Mary Jo Randle
Though best known for her portrayal of the lioness Nala in the Broadway sensation "The Lion King," Mary Randle's early career ambition was to be a chemical engineer. While pursuing her Bachelor of Science in Mathematics at Spelman College in Atlanta, the Chicago native considered her passion for the performing arts as only an exciting hobby. Still, it was enough to encourage her to pursue a Master of Fine Arts at New York University's distinguished Tisch School of the Arts. Then in 1997, she was cast in heralded director Julie Taymor's visually rich stage adaptation of Disney's hit animated feature "The Lion King." Her television debut followed in 1999, when she landed a one-off on the long-running crime drama "Law & Order." The following year, she garnered a featured guest spot on the family drama "Providence," a recurring role on the medical drama "City of Angels," and her first film role, a supporting part in the Kevin Bacon-fronted horror-thriller "The Hollow Man." Afterward, Randle focused primarily on her strong theater career, appearing in numerous productions. Still, she continued to make occasional screen appearance on film and television. In 2002, she won a small role in Joel Schumacher's claustrophobic thriller "Phone Booth," which co-starred Colin Farrell and Kiefer Sutherland." That same year, she also snagged a supporting part in the twisted crime drama "ZigZag," which featured Wesley Snipes and John Leguizamo.