Anna Deavere Smith

Anna Deavere Smith

Aspen Institute Trustee , Institute on Arts and Civic Dialogue

Anna Deavere Smith, actress/playwright, is said to have created a new form of theater. Prizes include a MacArthur fellowship, the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Award, two Tony nominations, two Obies and others. She was runner-up for the Pulitzer Prize for her play Fires in the Mirror. She has created over 15 one-person shows based on hundreds of interviews, most of which deal with social issues. Twilight Los Angeles, about the Los Angeles race riots of 1992, was performed around the country and on Broadway. Her most recent one-person show Let Me Down Easy, focused on health care in the US. Three of her plays have been broadcast on American Playhouse and Great Performances (PBS). In popular culture you have seen her in Nurse Jackie, The West Wing, The American President, Rachel Getting Married, Philadelphia, others. Books include “Letters to A Young Artist” and “Talk to Me: Listening Between the Lines.” She has received several honorary degrees: among them those from Juilliard, University of Pennsylvania, Spelman, Williams, Northwestern, and Radcliffe. She serves on the boards of the Museum of Modern Art, The Aspen Institute and Grace Cathedral, San Francisco. She received the Dean’s Medal from Stanford Medical School. She is University Professor at NYU.