Merle Dandridge
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Merle Dandridge
Merle Dandridge
Merle Dandridge 2019.png
Dandridge in 2019
Born (1975-05-31) May 31, 1975 (age 45)
OccupationActress, singer
Years active1994-present

Merle Dandridge (born May 31, 1975)[1] is an American actress and singer who performed in a number of stage productions, including Broadway musicals Jesus Christ Superstar, Spamalot and Rent. She is widely known for her role as Alyx Vance in the Half-Life series and Marlene in The Last of Us. Dandridge is also known for her recurring role on television series such as Sons of Anarchy and The Night Shift. In 2016, she began starring as Grace Greenleaf in the Oprah Winfrey Network drama series, Greenleaf. She played Papa Ge in the 2017 revival of Once on this Island, until January 8, 2018.[2]

Early life

Dandridge was born in Okinawa, Japan.[1] Her mother was Korean living in Okinawa and her father was an African American U.S. serviceman from Memphis. As well as Okinawa, Dandridge has lived outside of Wheatland, California, at Beale Air Force Base and later at Offutt Air Force Base (home to the then-Strategic Air Command) in Bellevue, Nebraska, where she spent the majority of her childhood. She attended Papillion La Vista High School and participated in the play production class and theater department there. She then attended the Theatre Conservatory at Roosevelt University (currently called the Chicago College of Performing Arts).[3]


Dandridge began her career appearing in Chicago theatre productions. She has gained a wider audience as the voice of Alyx Vance in the award-winning action game Half-Life 2 and its sequels, Episode One and Episode Two, and also as Marlene in The Last of Us. In 2006, she was cast as Kala in the original Broadway production of Tarzan. Dandridge earned a BAFTA Award for her voiceover performance in the 2015 game Everybody's Gone to the Rapture. On television, she guest starred on NCIS, 24, Criminal Minds, The Newsroom and Drop Dead Diva. In 2012, she was cast in a series regular role as Chief in the NBC drama series Chicago Fire.[4] Dandridge also had the recurring roles in the FX drama series, Sons of Anarchy as Rita Roosevelt, and short-lived The CW teen soap Star-Crossed in 2014. In 2015, she co-starred in the second season of NBC medical drama, The Night Shift as Gwen Gaskin.[5]

In 2015, Dandridge was cast as the lead character in the Oprah Winfrey Network drama series, Greenleaf opposite Lynn Whitfield. She plays the role of Grace Greenleaf, Greenleaf's estranged daughter.[6][7] Dandridge has received critical acclaim for her first leading screen role.[8][9][10]

Dandridge starred as Papa Ge the God of Death in the Broadway musical revival of Once on This Island, at the Circle in the Square Theater from November 9th 2017 to January 7th, 2018.[11][12] She returned to the role of Papa Ge in a limited run from June 18 to August 19, 2018.[13] Along with cast, she received Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album nomination for cast recording.[14] Also in 2018, she had a recurring role in the CBS comedy series Murphy Brown playing the role of a network boss.[15] In 2020, Dandridge was cast in a series regular role in the eight-episode HBO Max thriller drama series The Flight Attendant.[16]



Year Title Role Notes
2008 Nothing But The Truth Celia
2013 Grounded: Making The Last of Us Herself, Marlene (voice) Direct-to-video
Documentary film
2018 Resurrect Alice Short film


Year Title Role Notes
2003 Angel Lacey Episode: "Home"
2003 The Edge Agent Angela Wells Television pilot
2003 NCIS Marcy Carruthers Episode: "Sea Dog"
2005 Third Watch Nikki Episode: "Too Little, Too Late"
2005 All My Children Lois Recurring role
2005 Guiding Light Lawyer Episode: "July 21, 2005"
2007 I'm Paige Wilson Gloria Television pilot
2010 The Deep End Jennifer Hutchins Episode: "An Innocent Man"
2010 24 Kristen Smith Episode: "Day 8, 12:00am- 1:00am"
2010 Matadors Brooke Comas Television pilot
2010 CSI: Miami Stacy Garrett Episode: "Sleepless In Miami"
2011 Lie to Me D.A. Jill Ottinger Episode: "Saved"
2011 Love Bites Krista Episode: "How To..."
2011 Ringer Dr. Anabel Morris Episode: "Shut Up and Eat Your Bologna"
2012 Criminal Minds Agent Lynn Brooks Episode: "A Family Affair"
2011-12 Sons of Anarchy Rita Roosevelt Recurring role, 6 episodes
2013 Company Town Louise Television pilot
2013 Nikita Zoe Episode: "Inevitability"
2012-13 The Newsroom Maria Guerrero Episodes: "Amen" and "One Step Too Many"
2014 The Mentalist Lydia Faulk Episode: "Il Tavolo Bianco"
2014 Star-Crossed Vega Recurring role, 7 episodes
2014 Drop Dead Diva Nadine Comer Episode: "Afterlife"
2014 Stalker Dean Lisa Miner Episode: "Pilot"
2014 NCIS: Los Angeles CIA Officer Nicole Borders Episode: "Reign Fall"
2015 Perception Robyn Sherman Episode: "Meat"
2015 Suits Leah Episode: "Intent"
2015-16 The Night Shift Gwen Gaskin Recurring role, 15 episodes
2015 Rosewood Charlotte Episode: "Vitamins and Vandals"
2016-20 Greenleaf Grace Greenleaf Lead role
2018 Murphy Brown Diana Macomber Episode: "Three Shirts to the Wind"
2020 The Flight Attendant Kim Main cast


