J. Smith-Cameron

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J. Smith-Cameron
Rectify (18605054021) (cropped).jpg
Smith-Cameron in 2015
Jean Isabel Smith

(1957-09-07) September 7, 1957 (age 63)
Alma materFlorida State University
Years active1979–present
(m. 2000)

J. Smith-Cameron (born Jean Isabel Smith; September 7, 1957) is an American actress best known for her supporting roles as Janet Talbot on the television series Rectify and Gerri Kellman on Succession.

Life and career[edit]

Smith-Cameron was born in Louisville, Kentucky, the daughter of architect Richard Sharpe Smith.[1] She was raised in Greenville, South Carolina and attended Florida State University for one year, where she was enrolled in the School of Theatre. There she met film director Victor Nuñez, who cast her as a lead in his film Gal Young Un (1979)[2] She additionally received acting training at HB Studio[3] in New York City.

She added a family name, Cameron, when told by the Actors' Equity Association that there was already a J. Smith, and there was a rule that two actors cannot have the same professional name.[4] She made her Broadway debut in August 1982 when she replaced Mia Dillon as "Babe Botrelle" in Crimes of the Heart.[5][6][7] She appeared in the original Broadway cast of Lend Me a Tenor as "Maggie" in 1989.[8] The cast of that play won an Outer Critics Circle Award, Special Awards.[9] She appeared in the Broadway production of Our Country's Good in 1991.[10]

Additional Broadway credits include Night Must Fall (1999),[11] Tartuffe (2002),[12] and After the Night and the Music (2005).[13]

She has appeared in many Off-Broadway plays, including at the Public Theater, the Second Stage Theatre, and Playwrights Horizons.[14] She appeared in the Paul Rudnick play The Naked Truth Off-Broadway at the WPA Theatre in 1994.[15] She received a Drama Desk Award nomination for this production.[16]

In November 1999 through April 2000, she appeared in Fuddy Meers as Claire at New York City Center, Stage II, for which she received a nomination for the Outer Critics Circle Award as Outstanding Actress in a Play.[17] In March through June 2004, she appeared in the Manhattan Theatre Club Off-Broadway production of Sarah, Sarah.[18] In November through December 2009, she appeared Off-Broadway at the Acorn Theatre in her husband Kenneth Lonergan's play The Starry Messenger.[19] From October 2013 to December 2013, she starred in the Off-Broadway Irish Repertory Theater production of Juno and the Paycock as Juno Boyle. The New York Times reviewer wrote: "In one of the finest performances of her distinguished career on the New York stage, Ms. Smith-Cameron imbues her Juno with a steely pragmatism, but more important an emotional pliancy that makes her more prepared than the rest of her clan to beat back the onslaughts of ill fortune that beset them."[20]

Currently, she plays Gerri Kellman in the HBO series Succession, a role originally written for a man.[21]

She won an Obie Award for the Off-Broadway Drama Department production As Bees in Honey Drown (1997), which also earned her a Drama Desk nomination[22] and Outer Critics Circle Award nomination, Outstanding Actress In A Play.[23] Additional nominations include the Drama Desk Award for Sarah, Sarah (2004)[24] and the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in the play Our Country's Good.[25]

Personal life[edit]

Smith-Cameron is married to playwright, screenwriter, and film director Kenneth Lonergan. They have one daughter.[4]



Title Year Role Note
Gal Young Un 1979 Elly
84 Charing Cross Road 1987 Ginny [26]
That Night 1992 Carol Bloom
Jeffrey 1995 Sharon
Mighty Aphrodite 1995 Bud's Wife [27]
A Modern Affair 1995 Diane
Let It Be Me 1995 Clarice
Sabrina 1995 Carol [28]
Harriet the Spy 1996 Mrs. Welsch [29]
The First Wives Club 1996 Miss Sullivan [30]
The Proprietor 1996 New York - Texans
Arresting Gena 1997 Caroline Lee
In & Out 1997 Trina Paxton [31]
The Rage: Carrie 2 1999 Barbara Lang
You Can Count On Me 2000 Mabel [32]
Bittersweet Place 2005 Violet
A Very Serious Person 2006 Carol
Margaret 2011 Joan Cohen [33]
Man on a Ledge 2012 Psychiatrist
Like Sunday, Like Rain 2014 Mary
Christine 2016 Peg Chubbuck
No Pay, Nudity 2016 Debra
Nancy 2018 Ellen Lynch


Sources: The New York Times[34][35]

Title Year Role Note
Guiding Light 1984–1985 Nancy Ferris Unknown episodes
The Equalizer 1985, 1988, 1989 Various 3 episodes
H.E.L.P. 1990 Mrs. Perry Episode: "Fire Down Below"
The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd 1990–1991 Ramona Luchesse 12 episodes
Homicide: Life on the Street 1996 Avis Griffin Episode: "Sniper: Part 2"
Spin City 1996 Lisa Episode: "The Competition"
Law & Order 1998, 2001,
2003, 2009
Various 4 episodes
American Experience 1998 Mrs. Howard Episode: "A Midwife's Tale"
Law & Order: Criminal Intent 2001, 2007 Various 2 episodes
K Street 2003 Tommy's Wife 3 episodes
Six Degrees 2007 Maggie Newton 2 episodes
Canterbury's Law 2008 Elissa Shapiro Episode: "Sweet Sixteen"
The Big C 2010 Vivian Episode: "Playing the Cancer Card"
True Blood 2010–2011[36] Melinda Mickens 9 episodes
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit 2011 Diane Eskas Episode: "Educated Guess"
Rectify 2013–2016 Janet Talbot 30 episodes
Madam Secretary 2014 Alice Millevoi Episode: "Collateral Damage"
The Good Wife 2015 Samara Steel Episode: "Restraint"
Divorce 2016–2018 Elaine Campbell 3 episodes
Search Party 2017 Mary Ferguson 5 episodes
Mozart in the Jungle 2018 Amy Rutledge Episode: "If I Was an Elf, I Would Tell You"
Succession 2018–present Gerri Kellman Series Regular


