Black Panther Actor Chadwick Boseman Dead at 43

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“He died in his home, with his wife and family by his side. The family thanks you for your love and prayers, and asks that you continue to respect their privacy during this difficult time.”

An immense talent with a warm South Carolinian drawl rarely seen on screen, Boseman was best known for his often riveting portraits of historical figures prior to Black Panther. From playing Jackie Robinson in 42 to Thurgood Marshall in Marshall, to absolutely nailing the rhythm of James Brown in Get on Up, Boseman brought intimacy to figures often presented as larger than life in the media.

In his own life, Boseman was born in Anderson, South Carolina in 1976. After growing up in the South, he went to school in Washington D.C.’s historic Howard University, a private school chartered shortly after the Civil War and dedicated to the education of Black students. Boseman graduated from Howard in 2000 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Directing.

Living in New York and then Los Angeles, Boseman worked his way up from small television guest spots, beginning with Third Watch and Law & Order, to starring in 2010’s Persons Unknown. His breakthrough came in playing Robinson in 42. Set during Robinson’s groundbreaking entrance into Major League Baseball, the film pitted Boseman opposite Harrison Ford as Brooklyn Dodgers owner Branch Rickey. It was a winsome turn by Boseman, one that paved the way to Get on Up.

But his biggest international acclaim occurred when Boseman was cast as T’Challa, Prince of the fictional African nation Wakanda in Captain America: Civil War. With shining armor that celebrated Afrofuturism iconography, it was an inspiring image that only became further realized in Ryan Coogler’s groundbreaking Black Panther (2018). That film grossed more than $1.3 billion worldwide and earned an astronomical $700 million in the U.S. alone. The first major superhero movie with a nine-figure budget to star a Person of Color, Black Panther also became the first superhero movie to be nominated for a Best Picture Oscar at the Academy Awards.

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