Aunjanue L. Ellis is an American actress known for her roles in Ray, in Undercover Brother, The Mentalist and The Help.
Ellis was born in San Francisco, California, and raised on her grandmother's farm in Mississippi. She attended Tougaloo College before transferring to Brown University, where she completed her Bachelor of Arts in African-American studies, while also studying acting with Jim Barnhill and John Emigh. She went on to study acting in the Graduate Acting Program at New York University. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.
In 1995, she appeared as Ariel opposite Patrick Stewart's Prospero in a Broadway revival of William Shakespeare's The Tempest.
In January 2004, she performed in Regina Taylor's play Drowning Crow, at the Manhattan Theatre Club.
In the Spring, 2012 Hampton University semester, she was going to be teaching entertainment industry courses. She will also be featured in a Hampton Players and Company production, "Through the Crack."