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Khandi Alexander

Khandi Alexander
Alexander in 2014
Born September 4, 1957 (age 57)
New York City, New York, USA
Occupation Actress, dancer, choreographer
Years active 1985–present

Khandi Alexander (born September 4, 1957) is an American dancer, choreographer, and actress. She is best known for the roles of Dr. Alexx Woods in the CBS police procedural series CSI: Miami, as LaDonna Batiste-Williams in HBO drama Treme, and as Catherine Duke in NBC sitcom NewsRadio. She also had a major recurring roles in NBC medical drama ER as Jackie Robbins, sister to Dr. Peter Benton, and as Maya Lewis, Olivia Pope's mother in ABC drama Scandal. Alexander also received critical acclaim for her performance in the HBO miniseries The Corner in 2000.


  • Early life 1
  • Career 2
  • Filmography 3
    • Film 3.1
    • Television 3.2
  • Awards and nominations 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Early life

Khandi Alexander was born in New York City, the daughter of Alverina Yavonna (Masters), an opera and jazz singer, and Henry Roland Alexander, who owned a construction company.[1][2][3] She was educated at Queensborough Community College.[4] She appeared on Broadway, starring in Chicago, Bob Fosse's Dancin, and Dreamgirls.[4] She was a choreographer for Whitney Houston's world tour from 1988–1992, and also appeared as a dancer in Natalie Cole's video for "Pink Cadillac" in 1988.[5]


Alexander in 2013

Alexander began her acting career in the late 1980s. She made her television debut on the 1985 sketch-comedy show FTV.[4] Since the early 1990s, Alexander has concentrated on film and TV, playing supporting roles in several movies, including CB4, Joshua Tree, What's Love Got to Do with It, Poetic Justice, and Sugar Hill.

In 1995, Alexander was cast as Catherine Duke on the NBC comedy series NewsRadio. She stayed with the show until season 4 episode 7, Catherine Moves On. She played the recurring character of Jackie Robbins in medical drama series ER. Alexander has made a number of guest appearances on other television shows, including Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, NYPD Blue, Third Watch, Cosby, Better off Ted, La Femme Nikita, and Body of Proof.

In 2000, Alexander won critical acclaim for her performance as Fran Boyd, a mother addicted to drugs in the Emmy Award-winning HBO miniseries The Corner.[5][6][7] She later appeared in the films Emmett's Mark and Dark Blue, and starred opposite Rob Lowe in the Lifetime television movie Perfect Strangers. In 2002 through 2008, she portrayed the character of Alexx Woods, a medical examiner in the CBS police drama CSI: Miami. Alexander left CSI: Miami shortly before the end of the 2007-2008 season. Her final appearance aired on May 5, 2008. On February 2, 2009, she returned to the role of Alexx Woods for a guest appearance in the episode "Smoke Gets In Your CSI's".[8] She returned again as Alexx Woods in guest appearances in the episodes "Out of Time" on September 21, 2009 and "Bad Seed" on October 19, 2009.

In fall 2008, Alexander was cast as a lead character in the HBO drama pilot, Treme, that premiered on April 11, 2010.[8] She played a bar owner in a neighborhood of New Orleans affected by the storm Katrina. She received critical acclaim for her performance in the show.[9][10] Alexander starred in the award-winning HBO television series by David Simon from 2010 to 2013.[11] The series ended after four seasons.[12] She later was cast in Shonda Rhimes's drama series Scandal as Kerry Washington's character's evil mother.[13][14][15] In 2014, Alexander was cast as older sister of Queen Latifah' character in the HBO Film about iconic blues singer Bessie Smith.[16][17]



Year Film Role Notes
1985 Streetwalkin Star
1985 A Chorus Line Dancer
1987 Maid to Order Hooker in Jail
1993 CB4 Sissy
1993 Joshua Tree Maralena Turner
1993 Menace II Society Karen Lawson
1993 What's Love Got to Do with It Darlene
1993 Shameful Secrets Rosalie Television film
1993 Poetic Justice Simone
1994 Sugar Hill Ella Skuggs
1994 House Party 3 Janelle
1994 To My Daughter with Love Harriet Television film
1994 Greedy Laura Densmore, P.I.
1996 Terminal Dr. Deborah Levy Television film
1996 No Easy Way Diana Campbell
1998 There's Something About Mary Joanie
1999 Thick as Thieves Janet
1999 Spawn 3: Ultimate Battle Lakesha / Nurse Voice
2002 Fool Proof Icarus
2002 Emmett's Mark Det. Middlestat
2002 Dark Blue Janelle Holland
2004 Perfect Strangers Christie Kaplan
2006 Rain Latishia Arnold
2007 First Born Dierdre
2013 The-N-word Ms. Greene Short film
2014 The Assault Detective Jodi Miller
2014 Bessie Viola


