Ellis in June 2009
|Born||November 30, 1978 (age 35)
Harvey, Illinois, U.S.
|Education||Juilliard School (B.F.A. 2004)|
Nelsan Ellis (born November 30, 1978) is an award-winning American film and television actor and playwright. He is well known for his role as Lafayette Reynolds in the HBO series True Blood, which he has been playing since 2008.
Early life and education
Ellis was born in Harvey, Illinois, near Chicago. When Ellis and his siblings were younger, their mother, a single parent after her divorce from her children's father, broke down over the death of her brother. Ellis and his siblings became wards of the state as a result. They were then raised in Bessemer, Alabama, by their grandmother. In Alabama, Ellis attended Jess Lanier High School for a year, then transferred to McAdory High School. He moved back to Illinois at age 15, where he lived with his maternal aunt, and in 1997 he graduated from Thornridge High School in Dolton, Illinois.
He joined the United States Marines at the age of 17, but quit not long afterwards. When Ellis was 21, he was accepted for enrollment at the Juilliard School's Drama Division (Group 33: 2000–2004) where he befriended True Blood-colleague Rutina Wesley (Group 34: 2001–2005). Ellis earned a B.F.A. degree from Juilliard in 2004.
- While at Juilliard, Ellis wrote a semi-autobiographical play entitled "Ugly", which was performed at the school and later won the Lincoln Center's Martin E. Segal Award. The play centered on his pregnant sister's murder at the hands of her husband.
- 2008 – Satellite Award from the International Press Academy for best supporting actor in a television series for his role as Lafayette Reynolds in HBO's True Blood.
|2005||Warm Springs||Roy Collier||TV movie|
|2008||The Express||Will Davis, Jr.|
|2009||The Soloist||David Carter|
|2011||The Help||Henry the Waiter|
|2013||Page 36||Writer and Director||Short Film|
|The Butler||Martin Luther King, Jr.|
|2005||The Inside||Carter Howard||13 Episodes|
|2007||Veronica Mars||Apollo Bukenya||Episode: "I Know What You'll Do Next Summer"|
|Without a Trace||Deng Nimieri||Episode: "Lost Boy"|
|2008–Present||True Blood||Lafayette Reynolds||Regular
Nominated for a Scream Award for best supporting actor
- "Nelsan Ellis". Yahoo! TV. Retrieved March 14, 2012.
- Herrmann, Andrew (November 22, 2008). "'True Blood' actor Nelsan Ellis credits Thornridge teachers with on- and off-screen success". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on January 6, 2010. Retrieved July 9, 2009. "Ellis, now 30"
- Sharp, Dave (August 9, 2009). "'True Blood's' Lafayette a glamorously shady character". The Birmingham News. Retrieved August 9, 2009.
- Gopala, Nisha (July 7, 2011). "Nelsan Ellis on True Blood’s Season of the Witches, Lafayette’s Mohawk, and Dodging the Marines". Retrieved July 7, 2011.
- "Alumni News". The Juilliard School. May 2008. Archived from the original on 2011-11-11. Retrieved April 6, 2012.
- "Juilliard School Newsletter". September 6, 2011. Retrieved April 6, 2012.[dead link]
- "2008 13th Annual SATELLITE Awards Nominees". International Press Academy. Archived from the original on December 18, 2008. Retrieved December 15, 2008.
- "NewNowNext Awards: Who Won?". Retrieved on May 23, 2009.
- "Scream 2009 Best Supporting Actor". Retrieved on September 1, 2009.