Vote for Regina King's Best Role in Celebration of the Star's Birthday

By Kelsey Klemme Jan 15, 2020 2:00 PMTags
Watch: Regina King - 2019 Oscars E! Glambot

We all know that Regina King is a queen, so we're celebrating since today is her birthday!

The actress is turning 49 years old today and the past year has been amazing for anyone who has been following the Los Angeles native's career as she was finally recognized for the powerhouse talent that she is.

In February, the Academy awarded the performer with her first Oscars trophy for her role in Barry Jenkin's If Beale Street Could Talk, which came hot off the heels of her collecting her first Golden Globes award a month earlier.

Then, in May, Netflix announced that the multi-talented artist had inked a first look deal with the streaming service, meaning that soon we'll likely see movies and series under her Royal Ties production banner end up on our queue.

It's a huge achievement for the star as well as audiences since, in her Golden Globes acceptance speech, King stated that she was committed to making sure at least 50% of her hires would be women, addressing one of the representation issues that has plagued the industry and been brought to light via organizations like Time's Up.

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With Watchmen, Regina King Is Finally a Superhero

In the latter half of the year, King dominated headlines again when she was cast as Sister Night in the critically acclaimed and highly-anticipated HBO series, Watchmen, which also fulfilled a long-held (and well deserved) dream of hers to play a superhero.

To ring in the latest trip around the sun for the celebrity, we've rounded up the best roles that King has played over her 35-plus year career.

Let us know which role is your favorite!

227

We were first introduced to Regina King in 1985 when she played the boy-crazy and booksmart Brenda Jenkins in the sitcom 227.

Boyz n the Hood

While her time on the screen in this iconic film was limited, King's memorable one-liners and engaging presence as Shalika undeniably served as the launchpad for her long career on the silver screen.

Poetic Justice

King co-starred with Janet Jackson and the late Tupac Shakur in this classic film directed by John Singleton that centered around each character finding themselves after individual heartbreak and tragedy. 

Friday

The actress played Ice Cube's on-screen sister in this cult classic.

Jerry Maguire

"My whole life is this family, Jerry, and it does not work without him!"

It's the line that makes us—and Jake Gyllenhaal—cry, delivered flawlessly by King in her role as Marcee Tidwell after seeing her football player husband, Rod Tidwell (Cuba Gooding Jr.), get seriously injured during a game.

In a video interview with BuzzFeed, King shared how this role was "special" and how she thought of their on-screen romance as "the love you wanted to achieve." As she put it, "That relationship was the relationship you wished you can have."

Down to Earth

The performer nabbed her first BET Awards nomination for her part in Down to Earth as a Sontee Jenkins, an activist who Chris Rock's character Lance Barton found so attractive, he literally died in a car accident while checking her out. But, the good news is that he was then reincarnated and got to reconnect with the protester while in his new body. It's a goofy film that showcased that King can thrive in any genre.

Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde

In this sequel, King played lawyer Grace Rossiter. 

"I remember seeing you in Jerry Maguire," Reese Witherspoon recently recalled to King in conversation forVariety, "and I was like, 'I'm going to work with her…. You had a spirit inside of you and I was like, 'That woman is truth; she is intelligence; she is beauty; she is soul and she is honest.' And I was like, 'I have to work with her.'"

A Cinderella Story

Who wouldn't want a fairy godmother, especially if yours is Regina King!

The actress played Rhonda in this mid-2000s take on the classic Cinderella tale, where she helps Sam (Hilary Duff) sneak off to the homecoming dance and stand up to her evil stepmother and stepsisters.

Ray

King's first major award nomination—Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Motion Picture at the SAG Awards—came in part from her portrayal as Margie Hendricks in the Oscar-nominated film Ray. In the film, Margie is one of the legendary Raelettes for Ray Charles (Jamie Foxx) and becomes his on-the-road lover.

Miss Congeniality 2: Armed & Fabulous

In this movie film, King played FBI agent Sam Fuller, who teamed up with Sandra Bullock's character Gracie Hart to go undercover in Las Vegas and rescue kidnapped Miss United States winner Cheryl Frasier (Heather Burns) and Stan Fields (William Shatner).

This Christmas

Who doesn't love a good Christmas film? In This Christmas, King played Lisa, a witty woman whose crazy family came together for a holiday dinner. With plenty of drama and secrets revealed throughout the film, it's relatable to anyone who has gone home for the holidays.

Southland

King returned to the small screen in the show Southland, a series documenting the day-to-day lives of those working at the LAPD. The actress received three BET Award nominations for her performance as Detective Lydia Adams. For instance, in one memorable scene from the first season, King fought off intruders who break into her home.

The Boondocks

King voiced two characters, Huey and Riley, in the critically acclaimed Cartoon Network series The Boondocks.

The Leftovers

King joined the second season of the popular HBO show as Erika Murphy—the fierce matriarch of her family who lives in Jarden, a town that was unaffected by the mysterious Sudden Departure where two percent of the world's population vanished.

American Crime

King starred not once, not twice but three times in the American Crime anthology series, playing a different character in each iteration of the show. Her portrayal as Aliyah Shadeed won her the first Emmy Award of her career and her performance as Terri Lacroix earned her a second trophy.

Seven Seconds

After scooping up two Emmys from her time on American Crime, King took home her third when she played Latrice Butler on the Netflix series Seven Seconds. The show surrounds a police cover-up in the death of Brenton—a Black teenager who is also Latrice's son—and Latrice's journey to finding and exposing the truth.

If Beale Street Could Talk

King's portrayal as Sharon Rivers earned her both her first Academy Award and Golden Globes Award. In her acceptance speech at the Golden Globes, King thanked director Barry Jenkins, praising both the film and her role when she said, "Thank you for your empathy, thank you for telling stories so rich and thank you for giving us a film that my son said to me, when he saw it, that it was the first time he really saw himself."

She also took her time on stage to vow that women would comprise at least 50 percent of the staff on all projects she'd produce over the next two years.

Watchmen

In 2019, King was cast as the lead in the highly-anticipated Watchmen series and proved to be the perfect person to play Sister Night/Angela Abar. The thrilling show, which has been praised for its stunning visuals and powerhouse acting, has plenty of twists and turns that we wouldn't want to spoil here, but it's one you don't want to miss.

Poll

Regina King's Best Roles

Which of Regina King's roles is your favorite?
Shalika in Boyz n the Hood
1.2%
Iesha in Poetic Justice
9.4%
Marcee Tidwill in Jerry Maguire
20%
Margie Hendricks in Ray
10.6%
Detective Lydia Adams in Southland
11.8%
Huey and Riley in The Boondocks
14.1%
Sharon Rivers in If Beale Street Could Talk
5.9%
Sister Night/Angela Abar in The Watchmen
27.1%