Anna Deavere Smith to give Jonathan King Lecture on Oct. 6

The playwright, whose works include a one-woman show about health care and the human body, will give a talk titled “Health Care: The Human Story.”

Anna Deavere Smith

Playwright and actress Anna Deavere Smith will deliver the 25th annual Jonathan J. King Lecture at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 6 at the Li Ka Shing Center for Learning and Knowledge.

Smith’s lecture, titled “Health Care: The Human Story,” is free and open to the public.

A recipient of the prestigious MacArthur Foundation Fellowship and the National Humanities Medal, Smith is credited with creating a new form of theater: solo documentaries in which she portrays multiple characters to illuminate complex social issues. These plays include Twilight: Los Angeles, about the 1992 riots following the Rodney King verdict; House Arrest, about the relationship between the press and the presidency; and Let Me Down Easy, about health care and the human body. Smith is perhaps best known to the American public for her television roles as Nancy McNally on The West Wing and Gloria Akalitus on Nurse Jackie. A former Stanford drama professor, she now teaches at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.

The endowed lectureship was established in 1991 to bring attention to the importance of compassionate and humane care for all patients. It honors Jonathan King, who earned a master’s degree and PhD in computer science at Stanford and who became an advocate for patients’ rights after his diagnosis of cancer in 1989.

The Center for Biomedical Ethics organizes the annual event.

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