Year Title Role Theatre
1994 Once on this Island Performer Chicago, IL
1994 The Robber Bridegroom Rosamund Roosevelt University Chicago, IL
1994 As You Like It Rosalind Roosevelt University Chicago, IL
1997 Balm in Gilead Ann Gilead Theatre Chicago, IL
1997 The Kentucky Cycle Performer Truman College (Chicago, IL)
1997 Company Kathy Chicago, IL
1997 Sweet and Hot Performer Theatre Building Chicago, IL
1998 Heart and Soul Andrea Chicago, IL
1998 Richard II Performer Gilead Theatre Co. Chicago, IL
1998 Ain't Misbehavin' European Tour
1998 Smokey Joe's Cafe Swing National Tour
2000 Jesus Christ Superstar Mary Magdalene Ford Center for the Performing Arts, Broadway
2001 Aida Nehebka National Tour
2002 Aida Aida (Replacement) Palace Theatre, Broadway
2002-08 Rent Joanne Jefferson (Replacement) Nederlander Theatre, Broadway
2003 Showtune: Celebrating the Words & Music of Jerry Herman Woman 2 Pasadena Playhouse Pasadena, CA
2006-07 Tarzan Kala Richard Rodgers Theatre, Broadway
2008 Spamalot The Lady of the Lake Shubert Theatre, Broadway
2009-10 Rent Joanne USA National Tour
2015 Spamalot The Lady of the Lake Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles
2017-18 Once on This Island Papa Ge Circle in the Square Theatre, Broadway

Video games

Year Title Role Notes
2004 Half-Life 2 Alyx Vance
2006 Half-Life 2: Episode One Alyx Vance
2007 Half-Life 2: Episode Two Alyx Vance
2007 The Orange Box Alyx Vance Compilation
2013 The Last of Us Marlene
2013 Dota 2 Legion Commander,
Winter Wyvern
2015 Everybody's Gone to the Rapture Kate Collins Won BAFTA for Best Performer
2016 Uncharted 4: A Thief's End Evelyn
2020 The Last of Us Part II Marlene

Awards and nominations


  1. ^ a b "Merle Dandridge". Internet Broadway Database. The Broadway League. Retrieved 2015.
  2. ^ Hetrick, Adam (January 8, 2018). "Norm Lewis and Tamyra Gray Join Cast of Broadway's Once on This Island January 8". Playbill.
  3. ^ Gans, Andrew (October 3, 2008). "DIVA TALK: Chatting with Spamalot's Merle Dandridge Plus Betty Buckley at Birdland". Playbill. Retrieved 2015.
  4. ^ "Merle Dandridge Lands Role on NBC Pilot Chicago Fire". Retrieved 2016.
  5. ^ Gelman, Vlada (November 7, 2014). "'The Night Shift' Season 2 Cast -- Merle Dandridge as Jordan's Best Friend". TVLine. Retrieved 2015.
  6. ^ Petski, Denise (August 24, 2015). "Lynn Whitfield, Merle Dandridge & Desiree Ross Join 'Greenleaf'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 2015.
  7. ^ Obenson, Tambay A. (24 August 2015). "Shadow and Act: Lynn Whitfield, Merle Dandridge and Desiree Ross Cast in OWN's Church Drama, 'Greenleaf'". IndieWire. Archived from the original on 26 August 2015. Retrieved 2015.
  8. ^ Ryan, Maureen (17 June 2016). "TV Review: 'Greenleaf'". Variety. Retrieved 2016.
  9. ^ Terrero, Nina (June 21, 2016). "Meet Merle Dandridge, the 'Greenleaf' leading lady picked by Oprah". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2016.
  10. ^ Fisher, Luchina (21 June 2016). "5 Reasons to Watch Oprah Winfrey's New Series 'Greenleaf'". ABC News. Retrieved 2016.
  11. ^ "Cast and Creative". Once on This
  12. ^ "Once On This Island - Cast". Playbill. Retrieved .
  13. ^ Hetrick, Adam (June 18, 2018). "Merle Dandridge Returns to Broadway's Once On This Island". Playbill.
  14. ^ a b "61st Annual Grammy Awards". 2018-12-06. Retrieved .
  15. ^ Petski, Denise (October 11, 2018). "'Murphy Brown': Merle Dandridge Joins Season 1 Of CBS Revival". Deadline Hollywood.
  16. ^ Petski, Denise (November 4, 2019). "'The Flight Attendant': Merle Dandridge Joins Kaley Cuoco's HBO Max Series". Deadline Hollywood.
  17. ^ Nunneley, Stephany (7 April 2016). "Fallout 4 wins Best Game at 2016 BAFTA Game Awards". VG24/7.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



Music Scenes