S. Epatha Merkerson (born Sharon Epatha Merkerson; November 28, 1952) is an American film, stage, and television actress. She has won a Golden Globe, Emmy Awards, Screen Actors Guild Awards, Obie Award and four NAACP Image Awards. She has also received two Tony Award nominations. She is best known for her role as NYPD Lieutenant Anita Van Buren (1993–2010) on the long-running NBC police procedural drama series Law & Order. She appeared in 390 episodes of the series, more than any other cast member.
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