Donald Frank Cheadle Jr.
November 29, 1964
Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.
|Alma mater||California Institute for the Arts|
|Organization||Not On Our Watch Project|
Donald Frank Cheadle Jr. (//; born November 29, 1964) is an American actor and filmmaker. He is the recipient of multiple accolades, including two Grammy Awards, a Tony Award, two Golden Globe Awards and two Screen Actors Guild Awards; additionally he has earned nominations for an Academy Award, two British Academy Film Awards and 11 Primetime Emmy Awards. His Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony nominations make him one of few black individuals to be nominated for the four major American entertainment awards (EGOT).
Following early roles in Hamburger Hill (1987), and as the gangster "Rocket" in the film Colors (1988), Cheadle built his career in the 1990s with roles in Devil in a Blue Dress (1995), Rebound: The Legend of Earl 'The Goat' Manigault (1996), Rosewood (1997), and Boogie Nights (1997). His collaboration with director Steven Soderbergh resulted in the films Out of Sight (1998), Traffic (2000), and The Ocean's Trilogy (2001–2007). Cheadle was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of Rwandan hotel manager Paul Rusesabagina in the historical drama film Hotel Rwanda (2004). He was the co-producer of Crash, which won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 2005. Cheadle extended his global recognition with his role as James Rhodes / War Machine in the Marvel Cinematic Universe beginning with Iron Man 2 (2010), replacing Terrence Howard. He will lead the upcoming Disney+ series Armor Wars as part of the franchise.
His television work includes appearances in Night Court (1988), The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1990), Booker (1990) Picket Fences (1993–1995), The Bernie Mac Show (2002), ER (2002), and as Marty Kaan in House of Lies (2012–2016) for which he won a Golden Globe Award in 2013 and four Primetime Emmy Award nominations. Since 2019, Cheadle has starred in the series Black Monday earning two Emmy Award nominations.
In 2016, he received his first Grammy Award, winning Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media for the soundtrack Miles Ahead. In 2022, he received a second Grammy for Best Spoken Word Album for his narration of the audiobook Carry On: Reflections for a New Generation from John Lewis; he also received a Tony Award for Best Musical as a producer for the musical A Strange Loop.
Cheadle was born in Kansas City, Missouri to Bettye Cheadle (née North), a teacher, and Donald Frank Cheadle Sr., a clinical psychologist. He has a sister, Cindy, and a brother, Colin. His family moved from city to city throughout his childhood. He attended Hartley Elementary School in Lincoln, Nebraska from 1970 to 1974. Cheadle graduated in 1982 from East High School in Denver, Colorado. During high school, he played saxophone in the jazz band, sang in choirs, and was active in the theater department, performing in musicals, plays, and mime shows.
Cheadle became eligible for his Screen Actors Guild card when he appeared as a burger joint employee in the 1985 comedy Moving Violations. In 1987, he received a small role in the 7th season of Hill Street Blues, where he played a teenager with learning difficulties. This was followed by an appearance in Hamburger Hill the same year; Cheadle secured the role of Jack in the April 1, 1988, "Jung and the Restless" episode of Night Court. Although his character was 16 years old, Cheadle was 23 at the time.
Cheadle then played the role of Rocket in the 1988 movie Colors. In 1989, he appeared in a music video for Angela Winbush's number-two hit single "It's the Real Thing", performing dance moves in an orange jumpsuit, working at a car wash. In 1990, he appeared in an episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air titled "Homeboy, Sweet Homeboy", playing Will Smith's friend and Hilary's first love interest, Ice Tray. In 1992, he had a starring role in The Golden Girls spin-off The Golden Palace. He subsequently played district attorney John Littleton on three seasons of Picket Fences.
Cheadle first received widespread notice for his portrayal of Mouse Alexander in the 1995 film Devil in a Blue Dress, for which he won Best Supporting Actor awards from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and the National Society of Film Critics, and was nominated for similar awards from the Screen Actors Guild and the NAACP Image Awards. Following soon thereafter was his performance in the title role of the 1996 HBO TV movie Rebound: The Legend of Earl "The Goat" Manigault. In 1997, he starred in John Singleton's historical drama Rosewood and in the disaster film Volcano. In the same year, he appeared in Paul Thomas Anderson's period drama Boogie Nights. The following year, he appeared in Out of Sight. The film was Steven Soderbergh's adaptation of Elmore Leonard's 1996 novel of the same name.
