Born in Montgomery, Alabama, Octavia Lenora Spencer grew up with six siblings. She was interested in acting, but her mother wanted her to get into something practical, so she put acting on hold. After graduating from high school in 1988, Spencer attended Auburn University, where she studied English and Theater Arts.
After graduating from Auburn University, Spencer started working in the film industry. She never even thought she’d be an actress, so she started working on casting. But soon after, in 1995, she debuted her acting skills in A Time to Kill, which was a huge success and led her to land more on-screen roles.
After moving to LA and taking acting classes, Spencer started getting more roles in great movies and world-renowned TV shows, such as ER and The X-Files. She also had several scene-stealing performances, such as Ugly Betty, which propelled her to great heights.
However, it wasn’t until her performance in 2011’s The Help that Octavia Spencer truly rose to fame. The movie was based on the book by Kathryn Stockett, whom Spencer met through a mutual friend, Tate Taylor.
Spencer was actually Stockett’s inspiration for Minny, one of the maids in the book, so she took the actress on a book tour to read Minny’s parts. When the movie was in the plans, Spencer auditioned for Minny, got the part, and received an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
The Oscar win led her to plenty more roles in great movies, such as Black or White, Zootopia, Hidden Figures, and The Shape of Water.
In the News
Octavia Spencer is starring in the upcoming Apple TV series Are You Sleeping. She also recently wrapped up two deals with Netflix to star in its upcoming limited series Madam C. J. Walker, as well as its upcoming superhero film Thunder Force with Melissa McCarthy.
Stay tuned with The Shade Room for more Octavia Spencer updates!