Alfre Woodard is the youngest of three children born to her parents in Oklahoma. She was named by her godmother, who claimed she saw a vision of Alfre's name written out in gold letters. Woodard was born on November 8, 1952.
She is a former high school cheerleader and track athlete. She graduated from Boston University.
She has won four Emmys, which is more than any other African American actress in Emmy prime time TV history (1984, 1986, 1997, 2003).
She lives in Santa Monica with her husband, writer Roderick Spencer, and their two adopted children: Mavis and Duncan.