Sharon Leal stars in the new drama Hellcats as Vanessa Lodge, coach of the squad and a former Hellcat - and champion - herself.
Named one of Entertainment Weekly's "Breakout Stars," Leal was most recently seen on the big screen starring in Tyler Perry's feature film Why Did I Get Married Too?, reprising the role of Diane, which she originated in the highly successful Why Did I Get Married? Prior to that, she starred opposite Samuel L. Jackson and Bernie Mac in the comedy feature Soul Men, as well as This Christmas, opposite Regina King and Mekhi Phifer. Her performance in the latter won her the Asian Excellence Award for outstanding Film Actress.
Leal received international attention in the Golden Globe-winning blockbuster film Dreamgirls, starring opposite Beyonce' Knowles and Jamie Foxx. Leal portrayed Michelle Morris, the singer who replaced Effie White (played by Academy Award(r) winner Jennifer Hudson) in the female trio, The Dreams. In Dreamgirls, Leal showcased her remarkable vocal skills and can be heard on the popular movie soundtrack.
Born in Tucson, Arizona, and raised in Fresno, California, Leal began singing at an early age and discovered her passion for acting while attending performing arts high school. Her professional career began on stage in regional productions of Ain't Misbehavin', Into the Woods and Little Shop of Horrors. Soon thereafter, she moved to New York and landed major roles on Broadway in Miss Saigon and Rent. She starred in the original musical, Bright Lights, Big City at the New York Theater Workshop, and was also featured on the production's soundtrack. While in New York, she staged cabarets and continued to hone her skills, workshopping an original production at the Manhattan Theatre Club, Stormy Weather, in which she starred as the legendary Lena Horne.
From the New York stage, Leal easily made the transition into television and film. Her small-screen work includes four seasons as a series regular on David E. Kelley's hit series Boston Public. Leal also had guest starring roles on Las Vegas, LAX and CSI: Miami. Film roles include the independent features Face the Music, Motives 2, Linewatch and the short film What Are the Odds, for which she won the Best Supporting Actress Award at the New York Independent Film Festival.
Leal resides in Los Angeles with her young son.