Penny Johnson Jerald was born in Baltimore, Maryland. After 4 summers of performing in Theatre Project’s Art Circus, Penny continued training at the Juilliard School. After graduating from Juilliard in New York, Penny Johnson Jerald appeared in shows such as The paper Chase and Homeroom, as well as in several movies. Her first major role was in the HBO comedy The Larry Sanders Show, where she played the title character’s assistant, Beverly Barnes. She also held a recurring role in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
Jerald’s best-known role came in 2001, when she joined the Fox series 24 as Sherry Palmer, the devious wife of President David Palmer. She appeared in the show’s first three seasons. This was followed by recurring roles in The 4400, October Road and Eve. Jerald played former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice in two productions on the 9/11 attacks: Showtime’s DC 9/11 in 2003, and ABC’s The Path to 9/11 in 2006. Jerald also teaches acting workshops and produces and directs for Outreach Christian Theater Company, which she and her musician husband Gralin Jerald founded in 1994. While attending Law School Penny joined the cast of ABC’s ‘s Castle series, as police chief Victoria Gates. Penny Johnson Jerald portrayed billionaire Jackie Jones in TV ONE’s highly anticipated movie release:Media. And now, it is with great anticipation that Penny has returned to FOX in Seth MacFarlane’s brainchild, The Orville as Dr. Claire Finn.