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Published on August 7th, 2011 | by thevyne

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Woman to Watch: Octavia Spencer

Name: Octavia Spencer

Birthplace: Montgomery, AL

Occupation: Actress, starring in the film adaptation of  The Help  in theaters August 12, 2011

Childhood: The sixth of seven children born and raised in Alabama.

Education: BA in Liberal Arts from Auburn University

Big Break: Started out as a Production Assistant on the set of “A Time to Kill”. This led to her first role, playing the part of Roark’s nurse in “A Time to Kill” (Roark was played by Sandra Bullock).

Big Screen: After her role in “A Time to Kill” Octavia went on to play roles in a variety of other films including Never Been Kissed, Big Momma’s House, Bad Santa, Spider-Man, Coach Carter and Seven Pounds to name a few.

Small Screen: In addition to growing her body of work in film, Octavia graced the small screen with scene stealing appearances in hit television shows like, CSI, NYPD Blue, ER, Raising the Bar and The Big Bang Theory. She is probably most known though for her role as Constance Grady, the INS caseworker, in Ugly Betty.

Back Story on “The Help”: On meeting “The Help” writer/director, Tate Taylor and author of the book Kathryn Stockett, Octavia had this back story to share in a recent interview on About.com,

I met Tate about 15 years ago on A Time to Kill. We were both PAs. They filmed in Jackson and Canton. We moved out to L.A. about six months later, separately, and we just remained friends. He and I became the best of friends and he was always telling me stories about living in New York with Kathryn [Stockett] and his other friend Laura. Maybe about 7 or 8 years later, we were in New Orleans on a vacation with a big group of friends and that’s when I met her for the first time.”

When asked about her thoughts on the book, which led to her recording her voice for the audio version of the book, Octavia had this to say,

“When I read it – I’m not a big fan of Gone with the Wind and I thought immediately, ‘Oh my god, another Gone with the Wind. I’m going to kill her.’ I literally got past that first page – it was the first line or two of the book. I had a bachelorette party to attend that night, it was raining, the manuscript came and I hated her even more. But I said, ‘I’m going to sit there with that book,’ and I read it and I ended up staying up all night to finish it. I called her the next morning and I was so relieved. How often do your friends write something that’s good? Never! It never happens.”

Awards: Known for her comedic timing, in 2009 Octavia made Entertainment Weekly’s “25 Funniest Actresses in Hollywood” list.

Fun Fact: While the character Octavia plays in The Help is known for her cooking, Octavia admits she is not a good cook.

Listen to Octavia Talk More About “The Help”: 

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