Chadwick Boseman was an American actor and producer. He was best 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, most notably in Black Panther (2018), for which he won a NAACP Image Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award, Captain America: Civil War (2016), Avengers: Infinity War (2018), and Avengers: Endgame (2019). He also starred in films such as 21 Bridges (2019) and Da 5 Bloods (2020). Boseman died at age 43, four years after being diagnosed with colon cancer.
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.
- Full Name: Chadwick Aaron Boseman
- Other Names: Chad Boseman
- Born: November 29, 1977
- Birth Place: Anderson, South Carolina, U.S.A
- Died: August 28, 2020,
- Place of Death: Los Angeles, California, U.S.A
- Height: 6′ (1.83 m)
- Alma mater Howard University (BFA), British American Drama Academy
- Occupation: Actor, producer
- Years active: 2003–2020
Chadwick Boseman had early success as a stage actor, writer and director, before landing gigs on TV shows like Lincoln Heights. Boseman broke through with his big screen portrayals of two African American icons: baseball player Jackie Robinson in 42, and soul singer James Brown in Get on Up. Boseman later took on the role of Black Panther for a series of Marvel superhero films, including the immensely successful Black Panther in early 2018.
Boseman started to make a name for himself on TV in the mid-2000s, with guest spots on crime dramas like Third Watch and CSI:NY, and on the soap opera All My Children. Additionally, he was one of the performers for the award-winning audio version of the 2005 novel Upstate, by Kalisha Buckhanon.
In 2008 Boseman landed a recurring role as Nathaniel Ray on the ABC Family drama Lincoln Heights, which focused on a suburban family who relocates to the urban community where the police officer patriarch was raised. The series ran for four seasons, with Boseman featured during the last two. During this period, he also had guest-starring roles on ER, Lie to Me, The Glades and Cold Case.
The year 2008 also saw Boseman appearing in Gary Fleder’s The Express, a sports biopic about renowned running back Ernie Davis, who played for Syracuse University during the civil rights era. The film co-starred Rob Brown and Dennis Quaid, with Boseman featured as fellow running back Floyd Little.
Boseman would land his next prominent role as Graham McNair, a Muslim sergeant, on the 2010 NBC summer thriller Persons Unknown. On the series, seven people are kidnapped and trapped in a town by an unknown entity. The following year, Boseman landed additional guest spots on the shows Justified, Detroit 1-8-7, Fringe and Castle.
In 2012 Boseman played the lead role in the film The Kill Hole, directed by Mischa Webley. The indie production revolves around the life of a Portland, Oregon, taxi driver who’s also an Iraq War veteran, haunted by memories of his past and drafted for a new mission by a private firm.
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 still kept his faith. Boseman had 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 stage III colon cancer in 2016, which eventually progressed to a stage IV before 2020. Boseman had not spoken publicly about his cancer diagnosis. News of his death was released on August 28, 2020. During treatment (multiple surgeries and chemotherapy) he continued to work and completed filming for several films, including Marshall, Da 5 Bloods, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and others.
Boseman died at home of complications related to colon cancer on August 28, 2020, with his wife and family by his side.
- All My Children
- Third Watch
- Law & Order
- CSI: NY
- Cold Case
- Lincoln Heights
- Lie to Me
- Persons Unknown
- The Glades
- Detroit 1-8-7
- Saturday Night Live
- As a playwright, his script for “Deep Azure,” performed at the Congo Square Theatre Company in Chicago, Illinois, was nominated for a 2006 Joseph Jefferson Award for New Work.
- A graduate of both Howard University in Washington, D.C., and the British American Dramatic Academy at Oxford, England.
- Grew up in Anderson, S.C., where he excelled in basketball. At age 31, he still plays pick-up games, and also boxes.
- Denzel Washington paid for Chadwick Boseman’s tuition at Oxford University.
- Son of Carolyn (Mattress) and Leroy Boseman.
- After graduating from high school, he enrolled at Howard University in Washington, D.C. where he graduated with a bachelor of fine arts in directing. He subsequently attended the British American Drama Academy in Oxford, England.
- Attended the Schomburg Center for Research in Harlem, New York, studying African (and African American) history.
- Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture (2019 · Black Panther)
- MTV Movie Award for Best Hero (2018 · Black Panther)
- NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture (2019 · Black Panther)
- BET Award for Best Actor (2018)