American actress Penny Johnson Jerald portrayed Beverly Barnes on the HBO comedy series “The Larry Sanders Show” (1992-1998), from which she netted a Best Supporting Actress nomination at the 1998 Image Awards, Kasidy Yates in the syndicated science fiction series “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” (1995-1999) and the master manipulator Sherry Palmer on Fox's “24” (2001-2004). She shared a SAG nomination for her work on “24.” Jerald also portrayed recurring roles on “ER” (1998-1999), “Eve” (2005-2006), “The 4400” (2007), “October Road.” (2007-2008) and “NCIS: Naval Criminal Investigative Service” (2009-2010) and regular roles in “The Paper Chase” (1984-1986) and “Homeroom” (1989). Her film credits include “Swing Shift” (1984), “The Hills Have Eyes, Part II” (1985), “What's Love Got to Do with It” (1993), “Absolute Power” (1997) and “Rent” (2005).
Jerald and her musician husband, Gralin Jerald, whom she married in 1982, founded the Outreach Christian Theater Company in 1994. In addition to teaching acting workshops, she also produces and directs for the company. Jerald and her husband are the producers of an album called “400 Years.”
Childhood and Family:
Penny Johnson Jerald was born Penny Johnson on March 14, 1961, in Baltimore, Maryland. Her parents' names are Norman and Alice. She knew she wanted to become an actress at an early age and when she was 13, lied about her age and enrolled at the Central Stage Theater in Baltimore. She went on to perform in a traveling ensemble with the Baltimore based Theatre Project. Her skills included mime, juggling and eating fire. Several years later, she was accepted into the prestigious Juilliard School.
Penny has been married to her husband Gralin Jerald, a jazz musician, since 1982. The couple has one daughter named Danyel.
The Larry Sanders Show
Penny Johnson Jerald made her professional acting debut when she landed the role of Jill Hatch in the TV film “The Files on Jill Hatch” (1983). She soon made the jump to the big screen with a small part in “Swing Shift” (1984), a film starring Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell that was directed by Jonathan Demme. It was followed by an appearance in Wes Craven's “The Hills Have Eyes, Part II” (1985), a sequel to the 1977 classic “The Hill Have Eyes.” In between the films, Jerald worked on a string of television projects, such as “The Impostor” (ABC, 1984), “The Grand Baby,” “T.J. Hooker” and “Hill Street Blues.”
In 1984, Jerald won the role of university law student Vivian Conway in the Showtime revival of the late '70s CBS series “The Paper Chase” titled “The Paper Chase: The Second Year,” a role she would keep until 1986. In 1986, she joined the cast of the popular soap opera “General Hospital,” playing Debbie. After appearing in episodes of “Women in Prison” (1987), “The Cosby Show” (1988), “Simon & Simon” (1988), “Tour of Duty” (1989) and “She's the Sheriff” (1989), she was cast in the lead role of Virginia Harper on the short lived ABC sitcom “Homeroom” (1989), opposite Darryl Sivad and Bill Cobbs.
In 1990, Jerald was reunited with Wes Craven for the director's television film “Night Visions,” where she costarred as Luanne. It originally aired on NBC on November 30, 1990. The same year, she also worked with Jaclyn Smith, Perry King and Patricia Kalember in the television movie adaptation of Danielle Steel's novel “Kaleidoscope” and guest starred in “Freddy's Nightmares,” “Coach” and “Parker Lewis.” The next year, she returned to the big screen with a supporting role in Paul Leder's “Goin' to Chicago” (1991), starring Cleavon Little. The film won a Best Feature Film Award for Best Picture at the 1990 Santa Barbara International Film Festival.
In 1992, Jerald enjoyed her first real success when she landed the role of Beverly Barnes on the hit comedy series “The Larry Sanders Show,” starring comedian Garry Shandling. The show ran on HBO from August 15, 1992, to May 31, 1998, and won a number of awards, including three Emmy Awards, five CableACE Awards, four American Comedy Awards, two British Comedy Awards, a BAFTA and Satellite Award. In 1998, Jerald was nominated for an Image Award in the category of Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her performance.
