Jennifer Hudson was born in Chicago, Illinois on Sept. 12, 1981. She started singing in her church choir at the age of seven. Her late maternal grandmother, Julia Kate Hudson also sang for the church and became Jennifer's vocal inspiration. Throughout elementary and high school Jennifer participated in various talent shows and productions that honed her skills as a singer. In 2002 Jennifer’s melodic gifts landed her a singing contract with the Disney Cruise Ship line "The Disney Wonder" where she portrayed Calliope, a main character in the ship’s entertainment extravaganza. The show which the singer considered a huge milestone in her life ran from February to August of 2003 and inspired Jennifer to pursue her chosen career much more seriously than ever before.
In 2004 Jennifer auditioned in Atlanta, Georgia for the third season of Fox's "American Idol" reality series. She made the cut and quickly moved along to the semifinalist round. Her songs as a participant in the series included Whitney Houston's "I Have Nothing," Elton John's "The Circle of Life," and Martha & the Vandellas' "(Love Is Like a) Heat Wave." Though Ryan Seacrest later indicated that Jennifer received a higher number of votes than any performer from a previous episode, she was eliminated from the running. Reigning judge Randy Jackson, a highly respected music producer, brought Jennifer back in the wildcard round to join the finalists, but with seven contenders remaining she was booted off of the series, despite the well-publicized fact that her range and ability clearly outflanked those of her competitors. That decision infuriated her fans and Elton John, a previous guest judge on Idol, accused Simon Cowell and others of stark racism, while other commentators, acknowledging that two of Jennifer’s competitors were also African-American, suspected a deliberate decision to split the contenders demographically.
In late 2005 Jennifer auditioned among 783 hopefuls for the lead role of Effi "Melody" White in "Chicago" screenwriter Bill Condon's hotly anticipated film musical "Dreamgirls," an adaptation of the early '80s Tony award-winning Broadway hit. Jennifer landed the part while cutting her first album and had to gain almost 25 pounds to perfect Effi's look onscreen. Production commenced in January 2006.
A media blitz surrounded Jennifer’s triumph in the role that lifted her into the limelight even months prior to the U.S. release of "Dreamgirls" in December 2006. This buzz included advance talk of a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination and widespread comparisons to Jennifer Holliday, who originated the Effi role on Broadway in 1981. The press helped Jennifer land a record deal with Clive Davis's J Records. In 2006 and 2007 Jennifer’s breakout performance in “Dreamgirls” has won her many awards for Best Supporting Actress including the Broadcast Film Critics Awards, the African American Film Critics Association, New York Film Critics Online, New York Film Critics Circle and the Satellite Awards. She’s also won Breakthrough Performance Awards from the Washington, D.C. Film Critics Association, Hollywood Life Awards, New York Film Critics Online and National Board of Review. Jennifer has also received Best Supporting Actress nominations from the Golden Globe Awards, the NAACP Image Awards, BAFTA and the Screen Actors Guild Awards. Jennifer was named Sho West's Female Star of Tomorrow.
On February 25, 2007 Jennifer won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in "Dreamgirls."
Jennifer's film credit include the following:
Check out the following sites for additional information about Jennifer:
Jennifer Hudson@Internet Movie Database
Official Fansite of Jennifer Hudson
Jennifer Hudson Official Website
'Idol' finalist Hudson lands lead in 'Dreamgirls' film
Jennifer Hudson's World
American Idol Jennifer Hudson
Jennifer Hudson, one-time 'Idol' wannabe, turns into a screen idol in "Dreamgirls"
Jennifer Hudson signs with Clive Davis
Jennifer Hudson News
Jennifer Hudson News, Interviews & Updates
Jennifer Hudson News Archives
News dated 9/27/2006 thru 2/20/2007