Gina Torres is a very busy actress. The 51-year old, whose ex-husband is actor Laurence Fishburne, has a lengthy resume in a career that began in 1992 and has not let up. Not even once. She may be the busiest woman in Hollywood, one whom you may not even know. Here’s how she made it all happen,
WHERE GINA TORRES GOT HER START
The bulk of Gina Torres’ 94 acting credits come from the television side of Hollywood. Her first major role was on the hit TV series Law & Order and then she went on to the soap opera One Life To Live.
To get to this point though, Torres’ needed to start somewhere. As a child of immigrants, her parent’s dream for her was to become a professional. She told USA Today, “Doctors, engineers, something with a title. That was not where I ended up.”
No, she didn’t. She first studied voice at the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, garnering her inspiration to perform on stage the day her class watched the dramatic play A Day in the Death of Joe Egg. Stockard Channing (Grease) had the lead role. It hit Torres right then and there. “I just remembered thinking, I want to do that. I want other people to feel the way she made me feel,” Torres recalls. “And I want to take other people on the ride she just took me on.”
So, Torres began a ride of her own. After the previously mentioned show, she moved on. The Gregory Hines Show, Xena: Warrior Princess, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Any Day Now, The Agency, Angel. You get the drift. Busy is as busy does and Gina Torres kept her pedal to the metal. It always seems to lead to one thing when it comes to actors and actresses but in Torres’ case, it just continued.
FIREFLY + LAURENCE FISHBURNE = MATRIX?
Like many on the series, Gina Torres became a fan favorite during the one and only season of the TV show Firefly. She played Zoë Washburne, a tough, loyal, and deadly first mate. Torres also reprised her role in the movie Serenity, which saw series creator Joss Whedon bring back the entire cast from Firefly for his feature film.
Torres then became part of the Matrix franchise when she appeared in The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions. Was it Laurence Fishburne that got her into the franchise? The dates seem to fall in line for a Fishburne assist with the two announcing their engagement in February of 2001 and production beginning on Matrix Reloaded in March of 2001. We could be reaching here, though it couldn’t have hurt.
Gina Torres and Fishburne enjoyed (mostly) a 15-year marriage and have one child together. They also starred in the series Hannibal, playing a married couple. Sadly, the duo divorced in 2018.
GINA TORRES: SINGER
Gina Torres is also an accomplished singer. As she tells it, it was one of her first loves. “Singing was definitely one of my loves. It continues to be one of my loves. … I did a lot of musical theater when I was first starting out in this business and thought really that was all I wanted to do, just sing and act and be on Broadway and live my life happily in that way. Then, as life does, it took a turn and other great things have happened.”
Below is an interview where she describes her desire to sing. Then she sings.
Torres did study opera and jazz before she made the leap to acting, but she does continue to belt out a few notes here and there.
As mentioned, Gina Torres is and remains a busy woman. With 94 acting credits to her name, the list continues to grow. Now, we could attempt to list all her accomplishments, but that could take some time. Here are a few though. The Shield, Alias, Standoff, Bones, The Vampire Diaries, Gossip Girl, Castle (where she reunited with Nathan Fillion), and The Catch.
What Gina Torres may be best known for, though, is her impressive run on the TV series Suits, playing Jessica Pearson. She appeared in 94 episodes over the series nine-season run and became such an integral character that it was a shock when she walked away from the part.
On her decision to leave, Torres told The New York Times, “My contract was up, so this wasn’t a power play that went terribly wrong.” And then Gina Torres added, “My personal life needed to be tended to.”
This interview was in 2016 before Gina Torres and Fishburne announced their divorce. Seems she was right in needing to take care of her personal life. As things began to crumble for her and Fishburne, Torres approached showrunner Aaron Korsh. “It’s not that I don’t love the show and love Jessica, who is my alter ego. But my life is my life, and I need to take care of it.” So, she did. But the beauty of Hollywood is never say never and you can go back to the well more than once. So, she did.
Gina Torres resurrected her alter ego, Jessica Pearson in the 2019 series Pearson. The setting changed, from New York to Chicago, and even her character changed with the scenery. But Torres wanted her new Jessica to grow. So, she asked Korsh how they plan to do that. His response, “I just need Jessica to be a superhero.” And that’s what Torres did. To her, “that meant looking fabulous, flying in on a case, saving any given situation, making sure that the boys stayed on point. I thought my job was to keep Metropolis safe. And now [in “Pearson”] we’re seeing a fully realized woman.”
GINA TORRES NOW
Pearson lasted for one season. Unfortunately, her character didn’t find the audience necessary to keep it going, but that still hasn’t slowed down Gina Torres. Her work ethic continues to be strong. She has recently been seen in HBO’s Westworld, Riverdale, Elena of Avalor, and just this year in the movie Troubled Waters and the pilot for the series The Brides. This is a testament to all her hard work and love of the art.
Her vast accomplishments as an actress undoubtedly will continue to keep her busy, the only way she does it.