  1. ^ "J. Smith-Cameron Biography" FilmReference.com
  2. ^ "Gal Young 'Un Listing", tcm.com, accessed January 20, 2014
  3. ^ HB Studio Alumni
  4. ^ a b "She and Lonergan are expecting their first child in late January." Vellela, Tony. "Smith-Cameron's role-changing, name-changing career", The Christian Science Monitor, October 5, 2001, p.18
  5. ^ Lawson, Carol. "Broadway:Musical 'Baby' is on the way, story of 3 1/2 couples", The New York Times, July 30, 1982, p.C2
  6. ^ Kaye, Kimberly. "What's Up, J. Smith-Cameron? The Starry Star on Life, Art and Why She Loves Ben Brantley" broadway.com, December 9, 2009
  7. ^ " Crimes of the Heart see Replacement page" ibdb.com, accessed January 19, 2014
  8. ^ Rich, Frank. "Reviews/Theater; When One Tenor Is Much Like Another" The New York Times, March 3, 1989.
  9. ^ "Award Archives, 198801989" Archived 2014-02-01 at the Wayback Machine outercritics.org, accessed January 18, 2014
  10. ^ Rich, Frank. Review/Theater; Broadway Season's Last Drama Offers a Defense of Theater", The New York Times, April 30, 1991.
  11. ^ Jones, Kenneth and David, Lefkowitz. "Curtain Up on Broderick's 'Night Must Fall', Opening March 8 at Bway's Lyceum" Archived 2014-02-01 at the Wayback Machine playbill.com, March 5, 1999
  12. ^ Simonson, Robert. "Emerson, Smith-Cameron, Meisle Added to Bway 'Tartuffe' Cast" Archived 2014-02-01 at the Wayback Machine playbill.com, September 19, 2002
  13. ^ Sommers, Elyse. "A CurtainUp Review. 'After the Night and the Music'", Curtainup.com, June 2, 2005
  14. ^ "Listing, J. Smith-Cameron", Internet Off-Broadway Database, accessed April 28, 2012.
  15. ^ Kuchwara, Michael. " The Naked Truth Opens Off Broadway"[permanent dead link] apnewsarchive.com, June 16, 1994
  16. ^ "Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play – 'The Naked Truth' – J. – Smith Cameron" Archived 2014-02-02 at the Wayback Machine dramadesk.org, accessed January 20, 2014.
  17. ^ "'Fuddy Meers'" Archived 2012-05-27 at the Wayback Machine Internet Off-Broadway Database, accessed April 28, 2012
  18. ^ Sommer, Elyse. "A CurtainUp Review' 'Sarah, Sarah'" Curtainup.com, March 28, 2004
  19. ^ Kaye, Kimberly. "What's Up, J. Smith-Cameron? The Starry Star on Life, Art and Why She Loves Ben Brantley" broadway.com, December 9, 2009
  20. ^ Isherwood, Charles. "Theater Review. J. Smith-Cameron Stars in 'Juno and the Paycock' " The New York Times', October 25, 2013.
  21. ^ Baker, Katie (2019-08-12). "It's a Woman's World: The True Heroes of 'Succession'". The Ringer. Retrieved 2019-08-27.
  22. ^ "'As Bees in Honey Drown'" Archived 2012-10-02 at the Wayback Machine Internet Off-Broadway Database, accessed April 28, 2012
  23. ^ Viagas, Robert and Lefkowitz, David. " 'Lion King' Roars With Six Outer Critics Circle Awards" Archived 2014-02-01 at the Wayback Machine playbill.com, April 27, 1998
  24. ^ "Outstanding Actress in a Play – 'Sarah, Sarah' – J. – Smith-Cameron" Archived 2014-02-02 at the Wayback Machine, dramadesk.org, accessed January 20, 2014.
  25. ^ Shirley, Don. " 'Saigon,' 'Rogers' Lead the Tony Pack : Awards: Though neither received consistently enthusiastic reviews, both shows garner 11 nominations", Los Angeles Times, May 7, 1991.
  26. ^ " 84 Charing Cross Road Cast" The New York Times, accessed January 20, 2014
  27. ^ " 'Mighty Aphrodite' Cast" movies.tvguide.com, accessed January 18, 2014
  28. ^ "Cast and Crew, 'Sabrina'" tcm.com, accessed April 28, 2012
  29. ^ "Cast and Crew, 'Harriet the Spy'" allmovie.com, accessed April 28, 2012
  30. ^ " The First Wives Club Cast" The New York Times, accessed January 20, 2014
  31. ^ "Cast and Crew, 'In and Out'" allmovie.com, accessed April 28, 2012
  32. ^ Levy, Emanuel. "Film Reviews. 'You Can Count on Me'" Variety, February 1, 2000
  33. ^ "'Margaret' Cast and Crew" allmovie.com, accessed April 28, 2012
  34. ^ "Filmography" The New York Times, accessed January 18, 2014
  35. ^ "Smith-Cameron Credits" tvguide.com, accessed January 18, 2014
  36. ^ Probst, Andy. "Alfre Woodard, J. Smith-Cameron To Join HBO's True Blood'" theatermania.com, December 15, 2009

External links[edit]