Octavia Spencer is a contemporary African American actress. She is recognized for her role in the film, The Help, as an outspoken maid. For her remarkable performance she won the prestigious Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress and the Golden Globe Award among other accolades.
Born on May 25, 1970, Octavia Lenora Spencer grew up in Montgomery, Alabama. Though her mother was a maid, Spencer managed to lift herself out of poverty and graduated from Jefferson Davis High School. After graduation she went on to study drama at Auburn University and earned a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts. When she was nineteen she interned on the set of The Long Walk Home. She finally made her debut as a nurse in the film based on John Grisham’s book, A Time to Kill. Originally she was hired to work on film casting, but later she auditioned for a small role in the film.
Spencer did some minor roles in the movies such as Bad Santa, Never Been Kissed, Win a Date with Tad Hamilton! and Spider-Man. Moreover she made a numerous guest appearance in television series including Wizards of Waverly Place, The Big Bang Theory, Titus and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. She is recognized for her role in Halfway Home and Ugly Betty as Serenity Johnson and Constance Grady, respectively. In 2003, Spencer went to theater and did her first stage performance in, The Trials and Tribulations of a Trailer Trash Housewife. In an interview with Back Stage Magazine she told them that it was her first and only stage performance as she suffered from ‘stage fright’.
Subsequently, Octavia Spencer was casted in a critically praised short film of Tate Taylor’s Chicken Party. And then she made a brief appearance in a highly lauded film Seven Pounds, as Rosario Dawson’s home care nurse, Kate. In 2009 she made to the list of 25 Funniest Actresses in Hollywood, complied by Entertainment Weekly. The same year she starred in Halloween II by Rob Zombie and accepted a role offered in the Danish classic Love at First Hiccup’s American remake which also starred Scout Taylor-Compton. Besides, she played a role in a web series-turned feature film Herpes Boy.
Spencer took up a life-changing role when she signed for the film based on Kathryn Stockett’s bestseller novel, The Help. The film cast comprised the Hollywood A-listers cast such as Emma Stone, Viola Davis and Bryce Dallas Howard. Her character was of a twentieth century feisty and unflappable domestic help, Minny Jackson. The motion picture was produced by Chris Columbus, Michael Barnathan and directed by Tate Taylor. The Help became one of the critically acclaimed films of 2011 and also garnered great praise for Spencer’s character. After being nominated for several awards, she received the prestigious 2012 Golden Globe Award, the Academy Award and a BAFTA in the category of Best Supporting Actress.
Lately Octavia Spencer had been seen in the biopic of singer James Brown, titled Get On Up (2014), also directed by Tate Taylor. Moreover, Steven Spielberg has casted her in his Fox television series Red Band Society, premiered in September 2014. She is starring in the latest installment of worldwide phenomenon Divergent series, titled Insurgent, playing a supporting character, Johanna Reyes. The film is set to come out in March 2015.