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Djimon Hounsou

Djimon Hounsou

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Also Known As: Djimon Gaston Hounsou, Djimon Hounson Died:
Born: April 24, 1964 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Benin Profession: actor, model

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Model-turned-actor Djimon Hounsou was seemingly plucked from obscurity by producer Debbie Allen and director Steven Spielberg in 1997 to portray Joseph Cinque, the leader of a slave ship mutiny, in "Amistad." His critically acclaimed performance led to supporting roles alongside Hollywood A-listers in historic dramas like "Gladiator" (2000) and the African-set adventure "Blood Diamond" (2006), which earned the actor significant awards and nominations. Unsurprisingly, Hounsou's towering frame and expressive features were tapped for a number of forgettable good vs. evil actioners, but he made the strongest mark in character-driven dramas like "In America" (2002) and Julie Taymor's "The Tempest" (2009), where he revealed the uncommon sensitivity and emotional range behind the powerful, commanding presence.

Model-turned-actor Djimon Hounsou was seemingly plucked from obscurity by producer Debbie Allen and director Steven Spielberg in 1997 to portray Joseph Cinque, the leader of a slave ship mutiny, in "Amistad." His critically acclaimed performance led to supporting roles alongside Hollywood A-listers in historic dramas like "Gladiator" (2000) and the African-set adventure "Blood Diamond" (2006), which earned the actor significant awards and nominations. Unsurprisingly, Hounsou's towering frame and expressive features were tapped for a number of forgettable good vs. evil actioners, but he made the strongest mark in character-driven dramas like "In America" (2002) and Julie Taymor's "The Tempest" (2009), where he revealed the uncommon sensitivity and emotional range behind the powerful, commanding presence.

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Paradise Lost (2017)
2.
 Tarzan (2016)
6.
 Seventh Son (2015)
9.
 Banana Republic (2014)
10.
 Elephant White (2011)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Born and raised in Benin
:
Sent to live with an older brother in Lyons, France
:
Dropped out of school and moved to Paris
1986:
Discovered by fashion designer Thierry Mugler while living in the streets of Paris
1988:
Cast by David Fincher in the music videos "Straight Up" (by Paula Abdul) and "Express Yourself" (by Madonna)
1990:
Moved to Los Angeles, CA
1990:
Appeared in Janet Jackson's music video for her single "Love Will Never Do Without You"
1990:
Made film debut as Sandra Bernhard's ex-boyfriend in "Without You, I'm Nothing"; used his full name in billing
1992:
Landed bit parts in "Unlawful Entry" (1992) and "Stargate" (1994); billed only as 'Djimon'
1997:
Breakthrough screen role, as the slave Cinque in Steven Spielberg's "Amistad"
1999:
Joined the cast of "ER" (NBC) in recurring role of a political exile who finds menial work at the hospital
2000:
Cast in featured role opposite Russell Crowe in the Oscar-winning "Gladiator"
2002:
Narrated HBO drama about the slave trade "The Middle Passage"
2002:
Had supporting role in the remake of "Four Feathers"
2003:
Featured in Jim Sheridan's "In America"; received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor
2003:
Co-starred with Angelina Jolie in "Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life"
2005:
Cast opposite Queen Latifah, as the sexy piano-playing electrician in the comedy "Beauty Shop"
2005:
Starred in Michael Bay directed thriller "The Island"
2006:
Co-starred with Leonardo DiCaprio in Edward Zwick's "Blood Diamond"; received SAG and Oscar nominations for Best Supporting Actor
2006:
Cast as Ajihad, the leader of the Varden in the fantasy/adventure movie "Eragon"
2008:
Cast as a veteran fighter who trains a young man who is bullied in "Never Back Down"
2009:
Co-starred in supernatural thriller "Push"
2010:
Starred as Caliban in Julie Taymor directed adaptation of Shakespeare's "The Tempest"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Notes

His name is pronounced JI-mon HON-sue.

"School bored me. Being educated and being intelligent are two different things. I thought I was smart enough. And I wanted to be an entertainer. I stopped going to school as a way of saying I was mature, a way of saying I was going to choose who I was going to become." --Djimon Hounsou in DAILY NEWS, December 3, 1997

"There's so much to do and so much that I want to accomplish without anybody putting limitations on me. I'm still going through the adversity of being typecast, but that's the nature of the industry." - Hounsou Venice Magazine, August 2003

Companions close complete companion listing

companion:
Victoria Mahoney. Actor, screenwriter. Born c. 1966.

Family close complete family listing

mother:
Albertine Hounsou. Died in 1989.
brother:
Edmond Hounsou. Hounsou was sent to live with him in France.
father:
Pierre Hounsou. Chef.

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