J. Smith-Cameron filmography and biography
Date of birth: Louisville, Kentucky, USA
J. Smith-Cameron biography
Gifted stage actress J. Smith-Cameron was born Jeanie Smith in
Louisville, Kentucky, and raised in Greenville, South Carolina, the
daughter of an architect. Known simply as J. Smith by us students of
the Florida State University School of Theatre program in the
mid-1970s; I was privileged to work with and witness firsthand the
extent of J.'s talent early in the game. A very slender figure with
tight, curly hair and intent, hooded eyes, she showed amazing potential
back then. Despite her age, she made a dazzling young Anne Frank in
"The Diary of Anne Frank" and an equally touching and memorable Helen
Keller in "The Miracle Worker." She was a wonderfully bizarre Honey in
"Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" and showed off her versatility in an
all-female version of Shakespeare's "The Taming of the Shrew." J.'s
older sister, Joann, also attended FSU at the time and performed with
me in a production of the classic Iranian allegory "The Butterfly"
(Shaparak Khanoom) by Bijan Mofid, directed by his actor/brother
Ardavan. Joann later became a teacher.
J. made her film debut while at FSU, starring in the acclaimed low budget production of Gal Young Un directed by Victor Nunez who later helmed Ulees Gold. The film, which was shot in Florida, starred and featured several fellow FSU alumni including David Peck (I), Marc H. Glick, Tim McCormack, Gil Lazier (FSU acting teacher), and Randy Ser (who later won an Emmy as production designer for the Whitney Houston version of Cinderella (1997) (TV)). The film would not be released until a few years later in 1979, years after they all graduated. Following college, J. Smith added the hyphenated Cameron name to her moniker as both a tribute to her great-grandmother and in order to avoid confusion once she joined Actor's Equity. Her peers in college all knew it wouldn't take long for J. to establish herself.
A remarkably unique and impressionable lady both on and off stage, J. has the requisite flair for playing neurotic, off-the-wall characters, both comedic and tragic. Abnormality has been a specialty on her menu and most often the delightful main course. By 1982, J. was showcasing on Broadway as the crazy, suicidal Babe in Beth Henley's "Crimes of the Heart." She never had to look back. In the course of her veteran on- and off-Broadway career, J. has received a Tony nomination for "Our Country's Good" (1991), an Outer Critics Circle award for "Lend Me a Tenor" (1989) and an Obie award for her flashy, no-holds-barred portrayal in "As Bees in Honey Drown" (1997). Other successes have included "Wild Honey," "Tartuffe," "The Memory of Water," and "Night Must Fall" with Matthew Broderick (I).
Although TV and film stardom has eclipsed her thus far, she has shown that even in the smallest role she can draw attention to herself, as witnessed by her hysterically funny bit as a sexual compulsive in the gay film Jeffrey. She has played various mom parts, some more stable than others, in such films as Harriet the Spy, and The Rage: Carrie 2. J. met and later married playwright/film writer Kenneth Lonergan. She was featured as Mabel, the secretary, in Lonergan's Oscar-nominated breakthrough play-turned-film You Can Count on Me, which made film stars out of Laura Linney and Mark Ruffalo. J. and Kenneth have a daughter, Nellie. The diverse range of her talent is what still separates J. from the rest of the pack, and should certainly serve her well for years to come.
J. Smith-Cameron trivia
- Cousin, by marriage, of Chantal Lonergan and Valerie Lonergan.
- Was nominated for Broadway's 1991 Tony Award as Best Actress (Featured Role - Play) for "Our Country's Good."
- She studied drama at HB Studio in Greenwich Village in New York City.
J. Smith-Cameron filmography
|The Big C||2010|
|A Very Serious Person||2006|
|Law & Order: Criminal Intent||2001|
|You Can Count on Me||2000|
|The Rage: Carrie 2||1999|
|In & Out||1997|
|Harriet the Spy||1996|
|The First Wives Club||1996|
|Let It Be Me||1995|
|A Modern Affair||1995|
|She Led Two Lives||1994|
|Homicide: Life on the Street||1993|
|Law & Order||1990|
|The American Experience||1988|
|The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd||1987|
|84 Charing Cross Road||1987|
|The Recovery Room||1985|
|Gal Young 'Un||1979|
|The Guiding Light||1952|