Cheadle portrayed singer Sammy Davis Jr. in the 1998 TV movie The Rat Pack, for his performance he won a Golden Globe Award and earned an Emmy nomination. A year later, he starred as Grant Wiggins, a school teacher in the film A Lesson Before Dying, which won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Television Movie. It was based on the novel by Ernest J. Gaines of the same name. The following year, he played Basher Tarr in the heist film Ocean's Eleven, a remake of the 1960 Rat Pack original. He joined an ensemble cast including George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Andy García, and Julia Roberts. Cheadle made a guest appearance in the ninth season of the television series ER, playing the role of Paul Nathan, a medical student who suffers from Parkinson's disease. For this performance he was nominated for an Emmy Award in the category of Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series.
In 2005, Cheadle was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of Paul Rusesabagina in the film Hotel Rwanda. He also starred in and co-produced Crash, which won the 2006 Academy Award for Best Picture. For his performance in Crash, Cheadle was nominated for the BAFTA and Screen Actors Guild awards for Best Supporting Actor. He played the main character in the movie Traitor.
In March 2007, Cheadle starred with comedian Adam Sandler in Mike Binder's Reign Over Me, a comedy-drama about a man who has slipped away from reality after the death of his wife and three daughters on 9/11. The film was a box office flop, earning a domestic gross of $22.2 million. Cheadle later starred in the 2009 DreamWorks Pictures film Hotel for Dogs. Cheadle was to make his directorial debut with the adaptation of Elmore Leonard's Tishomingo Blues, but in July 2007, he stated, "'Tishomingo' is dead..."
Cheadle appeared in NFL commercials promoting the Super Bowl from 2002 to 2005. He so regularly appeared for the NFL in its Super Bowl advertising that in 2006, in a drive to get fans to submit their own advertising ideas, the NFL sought his permission to reference his previous commercials to portray themselves as having no new ideas: "he quickly signed off on the idea and found it funny." Abe Sutton (along with Etan Bednarsh), one of the finalists in this NFL contest, played on this commercial by proposing an ad where every player on a football team is Don Cheadle.
In 2009, Cheadle and Boondocks creator Aaron McGruder worked on a potential comedy show on NBC. The "project revolve[d] around mismatched brothers who reunite to open a private security company." Cheadle and McGruder were slated to serve as executive producers, while McGruder was expected to write the script.
Also in 2009, Cheadle performed in The People Speak, a documentary feature film that uses dramatic and musical performances of the letters, diaries, and speeches of everyday Americans, based on historian Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States.
In 2010, Cheadle assumed the role of War Machine / James Rhodes in Iron Man 2 (2010), replacing Terrence Howard. Cheadle reprised this role in Iron Man 3 (2013), Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), Captain America: Civil War (2016), Avengers: Infinity War (2018), Avengers: Endgame (2019), and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (2021), and will reprise the role in the upcoming Disney+ series Secret Invasion and Armor Wars.
Cheadle spent 10 years writing and producing the film Miles Ahead (2016) based on the life of jazz musician Miles Davis. Cheadle also directed and starred in the film. Locations for the movie were found in Cincinnati.
In 2018, Cheadle guest-starred in the first-season finale of DuckTales, providing Donald Duck's new voice box. He later guest-starred again in 2020 during season three after a wish Donald made to Gene the Genie had altered reality.
In 2021, Cheadle starred in the period crime thriller No Sudden Move, in which he played Curt Goynes, a gangster in 1950s Detroit. Around that same year, Cheadle played a villain role in Space Jam: A New Legacy, providing the role of the main antagonist Al-G Rhythm.
Cheadle has campaigned to end the genocide in Darfur, Sudan. Cheadle and John Prendergast co-authored a book about this issue entitled Not On Our Watch: The Mission to End Genocide in Darfur and Beyond. With George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, David Pressman and Jerry Weintraub, Cheadle co-founded the Not On Our Watch Project, an organization focusing global attention and resources to stop and prevent mass atrocities. Cheadle was awarded the BET Humanitarian award of the year in 2007 for his humanitarian work for the people of Darfur and Rwanda.
On December 13, 2007, Cheadle and fellow actor George Clooney were presented with the Summit Peace Award by the Nobel Peace Prize Laureates in Rome for their work to stop the genocide and relieve the suffering of the people of Darfur.
Cheadle has worked with the United Nations on climate change concerns. He and Harrison Ford created a documentary event series entitled Years of Living Dangerously that provided first-hand reports on those affected by, and seeking solutions to climate change. He is also on the advisory board of Citizens' Climate Lobby.
In 2010, Cheadle was named U.N. Environment Program Goodwill Ambassador. Also in 2010, he and Prendergast published their second book: The Enough Moment: Fighting to End Africa's Worst Human Rights Crimes.
In 2008, Cheadle's family history was profiled on the PBS series African American Lives 2. A DNA test revealed that Cheadle is of Cameroonian descent. Another DNA test revealed that among his African ancestry, one-third comes from the region from Senegal to Liberia, just over one-quarter comes from the Congo-Angola region, and the rest comes from western Nigeria and Benin.
