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Who Is Da'Vine Joy Randolph? All About The Holdovers' Breakout Star

The Oscar nominee has an MFA from Yale. 

By Elizabeth Logan

Thanks to her role in The Holdovers, now streaming exclusively on Peacock, Da'Vine Joy Randolph is a first-time Oscar nominee and on her way to bona fide movie stardom. But you've probably seen some of her earlier work without even realizing it. The Yale grad has been a working actress for a decade, but she's never shed her Philly roots. Read on to learn all about the fan favorite.

How Da'Vine Joy Randolph's got her name

"It’s DAY. VINE. Day-Vine," she told Philadelphia Magazine, explaining her name's sweet origins. "My parents told me it took them seven years to have me and that I was a divine joy. So, Da’Vine Joy!"

Where is Da'Vine Joy Randolph from?

Randolph grew up in in the Mount Airy neighborhood of Philadelphia and describes a rather idyllic childhood. "We used to play outside all … the … time. This was in the ’90s. There was this ice-cream truck that went around...She used to have really good water ice and cheese pretzels...And I used to go to all the museums all the time. The Art Museum, the Please Touch Museum," she told Philadelphia.

Da'Vine Joy Randolph attends the 15th Annual AAFCA Awards

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She later moved to Hershey to attend the Hershey Milton School, where her parents worked. Randolph studied classical vocal performance and the performing arts at Temple University, then went on to earn her acting MFA from Yale.

How did Da'Vine Joy Randolph get her start?

Randolph's big break came when, at age 25, she was cast as the understudy for Oda Mae Brown in the Broadway musical Ghost, the role played by Whoopi Goldberg in the film. While the New York production was still rehearsing, the actress playing the role on London's West End injured herself, so Randolph was flown out to help cover for her while she recovered. Later, she earned a Tony nomination for playing the role on Broadway.

Da'Vine Joy Randolph on the red carpet for the British Vogue And Tiffany & Co. Celebrate Fashion And Film Party

Da'Vine Joy Randolph's other TV and movie roles

Since breaking through on stage, Randolph has enjoyed a varied career, with parts in shows and movies, comedies, and dramas. Some of her most notable roles include Charmonique on the short-lived sitcom Selfie, three episodes of This Is Us as Tanya, Carla in Office Christmas Party, Lady Reed in Dolemite Is My Name, Destiny on The Idol and as Detective Donna Williams on Hulu's Only Murders in the Building.

Da'Vine Joy Randolph on what's next for her

After a long time in the biz, Randolph is keeping her head squarely on her shoulders as she enters the next phase of her career. 

“I’ve been the ‘breakthrough’ in almost every project I’ve done,” told USA Today. “At first, I thought that was bad, like, ‘Dang, am I not that memorable?’ But I had to reframe that in my mind: If you’re fresh and new and being discovered in every project, that’s a win.”

Da'Vine Joy Randolph wears a blue dress during a special screening of "The Holdovers"

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Having been trained as an opera singer, Randolph is now pursuing a biopic of a famous singer she won't name. "It's me coming back to myself; reclaiming and reintroducing the fullness of me," she told the paper. "I feel like I'm just getting started."

She plans to keep shaking things up. "It's my job to bring [the] character's idiosyncrasies to life and not generalize or stereotype. It’s exciting for me to bounce all over the place and flex my muscles," she told W in 2022. And she might even start a clothing line. She told Elle the same year, "I really feel a mission, a responsibility, and a kinship to curvy women—of them having what they need. So down the line, the very near future, a collection is definitely in the works."

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