipsed||Helena||Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company|
|A Civil War Christmas||Hannah||Huntington Theatre|
|2011||Godspell||Company||Circle in the Square Theatre|
|2013||Venice||Anna Monroe||The Public Theater|
|2016||The Maids||Solange||Trafalgar Studios|
|Critics' Choice Television Award||2014||Orange Is the New Black||Best Guest Performer – Comedy||Won|
|Glamour Awards||2016||Comedy Actress||Nominated|
|Golden Globe Award||2015||Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film||Nominated|
|2016||Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film||Nominated|
|NAACP Image Awards||2015||Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series||Nominated|
|2016||Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series||Nominated|
|2017||Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series||Nominated|
|2018||Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series||Nominated|
|2019||Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series||Nominated|
|Primetime Emmy Award||2014||Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series||Won|
|2015||Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series||Won|
|2017||Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series||Nominated|
|Satellite Awards||2013||Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film||Nominated|
|Screen Actors Guild Award||2015||Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series||Won|
|2015||Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series||Won|
|2016||Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series||Won|
|2016||Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series||Won|
|2017||Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series||Nominated|
|2017||Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series||Won|
|2018||Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series||Nominated|
|2018||Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series||Nominated|