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Actress S. Epatha Merkerson picture(s)/pic(s), wallpaper and photo gallery.
Birth Name: Sharon Epatha Merkerson.
Other names: Epatha Merkerson / Epatha Merkinson.
Height: 5' 6" (1.68 m).
Spouse(s):
-Toussaint L. Jones Jr. (March 1994 - 14 February 2006) (divorced).

Epatha Merkerson biography (bio):
Sharon Epatha Merkerson is a Tony Award-nominated and Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild and Emmy Award-winning American actress. She is known for her roles as Reba the Mail Lady on Pee Wee's Playhouse in the 1980s, and as the no-nonsense supervisor, Lt. Anita Van Buren (1993-present) on the long-running television crime drama Law & Order, in the 1990s up to now. At present she has been on the show longer than any other cast member. As of the 366th episode in the 16th season, she is the first actress to appear in 300 episodes.

Early life:
Merkerson, the youngest of five children, was born in Saginaw, Michigan to Ann Merkerson, who at the time was the only female in the vehicles operation unit at the Detroit Post Office. Her father worked in a factory. Merkerson's parents separated in 1957. Merkerson graduated from Cooley High School in 1970. She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from Wayne State University and began her New York theater career in 1978.

Career:
Merkerson made her television debut as Reba the Mail Lady on Pee Wee's Playhouse, and has appeared on The Cosby Show, among other series. But her single most important television appearance may have been in the first-season Law and Order episode "Mushrooms," in which she portrayed the grief-stricken mother of an 11-month-old boy who is shot accidentally. Her performance was not only memorable to the audience during that key first season, but also impressed the producers enough to select Merkerson to replace Dann Florek as detective squad chief in the series' fourth season.

Merkerson was nominated for a Tony as Best Featured Actress in a Play for her performance as Berniece in August Wilson's Pultizer Prize winning play, The Piano Lesson and won an Obie Award in 1992 for her work in I'm Not Stupid. Her screen credits include Jacob's Ladder, Loose Cannons, She's Gotta Have It and in James Cameron's Terminator 2: Judgment Day, in which she played the terrified wife of Joe Morton. In 2006, she won Golden Globe, Emmy and Screen Actors Guild awards for her performance in the television movie Lackawanna Blues, her first starring role. In June 2007 she will star on stage in Los Angeles in William Inge's "Come Back Little Sheba" at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in the role made famous by Shirley Booth.

Personal life:
Merkerson is an outspoken advocate against smoking and for lung cancer research and awareness. When she guest-hosted on The View on March 2, 2007, she discussed her 23-year addiction to smoking, which ended in the early '90s after she woke up one morning unable to breathe. Until May 2007, she sat on the Board of Directors of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

Merkerson is often reticent about revealing what her first name really is Sharon. On the June 11, 2005 episode of NPR's Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!, she jokingly claimed that the initial "S," "stands for 'Sweet' [because] so many people have difficulty with Epatha, which is what I prefer to be called." She lives in Harlem, New York City.

For her role as Van Buren on Law & Order, she actually wears a wig. Her real hair is made up in short dreadlocks. Merkerson decided to wear a wig for the role to look more "professional".
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