Jean E. Smart (born September 13, 1951) is a multiple Emmy Award-winning American film, television, and stage actress. She is known for her comedic roles, one of the best known being her role as Charlene Frazier Stillfield on the CBS sitcom Designing Women. She later gained critical acclaim for dramatic work, with her portrayal of Martha Logan on 24. Smart most recently appeared as Regina Newly on the ABC sitcom Samantha Who? from 2007 to 2009, another comedic role which garnered the actress an Emmy Award in 2008.
Smart was born in Seattle, Washington, the daughter of Kay and Douglas Smart, a teacher. The second of four children, she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was thirteen. She is a 1969 graduate of Ballard High School, located in Seattle. It is there that she gained an interest in acting in the drama program. Smart is a member of the University of Washington chapter of the Alpha Delta Pi sorority.
After graduating from college, Smart began her career appearing in Regional theater and Off-Broadway productions during the mid 1970s. She made her Broadway debut portraying Marlene Dietrich in the 1981 play Piaf, a role which she would later reprise for the 1984