Though she had her start in the indie film world, actress Kerry Washington scored her first big breakthrough role as a street-smart mom in the surprise mainstream hit, "Save the Last Dance" (2001). Seemingly emerging out of the blue, Washington actually paid her dues on the stage and in a number of small films before her breakout performance, which paved the way for another acclaimed turned in "The United States of Leland" (2003). But it was her high-profile performance as Ray Charles' loyal second wife opposite Oscar-winner Jamie Foxx in "Ray" (2004) that turned her into a major star. Also at the time, she was the lead in Spike Lee's "She Hate Me" (2004) and achieved blockbuster status as Alicia Masters in "The Fantastic Four" (2005) and "The Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer" (2007). Balancing major studio films with smaller acclaimed dramas, she delivered a strong performance as Idi Amin's out-of-favor wife in "The Last King of Scotland" (2006) and shined in the ensemble drama "Mother and Child" (2010) and Quentin Tarantino's Western "Django Unchained" (2012). While she made a number of appearances on television, Washington was never the star of a series until "Scandal" (ABC, 2012- ), a red-hot drama where she played a fictional version of real-life crisis manager Judy Smith. Whether on the big or small screen, the highly ambitious Washington excelled in a variety of roles and became a favorite performer of numerous directors.