Alumni Spotlight: Starletta DuPois
This 1968 alumna with a flair for the dramatic pursued a variety of interests while attending Maryland State College (now UMES). While earning her B.S. degree in Biology,Ms. Starletta DuPois was a cheerleader, a majorette, and a member of the Science and English clubs. Additionally, she enjoyed performing in plays, one of which—"Medea"—marked her stage debut in the lead role in this classic work.
Starletta DuPois is an actress known for films such as the cult classic "Friday After Next," with Ice Cube and Mike Epps, as well as "First Sunday" and Martin Lawrence's blockbuster hit, "Big Momma's House." Iconic producer Oliver Stone tapped her for his gritty urban drama, "South Central," and she's co-starred with many other notables including, the late Whitney Houston and Angela Bassett in "Waiting to Exhale," Jack Nicholson and Michelle Pfieffer in "Wolf," and Denzel Washington in "Ricochet," and in the box office smash "The Notebook" directed by Nick Cassavetes (John Q.) and co-starring Gena Rowlands and James Garner. Most recently she co-starred in the Pan Africa Film Festival's top prize winning film, "Ties That Bind," co-starred with Phillip Baker Hall in "Duck," and costars with Louis Gossett, Jr. in the critical acclaimed film "The Least Among You."
Television audiences are well acquainted with DuPois from her growing list of series and movie-of-the-week guest appearances, including a recurring role on the runaway hit "Lost" with Harold Perrineau, "Cold Case" with Thom Barry, and "K-Ville" with Anthony Anderson. Among her other television appearances are ABC's "One Life to Live," "The Road to Galveston," co-starring with Cicely Tyson, "City of Angels" "Chicago Hope," "The District," "The Steve Harvey Show," "Any Day Now," "Through Hazel Eyes" with Jane Seymour and HBO's critically acclaimed "Strapped," as well as a series' regular on PBS' "Up and Coming."
Her theatrical roots run deep with dozens of performances including the St.Louis Black Repertory Company productions of "Intimate Apparel," "Before It Hits Home," August Wilson's "King Hedley II"-all of which garnered prize nominations, as well as, the coveted Woodie King, Jr. Award for her work as Best Actress in a Drama during the 2005-2006 season. Other notable highlights of her remarkable theatre career include "The Mighty Gents" for which she earned a Tony Award nomination and Mark Taper Forum's production of "Miss Evers Boys"
(NAACP Image Award Nomination). She also has the distinction of being the very rare performer to have portrayed all three female roles in Lorraine Hansberry's master work, "A Raisin in the Sun." In addition to the playing opposite Danny Glover in the landmark PBS production (Earning the NAACP Image Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama), she recently received much acclaim for her best show stopping turn as Lena Younger in the Royal Exchange Theatre revival production held in Manchester, England; From that performance she won the Best Actress Award. She will return to the United Kingdom reprising the role in London's West End. DuPois' uncanny talent for capturing the essence of each character has carried her abroad to perform in Rome and Japan, leaving a trail of critical raves in her wake. Her portrayals of August Wilson's timeless characters in "Fences," "The Piano Lesson," (directed by Lloyd Richards and opposite Samuel L. Jackson and Charles S. Dutton) and "Joe Turner's Come and Gone" with Delroy Lindo, were nothing less than brilliant.
A Philadelphia native, she holds a M.F.A. in Theatre Arts from UCLA where she graduated magna cum laude. In addition to being involved in a myriad of civic and philanthropic endeavors, she mentors inspiring artists and serves as an adjunct professor in the Theatre Arts Department at the University of Southern California. During off-season, she can be found on tour with her highly successful one-woman show, "Order My Steps."
*Photos and biography courtesy of IMDb; video courtesy of YouTube
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