An artist, a dancer, and a true “actor’s actor,” hard-working Khandi Alexander began her career on-stage with the first national touring company of Bob Fosse’s Dancin’ and then on Broadway in Dreamgirls. While the mid-’80s saw Alexander land small roles in movies like Streetwalkin’ and Maid to Order, her skills as a dancer earned her a full scholarship at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater School. Her dance career also regularly found her appearing in award shows, which eventually brought her into contact with pop sensation Whitney Houston. Impressed with Alexander’s talent and no-nonsense attitude, Houston signed Alexander on to choreograph her sold-out I’m Your Baby Tonight world tour.
Music was only part of the picture for the thespian, however, and to pursue her dream of becoming an accomplished actress, Alexander enrolled at the Stella Adler Conservatory. While she would continue to accept supporting roles in projects she was attracted to, two prominent gigs would catapult Alexander’s career in 1995 when she accepted a regular part on the prime-time drama ER as sister to Eriq La Salle’s Dr. Peter Benton, as well as a starring role in the critically acclaimed ensemble sitcom NewsRadio. While the two strong characters and formats were drastically different, Alexander stayed with NewsRadio until 1998, and continued to reprise her role on ER for seven years.
After retiring from both of her TV gigs, Alexander continued to participate in a variety of projects until 2002, when an irresistible character would draw her back into television. The CSI spin-off CSI: Miami offered the part of smart, dignified coroner named Dr. Alexx Woods. The character seemed tailor-made for the charismatic actress, who joined the cast from the show’s inception. Alexander would stick with the series for season upon season, as it became one of the most watched shows on TV.
Alexander never abandoned the love of dance and stage acting that once dominated her career. In 1998 she played the leading role of Velma Kelly in a nationally touring production of Bob Fosse’s Chicago. She has also taken to the stage in productions such as The Tragic and Horrible Life of the Singing Nun, Does a Tiger Wear a Necktie?, Legacy, Period of Adjustment, and Color of Blue.