Her skills as an actress would lead her to a brief stint on Broadway before she got her big break in the 1978 thriller "Remember My Name," also starring Jeff Goldblum and Anthony Perkins.
She has guest-starred and won Emmys for her performances on TV series such as "Hill Street Blues," "L.A. Law," and "The Practice."
Woodard received and Oscar nomination in 1984 for her role as Geechee in the film "Cross Creek," which starred Mary Steenburgen as a troubled author.
In 2005, Woodard became the first African-American actress to become a major character on "Desperate Housewives." She was nominated for an Emmy for her portrayal of Betty Applewhite, a mysterious single mother who moves onto Wisteria Lane.