Merle Dandridge
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Merle Dandridge
Merle Dandridge
Born (1975-05-31) May 31, 1975 (age 44)
NationalityAmerican, Japanese
OccupationActress, singer
Years active1994-present

Merle Dandridge (born May 31, 1975)[1] is a Japanese-born 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. 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, so she could shoot her television show Greenleaf.[2]

Early life

Dandridge was born in Okinawa, Japan.[1] Her mother was a local Okinawan of Korean descent 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 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 Nov 9th 2017 to Jan 7th, 2018.[11][12][1] She returned to the role of Papa Ge in a limited run from June 18 to August 19, 2018.[13]


Television and film

Year Title Role Notes
2003 Angel Lacey Episode: "Home"
2003 The Edge Agent Angela Wells 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 Pilot
2008 Nothing But The Truth Celia
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 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 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-present Greenleaf Grace Greenleaf Lead role
2018 Murphy Brown Diana Macomber Episode: "Three Shirts to the Wind"
TBA The Flight Attendant Kim


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

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Nominated work Result Ref.
2019 Grammy Award Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album Once on This Island Nominated


  1. ^ a b The Broadway League. "Merle Dandridge - IBDB: The official source for Broadway Information IBDB: The official source for Broadway Information". Retrieved 2015.
  2. ^
  3. ^ "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. ^ Vlada Gelman. "'The Night Shift' Season 2 Cast -- Merle Dandridge as Jordan's Best Friend - TVLine". TVLine. Retrieved 2015.
  6. ^ Denise Petski. "Lynn Whitfield, Merle Dandridge & Desiree Ross Join 'Greenleaf' - Deadline". Deadline. Retrieved 2015.
  7. ^ Tambay A. Obenson (24 August 2015). "Lynn Whitfield, Merle Dandridge and Desiree Ross Cast in - Shadow and Act". Shadow and Act. Retrieved 2015.
  8. ^ Ryan, Maureen (17 June 2016). "TV Review: 'Greenleaf'". Retrieved 2016.
  9. ^ "Meet Merle Dandridge, the 'Greenleaf' leading lady picked by Oprah". Retrieved 2016.
  10. ^ "5 Reasons to Watch Oprah Winfrey's New Series 'Greenleaf'". ABC News. 21 June 2016. Retrieved 2016.
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Person List". Playbill. Retrieved .
  13. ^
  14. ^ "61st Annual GRAMMY Awards". 2018-12-06. Retrieved .

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