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Jennifer Hudson

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Jennifer Hudson is a Grammy Award-winning recording artist, Academy Award-winning actress and best-selling author. Bright and booming talent Hudson is a perfect example of how NOT winning the title of American Idol (2002) can actually be a boon to your career and not necessarily the end of a childhood dream. Hudson was born Jennifer Kate Hudson on September 12, 1981, in Chicago, Illinois, to Darnell Donnerson and Samuel Simpson. She earned minor attention as one of the twelve finalists on the third season of the FOX TV series in 2004. She came in an underwhelming sixth runner-up. Hudson grew up singing in gospel choirs, acting in community theater productions, singing on cruise ships and touring for in Disney's Hercules: The Musical. With no formal musical training, her gospel-tinged voice initially pleased the panel of judges. The songs were arguably ill-advised but evidence of her greatness peeked through at times. She, Fantasia Barrino and La Toya London were promoted as the show's own version of the Dreamgirls and were expected to be the final three standing in the competition when Jennifer was unexpectedly cut from the pack. Fantasia won the competition and all the glory and the fame. Hudson appeared with the "American Idol" summer tour and performed on the road in concerts over the next two years. She auditioned for the coveted role of Effie Melody White, the cast-off member of a popular 60s Supremes-like girl group in the long-awaited film version of the Broadway musical Dreamgirls. Among Jennifer's competition was Fantasia herself. This time Jennifer was the winner, and was ordered to gain weight for the role. With the insurmountable task of taking over a role so indelibly identified with Tony-winning legend Jennifer Holliday, the making of Dreamgirls (2006). In a role of a lifetime, Hudson no longer had to play second fiddle to anyone. Her role in Dreamgirls (2006) was one of the most triumphant musical film debuts since Barbra Streisand in Funny Girl (1968). Hudson made the role her own delivering the same heart-breaking, gut-wrenching one-two punch that made Holliday the toast of Broadway in 1981. To outshine BeyoncĂ© Knowles and Eddie Murphy is no easy task but Hudson was the heart and soul of the movie. She copped awards from the National Board of Review, New York Film Critics, Phoenix Film Critics Society, Golden Satellite, Golden Globe, the British Film and the coveted Oscar. The late, tragic Florence Ballard, on whom the Effie character is based, would be very inspired indeed to see Jennifer Hudson's meteoric rise to musical star. Hudson has since made an impact in the world of music with the successful release of both of her Sony/Arista Records albums. Her sophomore album, "I Remember Me," was introduced on March 22, 2011 to rave reviews. The album debuted at No. 2 on Billboard's Top 200 and R&B Albums charts and has since been certified RIAA Gold in the U.S. She went on to receive a 2012 Billboard Music Award nomination for Top R&B Album as well as taking home two 2012 NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Music Video and Outstanding Album. Additional collaborations include "Think Like A Man" with Ne-Yo and Rick Ross for the title track of the film and critically acclaimed single "Night Of Your Life" with David Guetta for his most recent hit-album "Nothing But The Beat." Hudson's 2008 debut self-titled record won a Grammy Award for "Best R & B Album," which was presented by one of Hudson's idols, Whitney Houston. She also received three additional nominations including "Best Female R&B Vocal Performance," "Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals" and "Best R&B Song." The album then went on to win three awards at the 2009 NAACP Image Awards including "Best Album." The RIAA Gold Certified album entered Billboard's Top 200 at No. 2 and marked the biggest first week sales for an R&B female entry since 2004 and has since sold over 1.1 million albums worldwide to date. 2013 was an exciting year for Hudson's music career, most recently being honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Hudson also ended the year by releasing the critically acclaimed single "I Can't Describe (The Way I Feel)," produced by Pharrell Williams and featuring T.I.. She was also honored with the privilege to perform the Presidential Inauguration, Super Bowl XLVII and the Academy Awards. In addition, Hudson was also honored by the Recording Academy at the Annual Grammy's on the Hill for her philanthropic efforts, specifically with her organization, the Julian D. King Gift Foundation. The same year, Hudson was honored at VH1's Do Something Awards for her charitable work and also at Variety's Power of Women luncheon with the Samsung Galaxy Impact Award. In 2014, Hudson released the third single off her Sony/RCA album, scheduled for release this fall. The song, "It's Your World" features R. Kelly, who also produced the Studio 54-inspired dance track. Just prior, Hudson released "Walk It Out," produced by and featuring Timbaland, which functions as a reminder and a connection to Hudson's roots. The unreleased album has been garnering serious attention with the release of fresh tracks that show off a new sound, a thoughtful departure and a fearless rendering of her work produced by artists like Pharrell, Gorgon City, Timbaland, R. Kelly and others. In spring of 2014, Hudson was seen in "Lullaby," a film by director Andrew Levitas. In November 2013, Hudson also appeared in her first movie musical since "Dreamgirls," in "Black Nativity." Just prior, Hudson was seen in "The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete." In September of the same year, Hudson starred alongside Terrence Howard in Darrell Roodt's "Winnie Mandela." The role recently garnered Hudson an NAACP Image Award nomination for "Best Actress". Expanding her talents in the arts, Hudson added author to her list of accomplishments in January 2012 with the release her New York Times best-selling memoir, "I Got This: How I Changed My Ways, Found Myself and Lost Everything that Weighed Me Down". Hudson also received an NAACP Image Award nomination in 2009 for her role in Fox Searchlight's "The Secret Life of Bees." Prior to "Bees," Hudson co-starred in the box office hit "Sex and the City: The Movie." In 2009, Jennifer, along with her sister Julia, founded The Julian D. King Gift Foundation, as a catalyst for change in children's health, education and welfare. The Foundation exists to provide stability, support and positive experiences for children of all backgrounds so that they will become productive, confident and happy adults.  See full bio on IMDb »

