Actor Chadwick Boseman, who brought the movie “Black Panther” to life with his charismatic intensity and regal performance, has died. Boseman has battled colon cancer since 2016 and died at home with his family and wife by his side, according to a statement posted on his Twitter account. He was 43. With his role as King T’Challa in the boundary-breaking film “Black Panther,” he became a global icon and an inspiring symbol of Black power.
A South Carolina native, Boseman graduated in 2000 from Howard University, a historically Black college in Washington, DC. While there, he also attended the British American Drama Academy at Oxford in 1998. He has played several historical figures, such as Jackie Robinson in 42 (2013), James Brown in Get on Up (2014), and Thurgood Marshall in Marshall (2017). His role as the superhero Black Panther in the Marvel Cinematic Universe films, including in Black Panther (2018 ), made him an international star, winning him a NAACP Image Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award.
Boseman got his first television role in 2003, in an episode of Third Watch. That same year, Boseman portrayed Reggie Montgomery in the daytime soap opera All My Children, but stated that he was fired after voicing concerns to producers about racist stereotypes in the script; the role was subsequently re-cast, with Boseman’s future Black Panther co-star Michael B. Jordan assuming the role. 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.
Also in 2019, he starred in 21 Bridges, an 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. After several years of dating, Boseman became engaged to singer Taylor Simone Ledward in October 2019, and they later married in the same year. Boseman was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer in 2016, which eventually progressed to a stage IV before 2020. He had not spoken publicly about his cancer diagnosis. During treatment (multiple surgeries and chemotherapy), he continued to work and completed filming for several films, Boseman died at his home of complications related to colon cancer on August 28, 2020, with his wife and family by his side.