Rutina Wesley is an American film, stage, and TV actress best known for her role as Tara Thornton on the HBO original series True Blood. She was part of the initial starring cast and remained a starring cast member up until her untimely demise in the series' seventh, and final, season.
In December 2006, Wesley starred in David Hare's Broadway play The Vertical Hour, directed by Sam Mendes, alongside Julianne Moore and Bill Nighy. In 2007 Wesley also appeared in The Public Theatre production of In Darfur by playwright Winter Miller, co-starring Heather Raffo, Aaron Lohr among others.
Wesley had a minor role in 2005 film Hitch, which was edited in the final cut. However, she made her on screen debut in the lead role in 2007 film How She Move, from British director Ian Iqbal Rashid. The character Raya Green, who enters a step dancing competition to secure funds for her education, was inspired from Tony Manero, portrayed by John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever. Prior to the shooting of the film, Wesley underwent a five-week dance rehearsal period.
Portraying a woman of Jamaican descent, she also took dialect coaching for the role. Wesley auditioned for the role Tara Thornton in the HBO series True Blood in 2007 and secured the part after creator Alan Ball chose her because "[she] was the first person who showed [Tara's] vulnerable side". She has also filmed "California Winter", which is set to release in 2011.
Rutina Wesley was born February 1, 1979. Wesley divides her time living in Los Angeles and Astoria, Queens. She is married to Jacob Fishel, an actor back in 2005. Wesley filed for divorce on Augest 16th to end her eight-year marriage and cited “irreconcilable differences” as the reason.