LATEST STORIES
  
Jennifer Hudson Is Super Comfy Returning to Work During Custody Battle

Jennifer Hudson
Back to Work and Super Comfy During Custody Battle

Jennifer Hudson is returning to work while still in the middle of the custody battle with David Otunga, and if nothing else ... she's determined to feel cozy.  J Hud was in… READ MORE >

Jennifer Hudson Dodged Court Testimony On Abuse Allegations (UPDATE)

David Otunga
Jennifer Artfully Dodged Testifying On Abuse Allegations

7:56 AM PT -- A source close to Jennifer says the singer would have no issue testifying in court because she has witnesses to back up her account of the altercation that went down the night… READ MORE >

- 15 days ago
Jennifer Hudson Satisfied Son Is Safe Now that David Otunga's Out of Her House

Jennifer Hudson
Doing What's Best for Her Son With Otunga Out of House

Jennifer Hudson agreed to let David Otunga see their son again, but only because he's out of her house and no longer a physical threat to her ... according to sources connected to the singer. The… READ MORE >

- 15 days ago
David Otunga Wins Custody Back, Jennifer Hudson's Order of Protection Dropped

David Otunga
Wins Custody Back Jennifer Hudson's Order of Protection Dropped

David Otunga is back in business with his son, because he's now the primary custodial parent ... TMZ has learned. Sources tell TMZ Jennifer Hudson and David reached a temporary custody agreement… READ MORE >

- 16 days ago
Jennifer Hudson Silent About David Otunga's Hearing

Jennifer Hudson
Mum's the Word

Jennifer Hudson isn't dishing much these days in the midst of a custody battle ... except a courteous hello. We got Jennifer at LAX Sunday where we asked her about her baby daddy David… READ MORE >

- 17 days ago
Jennifer Hudson Must Hand Over Son to David Otunga For Thanksgiving

Jennifer Hudson
Son Goes with Dad for Thanksgiving

Daivd Otunga just won a big legal victory in his custody battle with Jennifer Hudson ... he gets their son for Thanksgiving. TMZ has learned both sides squared off in court Tuesday and David made… READ MORE >

- 23 days ago
David Otunga Asks Judge to Throw Out Jennifer Hudson's Restraining Order

David Otunga
Jennifer Hudson Did Me Dirty Throw Out Her Restraining Order!

Jennifer Hudson played super dirty by sneaking into court to get an order of protection against baby daddy David Otunga to get a leg up in their custody dispute ... so claims Otunga's lawyer.… READ MORE >

- 27 days ago
David Otunga Says Jennifer Hudson is Lying About Abuse and Parenting

David Otunga
Jennifer Hudson is Lying About Abuse and Parenting

Jennifer Hudson is dreaming when she says she's the primary caregiver of 8-year-old David Jr., and she's lying when she says her baby daddy was physically abusive ... so says baby daddy David… READ MORE >

- 27 days ago
David Otunga Pulls Out of WWE 'Survivor Series' In Wake of Jennifer Hudson Split

David Otunga
Pulls Out of WWE 'Survivor Series' ... In Wake of J-Hud Split

David Otunga will no longer be a part of WWE's coverage of 'Survivor Series' on Sunday ... TMZ Sports has learned.  Otunga is a regular as a host/commentator for WWE events and he was… READ MORE >

- 27 days ago
Jennifer Hudson Confronted by David Otunga Over Cheating Allegations with Mali Music

Jennifer Hudson
Confronted by David Otunga ... Over Cheating Allegations

Jennifer Hudson and David Otunga broke up after he confronted her, claiming she was secretly dating music producer Mali Music ... TMZ has learned. Hudson denies having any relationship with… READ MORE >

- 27 days ago
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