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Tracee Ellis Ross (born October 29, 1972) is an American actress, producer and television host.[1]

The daughter of singer/actress Diana Ross, Ross began her career in the independent films, variety series and hosted the pop-culture magazine The Dish on Lifetime. She is best known for her lead role as Joan Clayton on the UPN/CW comedy series, Girlfriends. She starred in show from 2000 to 2008. She starred in the 2007 comedy-drama film Daddy's Little Girls, and in 2011 had a leading role as Dr. Carla Reed on the BET sitcom Reed Between the Lines. In 2014, Ross began starring in the ABC comedy series, Black-ish.

Early life

Born Tracee Joy Silberstein in Los AngelesCalifornia, she is the daughter of legendary Motown singer/actress Diana Ross and music business manager Robert Ellis Silberstein. Actor and musician Evan Ross is her half-brother.[2] Her father is Jewish and her mother is African-American.[3][4] Ross attended the Dalton School in Manhattan and the Institut Le Rosey in Switzerland. She was a model in her teens. She attended Brown University where she appeared in plays, and graduated in 1994 with a theatre degree.[5] She later worked in the fashion industry, as a model and contributing fashion editor to Mirabella and New York magazine.[6] She also featured in the video of the 1996 dance hit Macarena by Los del Río, as one of the ten female dancers.


Ross made her big screen debut in 1996, playing a Jewish/African-American woman in the independent feature film Far Harbor. The following year, she debuted as host ofThe Dish, a Lifetime TV magazine series keeping tabs on popular culture.[5] In 1998, she starred as a former high school track star who remained silent about having been abused at the hands of a coach, in the NBC made-for-TV movie: Race Against Fear: A Moment of Truth.[7] Her next role was an independent feature film Sue. In 2000, she landed her first major studio role in Diane Keaton's Hanging Up. The same year, she broke into comedy as a regular performer in the MTV series The Lyricist Lounge Show, a hip-hop variety series mixing music, dramatic sketches, and comedic skits.[8]

Ross' biggest career achievement came when she landed the lead role in the hit UPN/CW series Girlfriends in which she starred as the show's main protagonist Joan Carol Clayton — a successful (and often neurotic) lawyer looking for love, challenges, and adventure. The series centered on four (later three) young African-Americanwomen, and their male best friend.[9] In 2007, Ross won an NAACP Image Award in the category, Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series for her role on the series. She won a second Image Award for the role in 2009.[10]

[1][2]Ross in June 2006

In 2007, Ross starred with her brother Evan Ross and Queen Latifah in the HBO movie Life Support,[11] That same year, she appeared in the Tyler Perry theatrical movie, Daddy's Little Girls.[12] She appeared in the 2009 film Labor Pains.[13] In 2010, she appeared in an episode of Private Practice as a pregnant doctor.[14] In 2011, Ross appeared in four episodes of CSI as the estranged wife of Laurence Fishburne's character.[15][16] Ross starred in the sitcom, Reed Between the Lines, with Malcolm-Jamal Warner airing on BET starting in October 2011. In August 2012, it was announced that Tracee Ellis Ross would not return for Season Two.[17] In 2011, she appeared in the Lifetime film Five.[18] In 2012, Ross starred in the NBC drama pilot Bad Girls.[19]

In 2014, Ross was cast in the ABC comedy series, Black-ish, opposite Anthony Anderson.[20][21]



Year Title Role Notes
1996 Far Harbor Kiki
1997 Sue lost in Manhattan Linda
1998 Race Against Fear" Kaycee King Television film
1998 A Fare to Remember
2000 Hanging Up Kim
2000 In the Weeds Caroline
2006 I-See-You.Com Nancy Tanaka
2007 Life Support Tanya Television film
2007 Daddy's Little Girls Cynthia
2009 Labor Pains Kristin
2011 Five Alyssa Television film


Year Title Role Notes
2000 The Lyricist Lounge Show Various roles
2000–2008 Girlfriends Joan Clayton Series regular, 172 episodes
2004 Second Time Around Naomi Episode: "A Kiss Is Still a Kiss"
2010 Private Practice Ellen Episode: "War"
2011 CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Gloria Parkes Recurring role, 4 episodes
2011 Reed Between the Lines Dr. Carla Reed Series regular, 25 episodes
2012 Bad Girls Rachel TV pilot
2014-present Black-ish Rainbow Johnson Series regular


To view the Tracee Ellis Ross gallery, click here.

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