Jean Elizabeth Smart, who was born on September 13, 1951, is a renowned American actress. She began her career in regional theater, where she appeared on Broadway in 1981. She also played the role of Marlene Dietrich in the biographical play “Piaf.”
Smart was later cast in a leading role as Charlene Frazier Stillfield in “Designing Women,” in which she starred from 1986 to 1991.
Smart was born and raised in Seattle, Washington. She’s the daughter of Kathleen Marie “Kay” and Douglas Alexander Smart, a teacher.
She is also the second of four siblings. On Season 10 of the television show “Who Do You Think You Are?”
Smart discovered that she is a direct descendant of Dorcas Hoar, one of the last set of women convicted of witchcraft during the Salem witch trials.
She is also a 1969 graduate of Ballard High School in Seattle; it was from there that she gained an interest in acting.
She graduated from the University of Washington Professional Actors Training Program with a BFA. Smart is a member of the University of Washington chapter of the Alpha Delta Pi sorority.
Her Big Break Into Hollywood
Smart earned plaudits for several stage performances throughout the late 1970s. She also earned accolades for several television shows and movies in the early 80s.
These include “The Facts of Life,” “Newhart,” and “Remington Steele.” She was also a frequent face on the short-lived HBO prison drama “Maximum Security.”
Smart had recurring roles in two sitcoms that failed to catch on. One was “Reggie,” which ran for one season in 1983, and the other was “Teacher’s Only,” which ran for a year. Smart played the role of a secretary on both shows.
Despite all these, it was her role as Lil in “Last Summer at Bluefish Cove” that skyrocketed her career. Smart originated the role in the play’s 1980 off-Broadway debut, then reprised it the following year in a Los Angeles production.
While a number of Broadway and off-Broadway plays centered on characters who identify as gay men, lesbian representation in mainstream theater productions were kept at the barest minimum; it was practically nonexistent before Bluefish Cove.
“Women would come six, eight, ten times,” Smart told The New Yorker in a recent interview. “They’d never had themselves represented like that, as normal, charming people.”
In rеturn for outstanding work, Smart hаѕ rесеіvеd mаnу ассоlаdеѕ fоr her successful television career.
Рrіmеtіmе Еmmу Аwаrdѕ nоmіnаtеd Ѕmаrt nіnе tіmеѕ аѕ аn оutсоmе оf hеr wоrk іn tеlеvіѕіоn. Ѕhе won two of thоѕе; one of which was fоr hеr соmеdіс реrfоrmаnсе іn “Frаѕіеr” аѕ а guеѕt ѕtаr. The other award was fоr her rоlе іn “Ѕаmаnthа Whо?”
Іn 2001, ѕhе was nominated for Best Actress fоr hеr rоlе іn “Тhе Mаn Whо Camе To Dіnnеr.” Іn 2000, ѕhе wаѕ nоmіnаtеd fоr thе Іndереndеnt Ѕріrіt Аwаrd fоr hеr rоlе іn “Guіnеvеrе.” Аddіtіоnаllу, ѕhе wаѕ nоmіnаtеd fоr thе Ѕсrееn асtоrѕ Guild Awards tоgеthеr wіth thе еnѕеmblе саѕt оf “24.”
Smart аlѕо rесеіvеd thе Сrіtісs Chоісе Tеlеvіѕіоn Аwаrd fоr hеr rоlе іn “Fаrgо” іn 2015 аnd hеr rolе іn “Wаtсhmеn” in 2020. In 2021, she’s nominated for two Primetime Emmy Awards.
Additionally, her role as Kate Winslet’s mother in the HBO drama “Mare of Easttown” earned her an Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series nod.
Smart was also up for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy for “Hacks.” Her depiction of the Las Vegas comedian Deborah Vance earned rave reviews and helped the HBO Max series get picked up for a second season.
Although Smart has a chance to become a double winner during the September 19 broadcast, critics believe there’s only one category she’ll sweep.
According to Rolling Stone, Smart is the leading contender to take home the Comedy Emmy.
What Is Her Net Worth?
As an award-winning actor, it’s no surprise that Smart is in top demand when it comes to television projects. Over the years, she has amassed vast wealth due to her work in the entertainment industry.
She could command high fees due to her experience in film and television, and wouldn’t be questioned for it. All these and more can allude to her talent because she’s a very talented actress.
Throughout her four decades in Hollywood, Smart not only received lots of accolades and plaudits but a nice salary anytime she appeared on the big screens.
According to CelebrityNetWorth.com, the actress’s net worth is currently estimated to be $10 million.
Smart met her husband, Richard Gilliland when the latter guest-starred in “Designing Women.”
The duo got married in 1987 and both had parts in season five of “24” while they were married. While Smart played First Lady Martha Logan, Gilliland played Captain Stan Cotter.
The couple shares a son, Connor Douglas Gilliland, who was born on October 25, 1989. They also have a daughter, Bonnie Kathleen Gilliland, who was adopted from China in May 2009.
Per her health, Smart suffers from type 1 diabetes but always stays on top of her health. She was diagnosed with this incurable condition at the age of 13.
It is something that she has lived with and managed ever since. She seldom discusses her condition during interviews.