Losing his 4-year battle with colon cancer, actor Chadwick Boseman passed away on Friday, August 28th, surrounded by his family.
An immense talent with a big smile and acting chops for days, Boseman was best known for his role as King T’Challa of Marvel’s Black Panther fame. The 2018 film of the same name was the first major studio to back a majority-Black lead (and Black director in Ryan Coogler) for a superhero/comic adaptation. Boseman was immediately thrust into the limelight, a placement that he handled with aplomb and a sense of humor.
Prior to Black Panther (as well as after), Boseman gained a reputation for playing legendary Black folks in biopics. Starring as Jackie Robinson in 42, James Brown in Get on Up and Thurgood Marshall in Marshall, Boseman demonstrated an innate ability to embrace the material and the mantle of some of the Black community’s heaviest hitters.
A graduate of Howard University with a BFA -Directing, Boseman credited actors Phylicia Rashad and Denzel Washington with funding his additional study at the British American Drama Academy in London. Upon his return to the US, he graduated from New York City’s Digital Film Academy to begin his directing career in earnest.
Initially, Boseman sought out directing opportunities; he began acting classes as a way to relate to actors he would be directing.
As a New York-based actor, he ran the Law and Order gauntlet of guest appearances and had a recurring spot on Third Watch. Boseman’s feature film début was in The Express: The Ernie Davis Story.
Married to Taylor Ledward, Boseman fought a valiant and courageous fight against colon cancer. Diagnosed in 2016, he filmed multiple movies and handled hundreds of press junkets while seriously ill. His latest offering was Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods (Netflix); posthumously Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (based on the play by August Wilson) will premiere on Netflix as well.
The film community has lost a talented actor. He’ll be mourned for years to come.
Rest well Chadwick. Rest easy.