Year Title Role Notes
1985 FTV Various
1987 Rags to Riches The Delights Episode: "Pilot"
1988 Duet Nurse Episode: "Special Delivery"
1989 A Different World Theressa Stone Episode: "Citizen Wayne"
1995–1998 NewsRadio Catherine Duke Series regular, 59 episodes
1995–2001 ER Jackie Robbins Recurring role, 29 episodes
1998 La Femme Nikita Terry Episode: "Soul Sacrifice"
1999 Cosby Karen Episode: "The Awful Truth"
1999 NYPD Blue Sonya Episode: "What's Up, Chuck?"
1999 Partners Charlie TV pilot
2000 Rude Awakening Juanita Wilson Episode: "Star 80 Proof"
2000 The Corner Denise Francine 'Fran' Boyd TV miniseries
2000 Third Watch Beverly Saunders Episode: "History"
2001 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Sgt. Karen Smythe Episode: "Paranoia"
2002 CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Dr. Alexx Woods Episode: "Cross Jurisdictions"
2002–2008, 2009 CSI: Miami Dr. Alexx Woods Series regular, 145 episodes
2009 Better Off Ted Stella Clifton Episode: "Battle of the Bulbs"
2010–2013 Treme LaDonna Batiste-Williams Series regular, 36 episodes
2012 Body of Proof Beverly Travers Episodes: "Occupational Hazards" and "Identity"
2013–present Scandal Maya Lewis Recurring role, 11 episodes

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Work Result
1998 NAACP Image Award Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series NewsRadio Nominated
2000 Online Film & Television Association Best Actress in a Motion Picture or Miniseries The Corner Nominated
2001 NAACP Image Award Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special The Corner Nominated
2001 Black Reel Awards Best Actress The Corner Won
2002 NAACP Image Award Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Nominated
2003 DVD Exclusive Awards Best Actress Emmett's Mark Nominated
2005 NAACP Image Award Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series CSI: Miami Won
2006 NAACP Image Award Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series CSI: Miami Nominated
2005 NAACP Image Award Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series CSI: Miami Nominated
2011 Vision Award Best Performance - Drama Treme Won
2012 NAACP Image Award Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series Treme Nominated
2013 NAACP Image Award Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series Treme Nominated
2014 NAACP Image Award Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series Treme Nominated
2014 Vision Award Best Performance - Drama Treme Nominated


  1. ^
  2. ^ Stated on Finding Your Roots, PBS, October 14, 2014
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b c "Khandi Alexander Biography". Retrieved 2013-12-18. 
  5. ^ a b Khandi Alexander- Biography
  6. ^ Fretts, Bruce (2000-12-22). "Khandi Alexander". Retrieved 2013-12-18. 
  7. ^ Als, Hilton. "The Talk of the Town: The Small Screen Making "The Corner" Real". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2013-12-18. 
  8. ^ a b "Exclusive: Khandi Alexander Pays CSI: Miami a Visit - Today's News: Our Take". 2008-12-01. Retrieved 2013-12-18. 
  9. ^ "Cheers & Jeers: Treme's Khandi (Alexander) is Dandy - Today's News: Our Take". 2011-07-05. Retrieved 2013-12-18. 
  10. ^ Treme': Khandi Alexander, as LaDonna Batiste-Williams, has no time for your problems -"'". 2010-04-25. Retrieved 2013-12-18. 
  11. ^ Michael O'Connell, Khandi Alexander on the End of 'Treme' and Rebuilding LaDonna, The Hollywood Reporter, September 23, 2012
  12. ^ "‘Treme’ Season 4: Final episodes bring hope and struggle to New Orleans - Zap2it". Retrieved 2013-11-06. 
  13. ^ 17 HRS (2011-11-17). Scandal' Casts 'Treme' Star to Play Olivia's Mother (Exclusive)"'". Retrieved 2013-11-06. 
  14. ^ "Khandi Alexander Will Play Olivia Pope's Mother On 'Scandal' | Shadow and Act". Retrieved 2013-11-06. 
  15. ^ Slezak, Michael. "Scandal Season 3: Khandi Alexander Cast as Olivia’s Mother — Is She Alive?". TVLine. Retrieved 2013-11-06. 
  16. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (1970-01-01). "Mo’Nique & Khandi Alexander Join HBO Films' Bessie Smith Biopic". Retrieved 2014-05-22. 
  17. ^ "Mo’Nique & Khandi Alexander Join Queen Latifah In Bessie Smith Biopic|Shadow and Act". Retrieved 2014-05-22. 

External links

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