Though TV audiences knew Lisa Gay Hamilton best for her roles on shows like "The Practice" (ABC, 1997-2004) and "Chance" (Hulu, 2016-), the seasoned actor had been appearing on both stage and screen for decades by the time she made her mark on television. Born in Los Angeles in 1964, Hamilton's family eventually relocated to the east coast, where she began taking private acting classes in Manhattan during junior high school. She earned a BA in drama from the Tisch School of the Arts in 1985, the same year she appeared in the movie "Krush Groove" (1985). After making her Broadway debut in the original production of August Wilson's Pulitzer Prize-winning play "The Piano Lesson" in 1990 and an earning an Obie Award for her role in Athol Fugard's "Valley Song" in 1993, Hamilton enrolled at the Juilliard School and completed an MFA in acting. She would play Rebecca Washington on "The Practice" from 1997 to 2003, and soon got to work directing her Peabody award winning documentary "Beah: A Black Woman Speaks" (2004). She would co-star in John Sayles' "The Honeydripper" (2007), winning the part after attending her audition in full period costume, and soon found a number of high caliber TV roles awaiting her, playing Melissa on the comedy-drama "Men of a Certain Age" (TNT, 2009-2011), and the Hugh Laurie procedural "Chance."
Cast (Feature Film)
Misc. Crew (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Made film debut in "Krush Groove"
Made her Broadway debut in the original production of August Wilson's Pulitzer Prize-winning play "The Piano Lesson."
Played Isabella opposite Kevin Kline in the New York Shakespeare Festival production of "Measure for Measure."
Earned an Obie Award for her role in Athol Fugard's "Valley Song."
Featured in Terry Gilliam's "12 Monkeys"
Gained notice for her role in "Drunks" (first aired on Showtime; later shown in limited theatrical release)
Played the small-town transplant Sheronda in Quentin Tarantino's "Jackie Brown."
Played Rebecca Washington on "The Practice."
Portrayed the younger version of Oprah Winfrey's character in Johnathan Demme's film adaptation of Toni Morrison's "Beloved"
Played Ophelia in a modern TV adaptation of "Hamlet."
Cast as Captain Lorna Shiro in "The Sum of All Fears"
Re-teamed with director Johnathan Demme to portray Lola in "The Truth About Charlie"
Directed and won a Peabody Award for her documentary "Beah: A Black Woman Speaks."
Cast in the ensemble feature "Nine Lives," a series of vignettes directed by Rodrigo García, offering glimpses into the lives of nine women
Published the children's book "Keep Climbing Girls," based on a poem by actress Beah Richards
Co-starred in the John Sayles drama "The Honeydripper."
Earned acclaim for her performance in the off-Broadway play "The Ohio State Murders."
Played Melissa on the one-hour drama "Men of a Certain Age."
Featured in the film "Beastly," a retelling of the fairy tale <i>Beauty and the Beast</i>
Cast in the drama "Take Shelter," opposite Michael Shannon and Jessica Chastain
Took on the role of Suzanne on the series "Chance"
Played the recurring role of Celia on the political drama "House of Cards"
Co-starred on Hulu space travel drama "The First"