Octavia Spencer is an American actress best known for her role as Minny Jackson in the 2011 feature film The Help, for which she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, among other accolades including the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress, BAFTA for Best Supporting Actress and Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role.
She is also known for her television roles as Serenity Johnson on Comedy Central's Halfway Home and as Constance Grady, the amorous INS caseworker, on Ugly Betty, both in 2007.
Spencer is a native of Montgomery, Alabama, which she claims is the proverbial buckle of the Bible belt. She's the sixth of seven siblings and holds a BS in Liberal Arts from Auburn University.
A "closet" lover of acting, this practical Alabamian knew that she'd someday work in the film industry, but never dreamed it would be in front of the camera.
In 1995, acclaimed director Joel Schumacher changed all that by giving her a small part opposite Sandra Bullock in the hit film A Time to Kill, and Spencer was on her way.
In 1996, she teamed up with Bullock again in Bullock's directorial debut of Making Sandwiches, a short film that premiered at the 1997 Sundance Film Festival.
Spencer made her stage debut in Los Angeles and originated the role of LaSonia (pronounced lasagna) in famed writer/director Del Shore's, The Trials and Tribulations of a Trailer Trash Housewife, starring opposite veteran actors Beth Grant, Dale Dickey and David Steen (2003). The play garnered Spencer and her fellow cast mates critical acclaim and a bevy of awards.
Since then, Spencer has continued to see success as an actor in both film and television, working alongside Hollywood's elite.
In February 2009, she was lauded by Los Angeles Times publication: The Envelope, for her brief but memorable performance in the Will Smith drama Seven Pounds. In April 2009, she was named one of the "25 Funniest Actresses in Hollywood" by Entertainment Weekly.
Spencer's screen credits include Pulse, Coach Carter, Charm School, Win A Date with Tad Hamilton, Legally Blonde 2, Spiderman, Big Momma's House, Never Been Kissed and Being John Malkovich.
She's had a myriad of guest-starring roles on TV including ER, CSI: NY, Presidio Med, LAX, Titus, City of Angels, Dharma & Greg, Huff, Medium and NYPD Blue.
She also has a starring role as Dena Jackson, the strict and seemingly 'scary' head nurse overseeing the pediatric facility, in the teen medical comedy-drama television series Red Band Society.
In 2002, the avid forensic buff co-authored a mystery novel for kids entitled, The Rock Holler Gang: Jr. Detectives.