During her stint on the show, Jerald portrayed Lavinia in the TV film “Class of '61” (1993), which was directed by Gregory Hoblit, supported Kate Jackson, Lori Loughlin and Eriq La Salle in Paul Schneider’s “Empty Cradle” (ABC, 1993) and played Laney Roosevelt in the award winning TV film “The Road to Galveston” (1996, opposite Cicely Tyson, Piper Laurie and Tess Harper). She also costarred with Peter Horton, Carrie Snodgress and Wendy Makkena in the based on book “Death Benefit” (1996) and appeared with Lena Stolze, Martin Glyn Murray and Bill Paterson in the BBC TV film “The Writing on the Wall” (1996). Her TV credits include guest stints in “Star Trek: The Next Generation” (1994), “Grace Under Fire” (2 episodes, 1996), “Cosby” (1997) and “The Gregory Hines Show” (1997). Jerald, however, did not gain further popularity until she began her recurring role of freighter captain Kasidy Yates, the love interest for Benjamin Sisko, in the hit show “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” in 1995. She would go on to play the role until the show's end in 1999. On the wide screen, she was cast as Re-Re in the 1993 comedy “Fear of a Black Hat,” which was directed and written by Rusty Cundieff, Lorraine Taylor in Brian Gibson's Oscar nominated “What's Love Got to Do with It” (1993), as Maria in “Molly & Gina” (1994), and Julia Rodriguez in “Automatic” (1995), which was directed by John Murlowsky and starred Angela Bassett and Laurence Fishburne. In Clint Eastwood's “Absolute Power” (1997), she had the supporting role of Laura Simon. Adapted from the 1996 novel of the same name by David Baldacci, the political thriller received mixed reviews from critics and did not perform well at the box office. After “The Larry Sanders Show” left the airwaves, Jerald joined the cast of the NBC popular medical series “ER” in the role of Nurse Practitioner Lynette Evans. She was on the show during 1998 and 1999.
During the late 1990s to early 2000s, Jerald worked in several made for TV films, including “A Secret Life” (1999), “The Test of Love” (1999), “The Color of Friendship” (2000), “Deliberate Intent” (2000), “DC 9/11: Time of Crisis” (2003) and “Secrets of the International Spy Museum” (2004). She also guest starred in the television series “Family Law” (2000), “The X-Files” (2001), “The Practice” (2001), “Citizen Baines” (2001), “Touched by an Angel” (2003) and “Frasier” (2004). However, Jerald did not get her most acknowledged role until she was cast as Sherry Palmer, the evil wife of President David Palmer (portrayed by Dennis Haysbert), on the Fox critically acclaimed series “24,” starring Kiefer Sutherland. She appeared in 45 episodes of the series (2001-2004) and earned a Screen Actors Guild nomination for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series.
After leaving “24,” Jerald received a recurring role on the UPN sitcom “Eve” (4 episodes, 2005-2006) and played Rebecca Parrish in three episodes of the science fiction series “The 4400” (2007). During 2007 to 2008, she portrayed the recurring role of Dean Etwood in the ABC series “October Road,” which starred Bryan Greenberg, Laura Prepon, Geoff Stults and Tom Berenger, among other actors. Meanwhile, Jerald also had an unaccredited part in the film version of the Pulitzer and Tony Award winning musical “Rent” (2005), which was directed by Chris Columbus, portrayed Condoleezza Rice in the Emmy Award winning TV movie “The Path to 9/11” (2006), starring Harvey Keitel, Michael Benyaer and Wendy Crewson, and appeared as Ms. Booker in an episode of “Law & Order” called “Choice of Evils” (2006).
Jerald next played Joanne Torrence in two episodes of “NCIS: Naval Criminal Investigative Service” called “Endgame” (2009) and “Flesh and Blood” (2010). In addition, she portrayed Rachel Adams in an episode of “Bones” called “The X in the File,” which aired on January 14, 2010.