Regina King is an American film and television actress that is known for her famous roles in television shows like The Leftovers, 24, and Southland. She got her start on the sitcom 227 and one of her big breaks was as a voice actor on the Cartoon Network’s The Boon Docks.


Regina King was born as the elder daughter to proud parents Gloria and Thomas King. Little did they know that their daughter would end up having a film and television career that would span over three decades.,

Born as the royal Regina Rene King, the actress was born in Los Angeles. She is an alumni of Westchester High School and also went to the University of Southern California. She has a beautiful nickname that she goes by, Gina. She is the elder sister of actress, Reina King. Reina birthday is on January 15, 1971.

Acting Career

Regina pursued her dream of being in entertainment by training in acting skills from her coach Betty A. Bridges. The course continued for 10 long years before she debuted on the TV series, 227. In 1985, Regina King started her career off with the role of Brenda Jenkins in the popular sitcom, 227. She played the daughter of Lester and Mary Jenkins in the show. Once the show got finished and was over, it was in the year 1990 when the actress started working full time in movies. She bagged a role in the much acclaimed directorial debut of John Singleton, in the film called Boyz N the Hood in 1991.

Later, in the films Poetic Justice and Higher Learning, King had more experiences of working with the great black director, John Singleton. He was starting to make a name for himself by making smart and social commentary movies about issues that young black people had to deal with. Regina was grateful to be part of the process and it would stay with her for the rest of her career.

King as proved her ability and she was very versatile in her roles. She would act in comedies and drama without any issues. She worked in 1995 on a comedy film Friday which was a black comedy about stoners. Then in the next year, the actress appeared opposite Martin Lawrence in A Thin Line between Love and Hate which was a black romantic comedy.

Getting On a New Street

In an interview with NPR, Regina spoke about one of her most recent notable roles in a new film called “If Beale Street Could Talk”. The film has social commentary themes and is based on a 1974 novel written by James Baldwin. In the film, there are two lovers named Tish and Fonny. The couple have a big challenge ahead of them when Fonny gets arrested from a crime that he did not do.


The film is directed by the great Barry Jenkins who had just won an Oscar for his indie film, Moonlight. In Moonlight, Barry explores the struggles of gay black men as they have to deal with discrimination for their skin color as well as their sexual identity. In his new film with Regina, he casts the veteran actress as Sharon, the mother of Tish.

Regina performed so well in the role, that she won the award for best supporting actress at the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards. She also got a nomination for a Golden Globe Award for her amazing performance.

When asked what drew her to the role of Sharon, Regina said, “First of all, James Baldwin and Barry Jenkins, it really doesn't get better than that, as an email in your inbox, you know? Yeah. So after reading the book and the script, I just felt like here was an opportunity to be a part of a piece that displayed black love in all its different ways, in all the nuances that come along with that.”

The character of Sharon was just too strong for Regina to turn down, “And Sharon just seemed to me to be this woman that, she and her husband Joe created this space that no shame lived there. There was no opportunity for shame to exist within their walls.”

Regina was asked if she often tries to intentionally choose roles with deal with complex social issues and themes, “I don't know how much I'm actively saying, "I just — I've got to find or be a part of a project that has that 'full' feeling." But I will say that I am looking for, being a part of a story where my character is layered. You know, the complexities of being whatever human you are, most recently, just being a black woman in America.”

Regina’s voice is very familiar because she has been all over the place. She is happy that she is a versatile actress, “And the roles that I've played over the past, I'll say, 12 years or so, you know, from Southland on to now, are they are such different women, but they are all a product of their environment. And that product is not simple. It is complex. I feel as I grow as a human being, my capacity to be open to receive roles that are more complex has grown as well.”

Personal Life

Regina was married to Ian Alexander, her former husband in 1997. Ian was the vice president of Warner Bros. They also have a baby boy together. However, both filed for divorce and were separated in 2007. After she parted ways with her husband, the actress dated Malcolm-Jamal Warner, Nicholas Gonzalez, and Curtis Baldwin.

She has bagged many prestigious awards for her performances in various shows and films. Regina King won the NAACP Image Awards many times for her roles in projects like Ray and Southland. She likes to speak out in Hollywood when she thinks that the roles are not diverse enough. She wants to see a change in Hollywood where everyone from every different background is represented instead of just a small profile.

She said there has been times when so often people who have been outspoken about things that are true and they end up losing everything behind doing that. She’s not scared to speak out and risk it all.

Last Modified: Apr 7, 2020

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