Though TV audiences knew Lisa Gay Hamilton best for her roles on shows like "The Practice" (ABC, 1997-2004) and "Chance" (Hulu, 2016-), the seasoned actor had been appearing on both stage and screen for decades by the time she made her mark on television. Born in Los Angeles, Hamilton's family eventually relocated to the east coast, where she began taking private acting classes in Manhattan during junior high school. She earned a BA in drama from the Tisch School of the Arts in 1985, the same year she appeared in the movie "Krush Groove" (1985). After making her Broadway debut in the original production of August Wilson's Pulitzer Prize-winning play "The Piano Lesson" in 1990 and an earning an Obie Award for her role in Athol Fugard's "Valley Song" in 1993, Hamilton enrolled at the Juilliard School and completed an MFA in acting. She would play Rebecca Washington on "The Practice" from 1997 to 2003, and soon got to work directing her Peabody award winning documentary "Beah: A Black Woman Speaks" (2004). She would co-star in John Sayles' "The Honeydripper" (2007), winning the part after attending her audition in full period costume, and soon found a number of high caliber TV roles awaiting her, playing Melissa on the comedy-drama "Men of a Certain Age" (TNT, 2009-2011), and the Hugh Laurie procedural "Chance."