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  • Writer's pictureAugust Sorenson

Women's History Month '24 - Part 1: Aloma Wright

Updated: Mar 11

In honor of the March 2024 celebration of Women’s History Month, The Actors Society recognizes the achievements of women in the industry with a collection of featured stories of three alumni. This year, we’re highlighting the stories of Aloma Wright (‘81), Agnes Moorehead (‘29), and Jennifer Coolidge (‘82). Below, read an account of Ms. Aloma Wright’s career.


Contact us through your Actors Society account if there’s an additional alumna you’d like to shout out!


Aloma Wright, born in New York and raised in California, graduated from The Academy’s campus on Madison Avenue in 1981. After completing the two-year conservatory program, she found her footing on professional stages, touring with numerous musical productions ranging from Ain’t Misbehavin, the musical revue from Murray Horwitz and Richard Maltby Jr., to The Gospel Truth. In 1996 and 1997, Wright nabbed Drama-Logue Awards for The Visit and From the Mississippi Delta, respectively. Between credits and accolades, the 90s portended a strong career for the ‘81 grad.


While diligently working in playhouses across the country, she began securing screen credits. Making the rounds in 15 separate television series from 1995-2000, including Malcolm in the Middle, Friends, and Frasier, Wright was learning the ropes of screen acting. The 2000s would be equally fruitful; her top “Known for” credits on IMDb are from the first years of the new millennium. Among these credits was a breakout role from one of television’s most iconic, star-making sitcoms.


In 2001, Wright was cast as Nurse Laverne Roberts on the beloved ABC/NBC medical comedy-drama featuring Zach Braff. Wright’s scene-stealing performance as the no-nonsense nurse endeared her to audiences and cemented her as a fan favorite. As the sixth season came to a close, rumors of cancellation abounded. Show creator Bill Lawrence, fearing the end, sought a compelling closure to the series. To land the figurate blow, he elected to have a core cast member killed off. With Nurse Roberts in a coma, the decision was made to pull the plug at season’s end (though Lawrence promised a new part if the show were renewed). Audiences were delighted when season 7 rolled around and his honeyed words materialized. Wright graced the screen as a new character, Nurse Shirley, and reunited with the show again in season 8 when Laverne Roberts appeared in flashbacks.


To join her ever-growing resumé of TV credits, Wright began a long tenure on Days of Our Lives in 2007. What kicked off as a brief, one-episode appearance as Nurse Gillian, Wright would, over the course of eight years and 244 episodes, embody the recurring role of Maxine Landis. Her occupation? Head nurse. This typecast is not lost on Ms. Wright. In a December 2019 interview, she commented, “I’m always the wisecracking nurses and the secretaries with attitude.” 


During her run on “Days,” she landed a co-starring role alongside the Mad Men of Sterling Cooper in season 2, episode 10 of the series titled “The Inheritance.” Airing in 2008, she plays the part of Viola, a maid providing hospice care to Betty’s (January Jones) ailing father. From 2012 to 2013, Wright had a recurring role in Private Practice, the Grey’s Anatomy spinoff from creator Shonda Rhimes. In the six-episode stint, she played Mildred Clemons, a social worker who shared the screen with the show’s lead, Addison Montgomery (Kate Walsh), when the latter sought to adopt a baby.


In 2015, her onscreen work strayed from medicine when she joined Suits, playing Gretchen Bodinski, secretary to Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht). Described as “a woman unlike any of the other women in Harvey’s life,” the role was recurring until the series finale in 2019. She’d venture into Nickelodeon the following year, starring in the sitcom Young Dylan created by Tyler Perry. The series became a home for Ms. Wright, starring in 21 episodes since her first appearance in 2020. It’s habitual for Ms. Wright to turn a role into a recurring one.


As of late, Lifetime, OWN, and Hallmark have been frequent collaborators for the actress. Her type has shifted into that of matriarch–a new territory she’s thrilled to conquer. There are no signs of her career slowing. When asked if she would ever stop acting, she remarked, “I will probably act until I can’t get to set anymore.”

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