Filmography and awards
- Williams, Kam (January 12, 2009). "Don Cheadle: The Hotel for Dogs Interview". KamWilliams.com. Archived from the original on August 21, 2019. Retrieved June 30, 2009.
- "UPI Almanac for Friday, Nov. 29, 2019". United Press International. November 29, 2019. Archived from the original on December 24, 2019. Retrieved January 11, 2020.
…actor Don Cheadle in 1964 (age 55)
- Cheadle: War Machine Will Appear in Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Armor Wars Will Address Tony Stark's Death - IGN, February 3, 2021, retrieved March 13, 2021
- @MarvelStudios (December 11, 2020). "Don Cheadle returns as James Rhodes aka War Machine in Armor Wars, an Original Series coming to #DisneyPlus. A classic Marvel story about Tony Stark's worst fear coming true: what happens when his tech falls into the wrong hands?" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- Jacobs, Julia (June 12, 2022). "Tony Awards 2022 Live Updates: 'A Strange Loop' Wins Best Musical". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved June 13, 2022.
- "Today's random fact: Cheadle was here". JournalStar.com. Archived from the original on May 7, 2018. Retrieved April 26, 2017.
- Campbell, Spencer (August 12, 2020). "Don Cheadle Was Once a Mime in Denver". 5280. Retrieved May 20, 2021.
- "How Did You Get Your SAG-AFTRA Card?" TV Guide, January 13, 2014. p. 10.
- "MOVIE REVIEW : Complexity and Context Washed Out of 'Colors'". Los Angeles Times. April 15, 1988. Retrieved March 31, 2022.
- Johnson, Kevin C. "Angela Winbush tells of career struggles, cancer battle in 'Unsung'". stltoday.com. St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Archived from the original on October 28, 2017. Retrieved December 4, 2015.
- Grady, Constance (March 29, 2016). "Watch Don Cheadle shake it in an '80s R&B video". Vox. Retrieved March 31, 2022.
- "It's Evening in America". Vanity Fair. May 2012. p. 155.
- "If you need a new, old-fashioned sitcom to watch, This 'Golden Girls' spinoff is for you". Los Angeles Times. January 11, 2022. Retrieved March 31, 2022.
- "Great role: Don Cheadle in Devil in a Blue Dress". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved March 31, 2022.
- "Volcano". The New York Times. Retrieved March 31, 2022.
- Shales, Tom (August 22, 1998). "'RAT PACK': A SORRY SINATRA SAGA". Washington Post. Retrieved April 2, 2022.
- Fries, Laura (May 21, 1999). "A Lesson Before Dying". Variety. Retrieved April 2, 2022.
- Roger Ebert (December 7, 2001). "Ocean's Eleven". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on April 2, 2013. Retrieved October 15, 2008.
- "Outstanding Guest Actor In A Drama Series Nominees / Winners 2003". Television Academy. Retrieved April 23, 2022.
- "In a World of Extremists, Shades of Gray Add Ambiguity". The New York Times. August 26, 2008.
- Scott, A. O. (March 23, 2007). "Who Else but an Old Buddy Can Tell How Lost You Are?". The New York Times. Retrieved March 31, 2022.
- Phillips, Michael. "'Hotel for Dogs' stars Emma Roberts, Jake T. Austin, Lisa Kudrow, Kevin Dillon, Don Cheadle". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved March 31, 2022.
- "Don Cheadle Talks to Us". Comingsoon.net. July 6, 2007. Archived from the original on February 13, 2012. Retrieved July 28, 2010.
- Thomaselli, Rich (November 2, 2006). "Advertising Age". Adage.com. Retrieved July 28, 2010.
- "Cheadle, McGruder Team For New Series". Blogs.bet.com. October 28, 2009. Archived from the original on October 31, 2009. Retrieved July 28, 2010.
- "Don Cheadle, 'Boondocks' creator Aaron McGruder team on NBC comedy; Brad Pitt takes a tumble; and more: The Morning After". Cleveland.com. Getty Images. October 26, 2009. Archived from the original on July 24, 2010. Retrieved July 28, 2010.
- "Credits". The People Speak. Archived from the original on July 13, 2010. Retrieved July 28, 2010.
- Thompson, Arienne (December 12, 2013). "Don Cheadle mellow, 'barely awake' after Globes news". USA Today. Archived from the original on December 13, 2013. Retrieved December 12, 2013.
- "'Secret Invasion': Sam Jackson Says Don Cheadle & Martin Freeman Appear In Marvel's Upcoming Series". theplaylist.net. Retrieved March 16, 2022.
