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Chadwick Boseman
Chadwick Boseman by Gage Skidmore July 2017 (cropped).jpg
Boseman at the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con
Born
Chadwick Aaron Boseman

(1976-11-29)November 29, 1976
Died August 28, 2020(2020-08-28) (aged 43)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Alma mater Howard University, BFA 2000
British American Drama Academy
Occupation Actor, producer
Years active 2003–2020

Chadwick Aaron Boseman (November 29, 1976 – August 28, 2020) was an American actor known for his portrayals of real-life historical figures such as Jackie Robinson in 42 (2013), James Brown in Get on Up (2014) and Thurgood Marshall in Marshall (2017), and for his portrayal of the superhero Black Panther in the Marvel Cinematic Universe films including the title role in Black Panther (2018). He also appeared in films such as 21 Bridges (2019) and Da 5 Bloods (2020). He died at age 43 following a four-year battle with colon cancer.

Early life

Boseman was born and raised in Anderson, South Carolina, to Carolyn and Leroy Boseman, both African American. According to Boseman, DNA testing has indicated that his ancestors were Krio people from Sierra Leone, Yoruba people from Nigeria and Limba people from Sierra Leone. His mother was a nurse and his father worked at a textile factory, managing an upholstery business as well. Boseman graduated from T. L. Hanna High School in 1995. In his junior year, he wrote his first play, Crossroads, and staged it at the school after a classmate was shot and killed.

Boseman attended college at Howard University in Washington, D.C., graduating in 2000 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in directing. One of his teachers was Phylicia Rashad, who became a mentor. She helped raise funds so that Boseman and some classmates could attend the Oxford Mid-Summer Program of the British American Drama Academy in London, to which they had been accepted.

Boseman wanted to write and direct, and initially began studying acting to learn how to relate to actors. After he returned to the U.S., he graduated from New York City's Digital Film Academy.

He lived in Brooklyn at the start of his career. Boseman worked as the drama instructor in the Schomburg Junior Scholars Program, housed at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem, New York. In 2008, he moved to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career.

Career

Chadwick Boseman Deauville 2014
Boseman at the Deauville Film Festival in September 2014

Boseman got his first television role in 2003, in an episode of Third Watch. His early work included episodes of the series Law & Order, CSI:NY, and ER. He also continued to write plays, with his script for Deep Azure performed at the Congo Square Theatre Company in Chicago; it was nominated for a 2006 Joseph Jefferson Award for New Work. In 2008, he played a recurring role on the television series Lincoln Heights and appeared in his first feature film, The Express: The Ernie Davis Story. He landed a regular role in 2010 in another television series, Persons Unknown.

Boseman had his first starring role in the 2013 film 42, in which he portrayed baseball pioneer and star Jackie Robinson. He had been directing an off-Broadway play in East Village when he auditioned for the role, and was considering giving up acting and pursuing directing full-time at the time. About 25 other actors had been seriously considered for the role, but director Brian Helgeland liked Boseman's bravery and cast him after he had auditioned twice. In 2013, Boseman also starred in the indie film The Kill Hole, which was released in theaters a few weeks before the film 42.

In 2014, Boseman appeared opposite Kevin Costner in Draft Day, in which he played an NFL draft prospect. Later that year, he starred as James Brown in Get on Up. In 2016, he starred as Thoth, a deity from Egyptian mythology, in Gods of Egypt.

In 2016 he started portraying the Marvel Comics character T'Challa / Black Panther, with Captain America: Civil War being his first film in a five-picture deal with Marvel. He headlined Black Panther in 2018, which focused on his character and his home country of Wakanda in Africa. The film opened to great anticipation, becoming one of the highest-grossing films of the year in the United States. He reprised the role in both Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, which were released in 2018 and 2019, respectively. Both films were the highest grossing of the year they were released, with Endgame going on to become the highest-grossing film of all time. In the same year 2019 he starred in 21 Bridges, a American action thriller film directed by Brian Kirk, as an NYPD detective who shuts down the eponymous 21 bridges of Manhattan to find two suspected cop killers.

In 2019, it was announced that Boseman was cast in the Netflix war drama film Da 5 Bloods, directed by Spike Lee. The film was released on June 12, 2020.

Personal life

Boseman was raised a Christian and was baptized. Boseman was part of a church choir and youth group and his former pastor said that he had still kept his faith. Boseman has stated that he prayed to be the Black Panther before he was cast as the character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

He was a vegetarian.

Boseman was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2016 but continued filming roles between surgeries and chemotherapy.

Death

He died of complications related to his four-year battle with colon cancer in his home on August 28, 2020.

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Nominated work Result Ref.
2017 43rd Saturn Awards Best Supporting Actor Captain America: Civil War Nominated
2018 MTV Movie & TV Awards Best Fight (Black Panther vs M'Baku) Black Panther Nominated
Best Hero Won
Best On-Screen Team (with Lupita Nyong'o, Letitia Wright and Danai Gurira) Nominated
44th Saturn Awards Best Actor Nominated
2019 Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture Won
NAACP Image Awards NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture Won
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