PROFILE
Name:
CCH Pounder
Birth Date:
December 25, 1952
Birth Place:
Guyana
Height:
5' 6½" (1.69 m)
Famous for:
Her role in TV series ER
BIOGRAPHY
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The Shield

Background:

“With acting, I started very young, and I’d performed for a lot of children in boarding schools, late at night after the dormitory lights were out. I’d have a flashlight, and I’d be Count Dracula, or Shakespeare, or Yogi Bear, and leap from bunk to bunk. I loved the laughter; I liked the way it made people feel.” CCH Pounder

Guyana-born actress CCH Pounder, born Carol Christine Hilaria Pounder, is best known for her portrayal of Detective Claudette Wyms in the critically acclaimed FX series “The Shield” (2002-?), where she won two Golden Satellite Awards, as well as received an Emmy and three NAACP Image nominations. Other great compliments for the applauded performer include a NAACP nod for her recurring role in “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” (2001,2004, 2005), an Emmy and two NAACP Image nods for her long-running recurring role in the NBC series “ER” (1994-1997) and an Emmy nomination for her notable guest appearance in “The X Files” (1994). Additionally, she was handed a Black Reel Award for her scene-stealing role of Winnie Mandela in television movie film Redemption: The Stan Tookie Williams Story (2004).

On the wide screen, CCH made her film debut with 1979’s award-winning All That Jazz, and scored massive victory with the highly successful Bagdad Café/ Out of Rosenheim (1987). Since then, CCH made periodic movie appearance to fully focus on her TV career. Among her film projects are Postcards from the Edge (1990), Face/Off (1997), End of Days (1999) and Baby of the Family (2002).

“It’s like the theater. When you see someone on the street wearing a necklace you designed – it’s immediate gratification and the applause comes from the inside.” CCH Pounder

Off camera, the recipient of the 1997 Institute of Caribbean Studies’ Excellence in the Art Award is a jewelry designer. She makes one-of-a-kind jewelry, featuring African beads and European crystal and glass, and has expanded a following among Hollywood superstars and is sold throughout the country. As a humanitarian, she actively participated in “Artists for a New South Africa,” a nonprofit organization devoted to fighting the African AIDS pandemic and progressing democracy and equality in South Africa. Headquartered in Los Angeles, the association currently has 1,200 supporters nationwide.


Carol Christine Hilaria Pounder

Childhood and Family:

Daughter of Ronald Pounder (died of cancer in 1984) and Betsy Pounder, Carol Christine Hilaria Pounder, most popular as CCH Pounder, was born on Christmas Day 1952 in Guyana, and raised on a sugar cane plantation. When her parents relocated to the Unites States, she along with her sister, Shelley, were sent to a convent boarding school in Sussex, England. There, she was introduced to painting, poetry and drama, most particularly the classics. After high school graduation, CCH went to Hastings College of Arts in Sussex, but immediately quit to join her parents in America. She then attended Ithaca College in New York where her acting talents were discovered.

In 1991, CCH tied the knot with Senegalese anthropologist Boubacar Kone (born in 1942) in an African ceremony in Dakar, Senegal. They again remarried at a traditional Los Angeles event six months later. His husband is the creator of The Boribana Museum in Dakar, Senegal for the study of cultures of the African Diaspora.


Redemption

Career:

“Regional Theater gave me a chance to do the classics and the experimental new plays. It also gave me a chance to grow as an actress.” CCH Pounder

A Student of New York’s Ithaca College, CCH Pounder came to the attention of a professor from the drama department who encouraged CCH to try her hands in regional theater following college graduation. She then moved to Monmouth, Maine and the Shakespeare Theater, and teamed up with such actors as Bill Cobb, Denzel Washington and Morgan Freeman in Louisville, Kentucky, New York City and the Milwaukee Repertory Theater. During a seven-year tenure in theater, CCH performed in several Broadway and off-Broadway plays, including “Open Admissions” (her Broadway debut), “The Mighty Gents” and “Mumbo Jumbo.”Before heading for Hollywood in early 1980s, CCH made her feature acting debut with a small part as a nurse in the award-winning All That Jaz (1979) for director Bob Fosse.