- Otterson, Joe (December 11, 2020). "Mark Ruffalo, Don Cheadle to Appear in Marvel TV Series on Disney Plus". Variety. Retrieved March 31, 2022.
- Kroll, Justin (August 20, 2021). "Marvel's 'Armor Wars' Starring Don Cheadle Taps Yassir Lester As Head Writer Of Disney+ Series". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 31, 2022.
- "Don Cheadle Wins Golden Globe For Best Comedy Actor". Huffington Post. January 13, 2013. Archived from the original on November 13, 2013. Retrieved August 20, 2013.
- Schilling, Dave (April 2, 2016). "'It has to be hot. It has to be creative': Don Cheadle on his 10-year quest to play Miles Davis". The Guardian. Archived from the original on May 7, 2016. Retrieved May 17, 2016.
- "Don Cheadle was the writer-producer-actor-director behind 'Miles Ahead' even before he knew it". Los Angeles Times. April 2016. Retrieved April 1, 2016.
- "Don Cheadle starts filming 'Miles Ahead' Monday". Cincinnati.com. Archived from the original on July 12, 2014. Retrieved July 7, 2014.
- Coggan, Devan (July 20, 2018). "Don Cheadle to voice Donald Duck on 'DuckTales'". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on March 6, 2019. Retrieved March 2, 2019.
- "Quack Pack!". DuckTales. Season 3. Episode 48. April 4, 2020.
- "'No Sudden Move' revives the 1950s crime thriller for the streaming age". CNN. Retrieved July 2, 2021.
- "Don Cheadle Gets Roped Into a Robbery That Goes Awry in 'No Sudden Move' Trailer". Rolling Stone. June 7, 2021. Retrieved June 7, 2021.
- "Don Cheadle Jumps Into Warner Bros.' 'Space Jam 2'". Deadline. July 11, 2019. Retrieved July 11, 2019.
- "Don Cheadle Joins LeBron James in 'Space Jam 2'". The Hollywood Reporter. July 11, 2019. Retrieved July 11, 2019.
- "BET AWARDS '07: HUMANITARIAN AWARD". BET. Archived from the original on July 2, 2012. Retrieved November 4, 2012.
- "Ante Up for Africa". anteupforafrica.org. Archived from the original on February 17, 2008. Retrieved July 23, 2009.
- "2010 WSOP Schedule". Archived from the original on June 2, 2010. Retrieved June 6, 2010.
- "Clooney and Cheadle Honored by Nobel Prize Winners". People. Archived from the original on June 3, 2019. Retrieved March 2, 2019.
- "Don Cheadle: Protect the World's Vulnerable From Climate Change". Time. Retrieved December 11, 2015.
- Don Cheadle and Harrison Ford explore climate change in Years of Living Life Dangerously Archived May 12, 2017, at the Wayback Machine, dailynews.com; accessed June 22, 2015.
- "About CCL – Citizens' Climate Lobby". Citizens' Climate Lobby. Archived from the original on December 10, 2015. Retrieved December 5, 2015.
- Gates, Jr., Henry Louis (January 27, 2009). In Search of Our Roots: How 19 Extraordinary African Americans Reclaimed Their Past (Biography). Crown. p. 353. ISBN 978-0-307-38240-5. Retrieved June 22, 2015.
- "Don Cheadle Makes Powerful Political Statement as 'SNL' Host". Entertainment Tonight. Archived from the original on February 17, 2019. Retrieved October 8, 2019.
- "Don Cheadle made a powerful statement with his wardrobe choice on 'SNL'". CNN. Retrieved February 17, 2019.
- "African American Lives 2 Profiles: Don Cheadle". PBS. Archived from the original on June 7, 2013. Retrieved March 29, 2013.
- Gates, Jr., Henry L. (2009). In Search of Our Roots: How 19 Extraordinary African Americans Reclaimed Their Past. ISBN 9780307409737. Archived from the original on October 6, 2018. Retrieved July 31, 2018.
- "Bridgid Coulter". IMDb. Archived from the original on May 20, 2019. Retrieved March 2, 2019.
- "Don Cheadle's Wife Bridgid Coulter Is A Hollywood Powerhouse". Bustle. Retrieved May 29, 2021.
- Rice, Nicholas. "Don Cheadle Reveals He and Longtime Girlfriend Bridgid Coulter Got Married amid COVID Pandemic". PEOPLE.com. Retrieved March 29, 2022.
- "Don Cheadle explains why he got married to Bridgid Coulter after 28 years of dating". CNN. Retrieved July 15, 2021.
- "Don Cheadle Married His Long-Time Partner Bridgid Coulter During the Pandemic". The Hollywood Reporter. June 30, 2021. Retrieved June 30, 2021.