Two significant career breaks happened for Tracee Ellis Ross in February 2000. The comedic actress made her debut both on MTV’s sketch series The Lyricist Lounge and the UPN sitcom Girlfriends, mere days apart.
Although the comedy from Mara Brock Akil lasted much longer than the short-lived skit offering (and eventually called The CW home), both shows helped to establish Ross as the expressive and quick-witted Golden Globe and NAACP Image Award-winning performer we love and appreciate today. That’s in large part because Ross keeps right on working and honing her craft in big and small television roles alike. And in the latest installment of our recurring TVLine feature, we’ve even managed to rank Ross’ TV work by spotlighting her 8 best performances.
But please don’t scroll down just yet until we’ve explained the ground rules. Our choices focused on her series regular and recurring roles, though we did include notable one-off guest star appearances. Additionally, we limited her voice work to just one entry. And while it crushed our very list-making souls to do so, we ultimately decided to keep TV-movies out of the running.
That said, you shouldn’t miss any opportunity to catch the Los Angeles native in a small-but-meaty turn in HBO’s 2007 HIV-survivor film Life Support, where she makes an appearance as the cold-hearted older sister of Evan Ross’ character. If the last name didn’t tip you off, the two are siblings in real life and are the talented offspring of music legend Diana Ross. Life Support is now streaming on Hulu, HBO Max and Amazon Prime.
Scroll down to review the Ross roles we loved the most. And when you’re done, hit the comments to tell us your favorites, as well as what other actors you’d want to see have their TV roles ranked!