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Chadwick Boseman, ‘Black Panther’ Star, Dies at 43

Chadwick Boseman, ‘Black Panther’ Star, Dies at 43

Chadwick Boseman, star of “Black Panther,” died on Friday after a four year battle with colon cancer, his rep confirmed to Variety. He was 43.

Before he was cast as the Marvel Studios superhero, Boseman’s career first exploded with his portrayals of Black American icons Jackie Robinson (in 2013’s “42”) and James Brown (in 2014’s “Get on Up”).

“It is with immeasurable grief that we confirm the passing of Chadwick Boseman,” said a statement posted to his Twitter feed. “It was the honor of his life to bring King T’Challa to life in ‘Black Panther.'”

Chadwick Aaron Boseman (November 29, 1976 – August 28, 2020) was an American actor and producer. He was best known for his portrayals of real-life historical figures, such as Jackie Robinson in 42 (2013), James Brown in Get on Up (2014), and Thurgood Marshall in Marshall (2017); and for his portrayal of the superhero Black Panther in the Marvel Cinematic Universe films, most notably in Black Panther (2018), for which he won a NAACP Image Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award, Captain America: Civil War (2016), Avengers: Infinity War (2018), and Avengers: Endgame (2019). He also starred in films such as 21 Bridges (2019) and Da 5 Bloods (2020). Boseman died at age 43, four years after being diagnosed with colon cancer.

Walt Disney Co. chairman Bob Iger said, “We are all heartbroken by the tragic loss of Chadwick Boseman — an extraordinary talent, and one of the most gentle and giving souls I have ever met. He brought enormous strength, dignity and depth to his groundbreaking role of Black Panther; shattering myths and stereotypes, becoming a long-awaited hero to millions around the world, and inspiring us all to dream bigger and demand more than the status quo. We mourn all that he was, as well as everything he was destined to become. For his friends and millions of fans, his absence from the screen is only eclipsed by his absence from our lives. All of us at Disney send our prayers and heartfelt condolences to his family.”

Boseman, at least outwardly, shouldered them with ease — even after the film shattered box office records when it debuted in Feb. 2018. “Black Panther” grossed over $1.3 billion worldwide, forever exposing the pernicious untruth in Hollywood that movies with predominantly Black casts won’t gross well overseas.

It’s difficult to overstate the impact “Black Panther” and Boseman had on the larger culture. The film was the first superhero movie ever nominated by the Academy Awards for best picture, earning six other nominations and winning three. More to the point, as Black Panther, Boseman presented to the world an image of a powerful and thoughtful Black man who was the leader of a thriving African nation and a superhero willing to race into whatever battle he felt was worth fighting, no matter the odds.

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 has 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, In the same year 2019 he starred in 21 Bridges, a 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.

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