Danai Gurira Poster


Jump to: Overview (2)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Family (2)  | Trivia (19)  | Personal Quotes (6)

Overview (2)

Born in Grinnell, Iowa, USA
Height 5' 7" (1.7 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Danai Gurira was born in Grinnell, Iowa, to Josephine and Roger Gurira, who were from Zimbabwe. Her father was then teaching Chemistry at Grinnell College. When she was five, the family moved back to Zimbabwe, residing in the capital Harare. Gurira later returned to the United States, and studied social psychology at Macalester College, receiving an MFA from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. She is the co-author of the play, "In the Continuum", with Nikkole Salter.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: msb

Family (2)

Parents Gurira, Roger
Gurira, Josephine
Relatives Gurira, Shingai (sibling)
Gurira, Choni (sibling)
Gurira, Tare (sibling)

Trivia (19)

She was nominated for the 2007 Joseph Jefferson Award for Actress in a Principal Role in a Play for "In the Continuum", at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago, Illinois.
When Gurira's play "Eclipsed" was produced at the Yale Repertory Theater in 2009, the lead role of "the Girl" was performed by actress Adepero Oduye and understudied by then-Yale Drama School student Lupita Nyong'o. A few years later, Oduye and Nyong'o both acted in the film 12 Years a Slave (2013), and Nyong'o won an Academy Award for that performance. When the same play was produced at New York's Public Theater six years later, Nyong'o this time played the lead role.
She was awarded the 2012 Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for Writing for "The Convert", in a co-production with McCarter Theatre Center and Goodman Theatre at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Los Angeles, California.
She was awarded the 2013 NAACP Theatre Award for Best Playwriting for "The Convert", in a co-production with McCarter Theatre Center and Goodman Theatre at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Los Angeles, California.
She was nominated for the 2016 Antoinette Perry (Tony) Award for Best Play for "Eclipsed", which she wrote, on Broadway in New York City.
The ensemble of her play, "Familiar", in a Steppenwolf Theatre Company production at the Steppenwolf Downstairs Theatre in Chicago, Illinois were nominated for the 2019 Joseph Jefferson Equity Award for Ensemble (Play).
The ensemble of her play, "Eclipsed", in a Pegasus Theatre Chicago production at the Chicago Dramatists in Chicago, Illinois was nominated for the 2019 Non-Equity Joseph Jefferson Award for Ensemble.
Her play, "Eclipsed", in a Pegasus Theatre Chicago production at the Chicago Dramatists in Chicago, Illinois was nominated for the 2019 Non-Equity Joseph Jefferson Award for Play Production.
She was awarded the 2016 Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress on Television in The Walking Dead (2010), the 2018 Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress in Black Panther (2018), and the 2019 Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Television Series in The Walking Dead (2010).
She was born in Grinnell, Iowa but resided in her parents' native Zimbabwe from ages five to eighteen, when she returned to the United States to attend college.
Co-founded Almasi Arts Inc., an organization dedicated to supporting arts education in Zimbabwe (2011). She currently serves as the Executive Artistic Director.
Founded Love Our Girls, a non-profit organization which aims to highlight the issues and challenges that specifically affect women all through the world (2016).
Attended and graduated from Dominican Convert High School, a private Catholic school in Harare, Zimbabwe.
Received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota (2001).
Received her Master of Fine Arts degree in Theatre from the Tisch School of the Arts, New York University.
Currently resides in Los Angeles, California and spends regular time in New York City.
Has two older sisters, Shingai and Choni Gurira, and one older brother, Tare Gurira.
Speaks four languages fluently: English, French, Shona, and basic Xhosa.
Danai means "loving each other" in Shona.

Personal Quotes (6)

[on preparing to play a sword-wielding zombie slayer in The Walking Dead (2010)] I do have some dings on my apartment wall from tricks I was attempting at home. I don't advise that.
I was a jock when I was a kid, so I've always wanted to physically live through a character - one of those really tough chicks.
[on what steered her towards writing about the personal in her play "Familiar"] My artistic mandate up to that point had always been: "I'm not going to talk about things close to myself. I want to go into viral issues about people who you never heard or see" ...And I watched my own family's dynamics, my own dynamics amongst my kin, and the dynamics of how these cultures had merged, and interacted, and clashed. And I just found the absurdity of our familial dynamics...
[on trying to make her characters relatable to various types of audiences] I think that's a goal in all my plays honestly, to get into the personal, but to have a macro ramification, or to look at things that people can look at as a statistic or stereotype in one way, and to make them have to spend time with a person that they may even end up relating to a little in some strange, tiny way, to see the complexity of something they might have thought of as something simply statistic and "over there somewhere".
[on what made her want to write about African themes] In terms of writing, I just wasn't finding enough stories about contemporary African people - or historical, just anything, the whole gamut. I was raised in southern Africa and I came back to the West for college. I was starting to look for what I would like to perform, what I would like to see put to life onstage, and I was finding many stories about everybody else, but none about my own people. My playwriting became a "necessity being the mother of invention" type thing. I wasn't finding what I wanted to perform, so I started to create it myself.
[on the importance of communication] Meaningful communication is an aspect of who we are as human beings. You don't need to know exactly what everyone's saying word for word to hear it, to see people living in a different world and to hear that they don't speak American English. And you know, I think people will think "I get what's going on", and that's what's awesome...

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