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Jeffrey Wright

Jeffrey Wright

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Also Known As: Died:
Born: December 7, 1965 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: United States Profession: actor, bike messenger

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

After developing a prolific and acclaimed career on the stage, actor Jeffrey Wright quietly worked his way into the public consciousness in chameleon-like fashion, playing a wide range of roles in features and on television. Though he spent several years honing his craft off-Broadway and in regional theater, Wright staked his reputation with a Tony Award-winning performance in the widely acclaimed play, "Angels in America: Perestroika," which he later reprised almost a decade later in the highly lauded HBO miniseries. In between the play and the six-part movie, Wright built a resume that included deft performances as such divergent historical figures as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Jean-Michel Basquiat, as well as an array of strong supporting roles in "Celebrity" (1998) and "Shaft" (2000). After earning an Emmy for "Angels in America," Wright had finally broken through to the mainstream, earning meatier parts in "Syriana" (2005), "Casino Royale" (2006) and "W" (2008). The versatile actor continued to genre hop, jumping from the musical biopic "Cadillac Records" (2008) to the sci-fi thriller "Source Code" (2011) to the prescient political drama "The Ides of March" (2011) with impressive ease. While...

After developing a prolific and acclaimed career on the stage, actor Jeffrey Wright quietly worked his way into the public consciousness in chameleon-like fashion, playing a wide range of roles in features and on television. Though he spent several years honing his craft off-Broadway and in regional theater, Wright staked his reputation with a Tony Award-winning performance in the widely acclaimed play, "Angels in America: Perestroika," which he later reprised almost a decade later in the highly lauded HBO miniseries. In between the play and the six-part movie, Wright built a resume that included deft performances as such divergent historical figures as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Jean-Michel Basquiat, as well as an array of strong supporting roles in "Celebrity" (1998) and "Shaft" (2000). After earning an Emmy for "Angels in America," Wright had finally broken through to the mainstream, earning meatier parts in "Syriana" (2005), "Casino Royale" (2006) and "W" (2008). The versatile actor continued to genre hop, jumping from the musical biopic "Cadillac Records" (2008) to the sci-fi thriller "Source Code" (2011) to the prescient political drama "The Ides of March" (2011) with impressive ease. While not the marquee draw of some of his contemporaries, Wright could always be counted upon to deliver a performance on par with the very best.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
4.
 Broken City (2013)
5.
6.
 Source Code (2011)
8.
9.
 Cadillac Records (2008)
10.
 W. (2008)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Raised in Washington, D.C. by his mother and aunt
:
Took an acting course in his senior year while pursuing a degree in political science
:
Still planning to attend law school, took a summer job at a prestigious Washington, D.C. firm
1987:
Returning to D.C. after graduation, appeared in several Arena Stage productions
:
Performed at the Yale Rep and in regional theater
:
Arena's founder director Zelda Fischandler arranged for him to receive a full scholarship to NYU
1990:
Feature acting debut, a bit part in "Presumed Innocent"
1991:
TV acting debut, "Separate But Equal" (ABC)
1991:
Played a small role in "Jumpin at the Boneyard"
1993:
Played celebrated jazz musician Sidney Bechet in two installments of ABC's "The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles"
1993:
Originated the role of Belize, Roy Cohn's nurse, in the Broadway play "Angels in America, Part Two: Perestroika"
1996:
Played The Fool to F Murray Abraham's "King Lear" off-Broadway
1996:
Played da Voice on Broadway in "Bring in 'Da Noise, Bring in 'Da Funk"
1996:
First starring role in a film, "Basquiat"; played the celebrated but doomed graffiti artist
1999:
Had featured role as a freed slave involved in the border skirmishes between Missouri and Kansas during the Civil War in "Ride With the Devil"
2000:
Garnered attention portraying a flamboyant Dominican drug lord in "Shaft"
2001:
Played Marting Luther King Jr. in the HBO original "Boycott"
2001:
Acted off-Broadway opposite Don Cheadle in "Topdog/Underdog"; moved to Broadway in 2002 opposite Mos Def
2001:
Portrayed Howard Bingham in "Ali"
2003:
Recreated his award-winning stage role as nurse Belize in the Mike Nichols-directed adaptation of "Angels in America"; received a SAG nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie (2004)
2004:
Starred in the remake of the 1962 thriller "The Manchurian Candidate"
2005:
Co-starred with Ben Stiller in "This Is How It Goes," a play by Neil LaBute about an interracial love triangle set in small-town America; performed at the Public Theater in New York
2005:
Cast in the HBO original movie "Lackawanna Blues," based on Ruben Santiago-Hudson's autobiographical one man show
2005:
Co-starred with Bill Murray in Jim Jarmusch's "Broken Flowers"; earned an Independent Spirit Award Nomination for Best Supporting Male
2005:
Co-starred with George Clooney and Matt Damon in the geopolitical thriller "Syriana," based on the real-life memoirs of CIA agent Robert Baer; produced by Clooney
2006:
Co-starred in M. Night Shyamalan's "Lady in the Water" with Bryce Dallas Howard and Paul Giamatti
2006:
Portrayed Felix Leiter, Bond's long time CIA friend in "Casino Royale," starring Daniel Craig as 007
2007:
Co-starred with Bruce Willis in "Live Free or Die Hard," the fourth "Die Hard" film in long-running franchise
2008:
Portrayed former Secretary of State Colin Powell in Oliver Stone's controversial film "W."
2008:
Reprised role of Felix Leiter in "Quantum of Solace"; second collaboration with Craig as Agent 007
2008:
Portrayed American blues musician Muddy Waters in musical biopic "Cadillac Records"
2011:
Landed featured role in "Source Code" opposite Jake Gyllenhaal
2011:
Cast in "The Ides of March" with George Clooney, who also directed, co-wrote, and produced
2011:
Cast opposite Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock in 9/11 drama "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close," Stephen Daldry's feature adaptation of Jonathan Safran Foer's novel
2013:
Acted with Mark Wahlberg and Russell Crowe in crime drama "Broken City"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

