Teyonah Parris

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Teyonah Parris
Teyonah Parris Sundance 2014.jpg
Born (1987-09-22) September 22, 1987 (age 31)
Education Juilliard School (BFA)
Occupation Actress
Years active 2010–present

Teyonah Parris (born September 22, 1987) is an American actress. She began her career playing a recurring role as Dawn Chambers in the AMC drama series, Mad Men (2012–15), before landing her breakthrough role in the 2014 independent film Dear White People. In 2015, Parris starred in the satirical drama film Chi-Raq directed by Spike Lee.

Life and career

Parris was raised in Hopkins, South Carolina, where she attended the South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities, before she later attended and graduated from the Juilliard School.[1] She made her television debut in 2010, with guest starring role on The Good Wife. In 2012, she was cast in a recurring role as Dawn Chambers in the AMC drama series, Mad Men.[2] She played the first major African American character on Mad Men.[3]

In 2014, Parris had her breakthrough role in the independent film Dear White People.[1][4] Later in that year, Parris began starring in the Starz comedy series, Survivor's Remorse.[5][6][7] In 2015, Parris went to star in the satirical drama film Chi-Raq directed by Spike Lee.[8] She received her first NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture nomination for this film.[9] She played the leading role in Where Children Play directed by Leila Djansi, and starred alongside David Oyelowo in Five Nights in Maine.[10][11] Later in 2015, she played R&B/Jazz singer Miki Howard in the biopic The Miki Howard Story.[12]

In 2016, Parris was cast as lead character in the period drama film Buffalo Soldier Girl about a woman who, disguised as a man, enlisted and fought with the African American Post Civil War era as a Buffalo Soldier.[13] In 2017, she was cast in If Beale Street Could Talk, a drama film written and directed by Barry Jenkins.[14] Later that year, she had a recurring role on the Fox prime time soap opera Empire playing Detective Pamela Rose.[15] In early 2018, Parris was cast in a leading role on the CBS drama pilot Murder.[16]



Year Title Role Notes
2010 Empire Corner Alma Short film
2010 Wu is Dead Alma Short film
2010 How Do You Know Riva
2013 A Picture of You Mika
2014 Dear White People Colandrea 'Coco' Conners Black Reel Award for Best Breakthrough Performance
Nominated — Black Reel Award for Best Supporting Actress
2014 They Came Together Wanda
2015 Five Nights in Maine Penelope
2015 Where Children Play Bellissima Mccain
2015 Chi-Raq Lysistrata African-American Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress
Nominated – NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture
Nominated — Black Reel Award for Best Actress
2016 Love Under New Management: The Miki Howard Story Miki Howard Also producer
Nominated — Black Reel Award for Outstanding Actress, TV Movie or Limited Series
Nominated — Black Reel Award for Outstanding TV Movie or Limited Series
2016 90 Days Jessica Short film
Hollywood Film Festival Jury Prize for Exceptional Emerging Artist Acting
2018 If Beale Street Could Talk Ernestine
TBA Point Blank
TBA Twelve Filming


Year Title Role Notes
2010 The Good Wife Melinda Gossett Episode: "Double Jeopardy"
2012–2015 Mad Men Dawn Chambers Recurring role, 22 episodes
Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
2013 CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Karen Branston Episode: "Take the Money and Run"
2014–2017 Survivor's Remorse Missy Vaughn Series regular, 36 episodes
2017 Empire Detective Pamela Rose Recurring role, 6 episodes
2018 Murder Det. Ayana Lake Pilot


  1. ^ a b "'Mad Men' secretary lands a new job with 'Dear White People'". New York Post. Retrieved 25 February 2015.
  2. ^ "Q&A – Teyonah Parris (Dawn)". amc.com. Retrieved 25 February 2015.
  3. ^ "Mad Men: Teyonah Parris Becomes First African American In Mad Men Office". Black Enterprise. Retrieved 25 February 2015.
  4. ^ A. O. SCOTT. "Advanced Course in Diversity:'Dear White People,' About Racial Hypocrisy at a College". The New York Times. Retrieved 25 February 2015.
  5. ^ Tiggett, Jai (23 October 2014). "Interview: Teyonah Parris Tells S&A About Color on TV, Be - Shadow and Act". Shadow and Act. Retrieved 25 February 2015.
  6. ^ "Teyonah Parris on Survivor's Remorse and Mad Men -- Vulture". Vulture. Retrieved 25 February 2015.
  7. ^ Goldberg, Lesley. "'Mad Men' Alum Boards Starz's LeBron James Comedy (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 25 February 2015.
  8. ^ Los Angeles Times (2 December 2015). "Teyonah Parris hopes to 'inspire change' with her role in Spike Lee's 'Chi-Raq'". latimes.com. Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  9. ^ Hipes, Patrick. "NAACP Image Award Nominations 2015 — Full List - Deadline". Deadline. Retrieved 12 January 2016.
  10. ^ Tambay A. Obenson (20 July 2015). "Trailer: Teyonah Parris Toplines Leila Djansi's 'Where Ch - Shadow and Act". Shadow and Act. Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  11. ^ Barker, Andrew. "'Five Nights in Maine' Review: David Oyelowo, Dianne Wiest Mourn a Death in the Family - Variety". Variety. Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  12. ^ Tambay A. Obenson (21 December 2015). "Teyonah Parris Stars in TV One's Original Movie on Life o - Shadow and Act". Shadow and Act. Retrieved 12 January 2016.
  13. ^ Busch, Anita. "Teyonah Parris In Talks To Star In 'Buffalo Soldier Girl'". Deadline. Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  14. ^ "Teyonah Parris in Talks to Join Barry Jenkins' "Moonlight" Follow-Up "If Beale Street Could Talk" (Exclusive)". 25 September 2017. Retrieved 4 March 2018.
  15. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (27 September 2017). "'Empire': Teyonah Parris To Recur In Season 4 Of Fox Series". Retrieved 4 March 2018.
  16. ^ Otterson, Joe (5 February 2018). "Teyonah Parris to Star in CBS Pilot 'Murder'". Retrieved 4 March 2018.

External links

  • Teyonah Parris on IMDb
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