CCH followed it up with bit parts in films, most notably as Anne in Jack Hoffsis’ I’m Dancing as Fast as I Can (1982) that led to her being cast in her landmark role of Brenda, a brave, highly overworked mother of four who manages a truck stop in Nevada and becomes implausible friends with an inexperienced plump German tourist in Percy Adlon’s Bagdad Café/ Out of Rosenheim (1987). Premiered in Paris, the art-house film was a darling on several top ten film lists.

Despite the success, CCH chose to concentrate primarily on her television career after appearances in “Hill Street Blues” and “Cagney & Lacey” (1986), and quickly worked her way up the television ladder to series regular on the short-lived Fox comedy “Women in Prison” in 1987. She then appeared in guest roles on many popular shows like “Quantum Leap,” “Miami Vice” (both 1990)” and in a recurring role in “L.A. Law” (1986, 1990, 1992), as well as made several television movies and miniseries such as As Summers Die (1986), Murder in Mississippi (1990), The Ernest Green Story (1993), “Biker Mice from Mars (1993) and “Return to Lonesome Dove” (1993), among others.

For her memorable guest appearance as Lucy Kazdin, a cynical FBI agent administering a wacky hostage crisis in an episode of “The X Files” (1994), CCH was nominated an Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series. However, she did not gain many accolades until she landed the recurring role of surgeon Dr. Angela Hicks in the NBC medical series “ER,” a job she held down from 1994 to 1997. Impressing playing her part, CCH received Image nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series in 1996 and in 1998, as well as a 1997 Emmy nod for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series. She also played the recurring role of Cheryl Andrews in the series “Millennium” during 1996–1998 periods.

In between her hectic television schedule, CCH sporadically made silver screen films. Throughout the 1990s, she maintained her presence by appearing in such projects as Postcards from the Edge (1990), the misbegotten Sliver and RoboCop 3 (both 1993), Demon Knight (1995), Face/Off (1997, starred John Travolta and Nicholas Cage), Melting Pot (1997) and End of Days (1999, with Arnold Schwarzenegger).

Entering the new millennium, CCH guest starred in “The West Wing,” “Rude Awakening,” “The Outer Limits” (all 2000), “The Practice,” “Strong Medicine” “The District” (all 2001) and “Static Shock” (20001-2002, voice of Mayor), and had roles in the made-for-television films Cora Unashamed (2000), Disappearing Acts (2000), the HBO drama Boycott (2001, along side Jeffrey Wright and Terrence Howard). She also appeared in movies Things Behind the Sun (2001, as a judge), The Big Day (2001), Baby of the Family (2002) and Tèt Grenné (2002).

In 2002, CCH, who typically cast as police officers, doctors, scientists, politicians or similar women of authority, landed a co-starring role opposite Benito Martinez, Michael Chiklis and Walton Goggin in the FX series “The Shield.” As Claudette Wyms, a melancholic yet morally uncorruptable police detective, CCH won two Golden Satellites for Best Performance by an Actress in 2003 and in 2004. She also received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in 2005 and three NAACP Image nominations for Outstanding Actress in 2003, 2004 and 2006.

While working on “The Shield,” CCH also enjoyed success with her supporting role of Winnie Mandela, opposite Jamie Foxx, in the drama-made-for-TV film Redemption: The Stan Tookie Williams Story (2004), where she took home a Black Reel for Best Supporting Actress. Besides, she earned a 2002 Image nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for playing recurring role attorney Carolyn Maddox in “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” (2001,2004, 2005).Her voice could also be heard as Amanda Waller in the animation series “Justice League” (2004-2006).


Awards:

  • Black Reel: Best Supporting Actress, Network/Cable Television, Redemption: The Stan Tookie Williams Story, 2005
  • Golden Satellite: Best Performance by an Actress in a Series, Drama, The Shield, 2004
  • Golden Satellite: Best Performance by an Actress in a Series, Drama, The Shield, 2003
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