New York native and Yale graduate Angela Bassett welcomes 53 today. A veteran of the stage and screen, she’s appeared in dozens of productions including Spenser For Hire, 227, thirtysomething, Boyz N the Hood, Passion Fish, The Jacksons: An American Dream, Malcolm X, What’s Love Got To Do With It, Vampire In Brooklyn, Panther, Waiting To Exhale, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, Alias, Akeelah and the Bee, Meet The Browns, Notorious and Jumping The Broom among others.

Her next appearance will be in the Broadway stage play The Mountaintop along with Samuel Jackson. She’s also slated to direct her first film United States.