EMMYS 2017: Before She Wowed the World as Tina Turner, Angela Bassett Broke Through as a Broadway Star

Special Features   EMMYS 2017: Before She Wowed the World as Tina Turner, Angela Bassett Broke Through as a Broadway Star Now nominated for her fourth Emmy for Master of None, the award-winning actor earned her stripes on the stage.
Angela Bassett and Lena Waithe
Angela Bassett and Lena Waithe Netflix

A graduate of the Yale School of Drama, four-time Emmy nominee and Oscar nominee Angela Bassett got her start in theatre. It was the stage that inspired Bassett to pursue acting, after seeing James Earl Jones onstage in a production of Of Mice and Men.

At Yale Repertory Theatre, Bassett took the stage in August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom in 1984 and Joe Turner’s Come and Gone in 1986. One of her earliest New York performances came with Off-Broadway’s Second Stage Theatre in 1985, when she appeared in Black Girl. Before she catapulted to fame as Tina Turner in the 1993 film What’s Love Got to Do with It, Bassett made her Broadway debut with Joe Turner’s Come and Gone in 1988.

What’s Love Got to Do with It made an awards darling of Bassett. In addition to her Oscar nomination, she won the Golden Globe for her performance in the film, becoming the first African-American recipient of the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy.

She continued to pursue her screen career in movies such as Panther, as Dr. Betty Shabazz, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, and more. In 2002, her portrayal of Rosa Parks in the made-for-television The Rosa Parks Story earned Bassett her first Primetime Emmy nomination. Bassett continued to shine in movies such as Akeelah and the Bee, as Coretta Scott King in Bette and Coretta—for which she earned a SAG Award nomination—and Olympus Has Fallen.

Recognized for her contributions to film and television, she has won three NAACP Image Awards for Ruby’s Bucket of Blood, The Rosa Parks Story, and ER and has been nominated for four BET Awards.

Bassett returned to Broadway in 2011 to star in Karoi Hall’s two-hander The Mountaintop as Camae opposite Samuel L. Jackson as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

In 2014 and 2015, she earned her second and third Emmy nominations for roles in Ryan Murphy’s anthology series American Horror Story. Now, with her role on Master of None, Bassett garners her fourth Emmy nomination for her guest starring role on the Netflix series.

Tune in to the 69th Annual Emmy Awards September 17 on CBS.

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