Jean Elizabeth Smart (born September 13, 1951) is an American actress. After beginning her career in regional theater in the Pacific Northwest, she appeared on Broadway in 1981 as Marlene Dietrich in the biographical play Piaf. Smart was later cast in a leading role as Charlene Frazier Stillfield on the CBS sitcom Designing Women, in which she starred from 1986 to 1991.
Smart was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play for the 2000 Broadway revival of The Man Who Came to Dinner, and she received two Primetime Emmy Awards for her role as Lana Gardner on the NBC sitcom Frasier (2000–01). She won a third Emmy Award for her supporting role as Regina Newley on the ABC sitcom Samantha Who? (2007–09). She also portrayed Martha Logan on the action drama series 24 (2006–07). Smart is also known for her recurring voice role in Kim Possible (2002–2007). In the past decade Smart has seen a resurgence acting in television series, such as FX's Fargo (2015) and Legion (2017–2019), both created by Noah Hawley, as well as in the HBO projects Watchmen (2019), Mare of Easttown, and Hacks (both 2021), the latter three earning her Primetime Emmy Award nominations, with Hacks winning her the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series and the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Television Series Musical or Comedy.
Smart's film credits include The Brady Bunch Movie (1995), Sweet Home Alabama (2002), Garden State (2004), I Heart Huckabees (2004), Youth in Revolt (2009), The Accountant (2016), and A Simple Favor (2018). She received an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Guinevere (1999).
Smart was married to actor Richard Gilliland, whom she met while working on the set of Designing Women (he played J.D. Shackelford, the boyfriend of Annie Potts's character, Mary Jo Shively). They have two sons, Connor Douglas (born 1989) and Forrest (adopted from China in May 2009). Gilliland played Captain Stan Cotter on 24 while Smart later played First Lady Martha Logan on the same series. Gilliland died after a brief illness in March 2021.
Smart was born and raised in Seattle, Washington, the daughter of Kathleen Marie "Kay" (Sanders) and Douglas Alexander Smart, a teacher. She is the second of four children. Smart was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was 13 years old. Her father was a first-generation Scottish-American. On Season 10 of the television show Who Do You Think You Are?, Smart discovered she is a maternal descendant of Dorcas Hoar, one of the last women convicted of witchcraft during the Salem witch trials.She is a 1969 graduate of Ballard High School in Seattle; it was there that she gained an interest in acting in the drama program. She graduated from the University of Washington Professional Actors Training Program with a BFA. Smart is a member of the University of Washington chapter of the Alpha Delta Pi sorority.