C. C. H. Pounder
Avatar Role: Moat
A true Renaissance woman, this self-possessed character actress worked on stage before being cast in film and TV. Pounder — whose unusual moniker is short for her birth name Carol Christine Hilaria — was 35 when she landed her first major movie role, playing a bitter single mother running a roadside eatery in the 1987 indie Baghdad Café.
The character was something of an anomaly, since her subsequent roles usually found her in professional positions of authority, including her Emmy-nominated turns as an FBI agent (The X Files), a surgeon (ER) and a no-nonsense police detective (The Shield). Off screen, Pounder is involved in a variety of projects and causes: She creates one-of-a-kind jewelry, runs the Los Angeles art salon PounderKone Artspace and is active in the nonprofit organization Artists for a New South Africa, which works to combat the HIV epidemic.
Grew up on a sugar plantation in British Guyana; attended school in England before moving to Brooklyn.
Married Boubacar Kone, a Senegalese-born anthropologist, in Dakar, Senegal, where he founded a museum, the Musée Boribana.
Received a Grammy nomination in 1996 for the spoken-word album Grow Old with Me: The Best Is Yet to Be (recorded with Edward Asner, Ellen Burstyn and Alfre Woodard), but lost to Hillary Rodham Clinton's It Takes a Village.
As of 2006, she's been nominated for seven NAACP Image Awards (three times — in '03, '04 and '06 — for The Shield) but never won.
Narrated the 2003 PBS documentary series Race: The Power of an Illusion; other voice work includes the movie Aladdin and the King of Thieves and the video game True Crime: Streets of LA.