Kimberley Elise has had lots of amazing background roles over the past decade. But she was not considered to be one of Hollywood’s A-Lister’s until 2002. She played Denzel Washington’s opposite in “John Q”, an FBI agent in “Manchurian Candidate”, and one of her most memorable movie, “Woman Thou Art Loosed!” Those three movies made it hard for Hollywood not to take notice of her acting talent.
Born in Minneapolis, Kimberley began acting in her school plays as a child. She did not begin to act professionally until the age of 20. Graduating from American Film Institute (AFI) director’s program in June of 1995, Elise quickly found work, guest starring in shows such as “In the House”, with star LL Cool J and Debbie Allen.
Elise’s first major role was in the movie “Set it Off”. Her breakthrough role was in the 1998 Disney/touchstone movie Beloved. In 2000 she played in “The Loretta Claiborne Story” as Loretta, who was a mentally and physically disabled athlete.
As good of an actress as these movies portrayed Elise casting directors seemed to still pass her over telling her that she was too good for the role. “And that’s very frustrating and disappointing to be told, ‘you’re too good,’ say’s Elise. “But it’s great that there are great directors who fight and who do want a certain quality, and I get to be in really great films because they call.”
Elise has been called the Cicely Tyson of her generation. She never doubted that her talent would see her through. After working so hard to break through those barriers Kimberley now has the strength of her family to help her: Maurice, husband of 15 years, daughter Ajableu, 14, and JalaRose, 6.
Elise has also starred or been in featured in films such as “The Ditchdigger’s Daughter”, “Bait”, and “Bo jangles. All these movies show a different side of Kimberly’s
ability to act.
Elise’s most recent work has been in the film version of Tyler Perry’s “Diary of a Mad Black Woman”, which was originally a play. She says filming...