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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 12 wins & 23 nominations. See more awards »

Known For

Law & Order
Law & Order Anita Van Buren / Denise Winters
(1991-2010)
Terminator 2: Judgment Day
(1991)
Black Snake Moan
(2006)
Lackawanna Blues
Lackawanna Blues Rachel "Nanny" Crosby
(2005)

Filmography

Hide Hide Show Show Actress (56 credits)
  Sexual Healing (announced)
Alberta Gay
 2016 You Can Go (Short)
Mrs. Bryant
 2016 Year by the Sea
Liz
 2015/I The Challenger
Jada
 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)
Beverly
- 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
 1991-2010 Law & Order (TV Series)
Anita Van Buren / Denise Winters
- Immortal (2010) ... Anita Van Buren
- Crashers (2010) ... Anita Van Buren
 2009 Great Performances (TV Series)
Narrator
 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 Girl, Positive (TV Movie)
Ariel Winters
 2005 Lackawanna Blues (TV Movie)
Rachel "Nanny" Crosby
 2004 Jersey Girl
Doctor #1
 2003 Radio
Maggie
 2003 Law & Order II: Double or Nothing (Video Game)
Lieutenant Anita Van Buren (voice)
 2002 Law & Order: Dead on the Money (Video Game)
Lieutenant Anita Van Buren (voice)
 2001 The Rising Place
Lessie Watson
 2001 A Girl Thing (TV Movie)
Lani (Co-worker)
 2000 Frasier (TV Series)
Dr. McCaskill
- Dark Side of the Moon (2000) ... Dr. McCaskill
 1999 Random Hearts
Nea
 1998 An Unexpected Life (TV Movie)
Beverly Hawkins
 1996 Breaking Through (TV Movie)
Barbara
 1995 A Mother's Prayer (TV Movie)
Ruby
 1994 A Place for Annie (TV Movie)
Alice
 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/I Jacob's Ladder
Elsa
 1990 Navy Seals
Jolena
 1990 Equal Justice (TV Series)
Mrs. Walters
- Pilot (1990) ... Mrs. Walters
 1990 Loose Cannons
Rachel
 1989 CBS Summer Playhouse (TV Series)
Jimmie
- Elysian Fields (1989) ... Jimmie
 1988 The Cosby Show (TV Series)
Elena
- Bookworm (1988) ... Elena
 1986 She's Gotta Have It
Doctor Jamison (as Epatha Merkinson)
Show Show Director (1 credit)
Show Show Producer (1 credit)
Show Show Soundtrack (1 credit)
Show Show Thanks (1 credit)
Show Show Self (48 credits)
Show Show Archive footage (2 credits)

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Personal Details

Other Works:

"Fucking A," new musical; written by Suzan-Lori Parks; music and lyrics by Suzan-Lori Parks; directed by Michael Greif; with Susan Blommaert (portraying Freedom Fund Lady/Scribe/Waiting Woman #2); Bobby Cannavale (portraying The Mayor/Prison Guard); Yasiin Bey (portraying Monster); 'Peter Gerety' (portraying Butcher); 'Jojo ... See more »

Publicity Listings:

5 Articles | 1 Magazine Cover Photo | See more »


Alternate Names:

Epatha Merkerson | Epatha Merkinson

Height:

5' 6" (1.68 m)
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Did You Know?

Personal Quote:

On playing Lola in "Come Back Little Sheba": I'm usually typecast as strong, authoritative, so to find that kind of vulnerability is a real challenge. But Lola is not so far from me, either. I was married, and I understand how to be lonely in a marriage. I believe she's in menopause. And that alone, hormonally, can send a woman into a tailspin. Add in her alcoholic husband, and (you've got) a ... See more »

Trivia:

Along with Jerry Orbach and Annie Parisse, Diane Neal, Milena Govich, and Jeremy Sisto one of at least 6 Law & Order (1990) cast members to play a different character in an episode before joining the cast in a later season. (Michael Imperioli also played multiple roles, but was not a permanent addition to the cast as Det. Falco.). See more »

Star Sign:

Sagittarius

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Recent Posts
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
Beautiful Jaybird bronxred
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