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S. Epatha Merkerson

A native of Michigan, S. Epatha Merkerson earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from Wayne State University. In 1978, she moved to New York City to apply her craft on stage. Although best known since 1993 as the smart and shrewd Lieutenant Anita Van Buren on the long-running TV crime drama Law & Order (1990), she has a long list of Broadway ... See full bio »

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Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 11 wins & 22 nominations. See more awards »

Known For


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Hide Hide Show Show Actress: TV (34 credits)
 2015 Chicago Med (TV Series) (announced)
Sharon Goodwin
- Pilot (2015) ... Sharon Goodwin
 2015 Being Mary Jane (TV Series)
Mark's Mother
- Freedom (2015) ... Mark's Mother
 2014 The Gabby Douglas Story (TV Movie)
Miss Caroline
 2013 Deception (TV Series)
- I'll Start with the Hillbilly (2013) ... Beverly
- You're the Bad Guy (2013) ... Beverly
- Good Luck with Your Death (2013) ... Beverly
 2013 Boomerang (TV Movie)
 2012 Drop Dead Diva (TV Series)
Judge Hiller
- Lady Parts (2012) ... Judge Hiller
 2009 Great Performances (TV Series)
 1999-2008 American Masters (TV Series documentary)
Narrator / Eslanda Robeson
- Zora Neale Hurston: Jump at the Sun (2008) ... Narrator
- Paul Robeson: Here I Stand (1999) ... Eslanda Robeson (voice)
 2007 The Closer (TV Series)
Dr. Rebecca Dioli
- Culture Shock (2007) ... Dr. Rebecca Dioli
- Manhunt (2007) ... Dr. Rebecca Dioli
- Four to Eight (2007) ... Dr. Rebecca Dioli
 2007 Girl, Positive (TV Movie)
Ariel Winters
 2005 Lackawanna Blues (TV Movie)
Rachel "Nanny" Crosby
 2001 A Girl Thing (TV Movie)
Lani (Co-worker)
 2000 Frasier (TV Series)
Dr. McCaskill
- Dark Side of the Moon (2000) ... Dr. McCaskill
 1998 An Unexpected Life (TV Movie)
Beverly Hawkins
 1996 Breaking Through (TV Movie)
 1995 A Mother's Prayer (TV Movie)
 1994 A Place for Annie (TV Movie)
 1993 South Beach (TV Series)
Madam Bouchard
- I Witness (1993) ... Madam Bouchard
 1993 It's Nothing Personal (TV Movie)
Louise Waters
 1992 ABC Afterschool Specials (TV Series)
Ruth Clayton
- Summer Stories: The Mall - Part 2 (1992) ... Ruth Clayton
 1990 Moe's World (TV Movie)
Moe's Mother
 1990 Equal Justice (TV Series)
Mrs. Walters
- Pilot (1990) ... Mrs. Walters
 1989 CBS Summer Playhouse (TV Series)
- Elysian Fields (1989) ... Jimmie
 1988 The Cosby Show (TV Series)
- Bookworm (1988) ... Elena
Show Show Actress: Movie (18 credits)
Show Show Actress: Video Game (2 credits)
Show Show Actress: Short (1 credit)
Show Show Director: Movie (1 credit)
Show Show Producer: Movie (1 credit)
Show Show Soundtrack: Movie (1 credit)
Show Show Thanks: TV (1 credit)
Show Show Self: TV (44 credits)
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Personal Details

Other Works:

Stage: Appeared (as "Lola") in the William Inge play "Come Back, Little Sheba" at the Biltmore Theater on Broadway. Revival. and in its Los Angeles showing at the Kirk Douglas Theater. See more »

Publicity Listings:

5 Articles | 1 Magazine Cover Photo | See more »

Alternate Names:

Epatha Merkerson | Epatha Merkinson


5' 6" (1.68 m)

Did You Know?

Personal Quote:

My dad said he had a teacher named Epatha who was influential in keeping him in school. But my mother said it was an old girlfriend of his. So that's why she stuck in the Sharon Epatha. That's what the "S" stands for. Everyone knows now because some numbskull I went to high school with decided to put it on the Internet. See more »


Has been nominated twice for the Helen Hayes Award, first in 1990 for "The Piano Lesson" (Outstanding Lead Actress-Nonresident Production) and in 1999 for "The Old Settler" (Outstanding Lead Actress-Resident Play), for which she won the award. See more »

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Agnostic? Atheist? tim_d_williamson
Wasn't she on Law + Order NOT as Lt. Van Buren? imamc_scouts2
RACIST TRIVIA?! janelleknd
Golden Globe Win! midian-6
Wayne State Golden327
S. Epatha Merkelson inloveman123003
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