St. Albans School: Washington , Washington D.C. - 1983
Amherst College: Amherst , Massachusetts - 1987
New York University: New York , New York - 1988

Notes

"Since shooting wrapped, Wright has been starring as the narrator in "Bring in 'Da Noise, Bring in 'Da Funk", the smash Broadway play about the history of tap-dancing and race in America. After a recent matinee performance, Wright was onstage fielding questions from high school students . 'How did you choose the professions for the scene where black men can't get a taxicab?' he was asked. 'They should have added a fifth', Wright suggested. 'An actor trying to get a taxi after the theater'." --From "Jeffrey Wright" by Christina Kelly in Us, September 1996.

"Of getting snubbed by cabdrivers, the actor says, 'It's the assumption that you're a criminal or that you're not going to pay or that you're a f---up when in actuality you just got off a Broadway stage. It makes you want to throw rocks.' Once, he was so incensed that he kicked the door of a cab that refused to pick him up. 'The driver got out and pulled out a bottle of some kind of flammable liquid and was going to burn me', he says. 'It was madness over this slight. But these small slights build up.'" --From "Jeffrey Wright" by Christina Kelly in US, September 1996.

Wright has expressed interest in portraying such other African-American culture heroes as Langston Hughes and Adam Clayton Powell.

"I've had people ask me, 'We'll are you going to stick with this theater thing?' as if there's no joy in craft. And it makes no sense...for me, [theater is] as honorable a thing as making a million dollars."- Wright Ebony

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Carmen Ejogo. Actor. Starred opposite one another in the HBO drama "Boycott" (2001); married in 2001.

Family close complete family listing

son:
Elijah. Mother Carmen Ejogo.

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