Kimberly Elise Trammel (born April 17, 1967), professionally known as Kimberly Elise, is an American film and television actress. She made her feature film debut in Set It Off (1996), and later received critical acclaim for her performance in Beloved (1998).
During her career, Elise has appeared in films such as John Q. (2001), The Manchurian Candidate (2004), Diary of a Mad Black Woman (2005), The Great Debaters (2007), For Colored Girls (2010), and Dope (2015). She received Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Lead for her performance in 2004 drama film, Woman Thou Art Loosed, and played the leading roles in a number of made for television movies. Elise also starred in the CBS crime drama series, Close to Home (2005–07), and in 2013 began starring in the VH1 comedy-drama series, Hit the Floor.
Elise was born as Kimberly Elise Trammel in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the daughter of Erma Jean (née Johnson), an elementary school teacher, and Marvin Trammel, who owns an executive search firm. She has three siblings. She studied film and acting at the University of Minnesota and earned a BA in Mass Communications.
Elise was married to Maurice Oldham from 1989 to 2005. The couple had two daughters, Aja Arial Oldham (born March 16, 1990) and Butterfly JaelaRose Jurney Oldham (born October 19, 1998). Maurice Oldham died from a “massive blood clot” in 2007.
Elise’s maternal descent is of the Songhai people. Elise is vegan and has worked with PETA to promote that lifestyle.