Winston Duke

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Winston Duke
Winston Duke (2019) (cropped).jpg
Duke in 2019
Born (1986-11-15) November 15, 1986 (age 36)
Argyle, Saint Paul, Trinidad and Tobago
EducationUniversity at Buffalo (BA)
Yale University (MFA)
Years active2014–present

Winston Duke (born 15 November 1986) is a Tobagonian actor. He made his feature film debut in the role of M'Baku in Black Panther (2018) and is best known for portraying the character in four films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Duke was born in the village of Argyle, Tobago. With his sister and mother, Duke moved to Brooklyn at age nine. After graduating from the Yale School of Drama with a Master of Fine Arts in acting in 2013, Duke had small roles in theatre productions and television shows such as Person of Interest and Modern Family. He portrayed M'Baku in four Marvel Studios films and also starred in Jordan Peele's horror film Us (2019). Duke's latest role was M'Baku in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022).

Early life and education[edit]

Winston Duke was born in the village of Argyle, Tobago in the country of Trinidad and Tobago on 15 November 1986.[1][2] He was raised by single mother Cora Pantin, a Tobagonian government worker and restaurant owner. As a child, Duke showed the restaurant's customers to their tables and learned how to "charm" strangers at an early age. When he was nine, his mother sold the restaurant and their possessions. Duke, Pantin and his older sister, Cindy, then moved to a studio apartment in Brooklyn so that Cindy could attend medical school.[2][3][4][5]

Duke attended a public primary school in Crown Heights, and often frequented the local library and comic book store after school.[3][4] He graduated from Brighton High School in Rochester, New York in 2004.[6] He attended the University at Buffalo, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in theatre. He then moved on to Yale School of Drama where he received a Master of Fine Arts in acting and graduated in 2013.[7]


2014–2016: Theatre and television roles[edit]

Duke started acting in theatre productions for Portland Stage Company and Yale Repertory Theatre before being cast in Person of Interest.[8] While at Yale, he befriended fellow actor Lupita Nyong'o, with whom he later starred in Black Panther and Us.[9] In 2012 Duke returned to his native Trinidad and Tobago to appear in the theatre production of An Echo in the Bone starring alongside actress Taromi Lourdes Joseph and directed by fellow Yale alumna Timmia Hearn Feldman.[citation needed]

He was cast in small roles in television series, such as a football star who commits a hate crime in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, a gang leader in Person of Interest and a football player in Modern Family. Duke was aware of how his casting may have been influenced racially and by his height of 6 ft 5 in (1.95 m).[5] In September 2016, Duke was cast in the role of M'Baku for the upcoming film Black Panther after Marvel tested several actors for the role, including Yahya Abdul-Mateen II.[10]

2018–2022: Marvel Cinematic Universe and film roles[edit]

Duke has supporting roles in Marvel Cinematic Universe's Black Panther (2018) and Avengers: Infinity War (2018) and a brief role in Avengers: Endgame (2019) as M'Baku.[5] Wesley Morris of The New York Times named his performance in Black Panther as one of the best in 2018, describing him as "funny, shameless [and] imposing".[11]

In 2019, Duke starred in the blockbuster horror film Us, directed by Jordan Peele.[12] In October 2019, Duke signed on to headline in the upcoming Apple TV+ drama series Swagger, but was replaced by O'Shea Jackson Jr. due to an injury suffered on-set in February 2020.[13] In September, Duke was named Actor of the Year by GQ Australia.[14] He starred in Nine Days (2020), directed by Edson Oda, as a manager who interviews unborn souls and selects them to live on Earth.[3] In March 2020, he starred alongside Mark Wahlberg in the Netflix thriller Spenser Confidential.[15]

On October 24, 2021, Duke received the Maverick Award at the Newport Beach Film Festival.[16] It was reported in July 2021 that Duke would be playing Bruce Wayne/Batman in the Spotify podcast audio drama Batman Unburied,[17] which was released in 2022. Although Duke worried that backlash from fans about a Black actor playing Wayne would surface, his role was instead met with support and intrigue.[18] Duke reprised his role as M'Baku in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022). He appeared in the latest Savage X Fenty fashion show.[3]

Future projects[edit]

In 2022, Duke was cast in the upcoming 2024 film The Fall Guy.[19]

Personal life[edit]

In October 2022, Duke's mother, with whom he was close, died at age 66. Duke mentioned about struggling with grief during the Wakanda Forever press tour.[3][20][21] He does not have a relationship with his father.[3] Esquire described Duke as an "art fanatic".[3] He is 6 ft 5 in (1.95 m) tall.[2]

As his mother had eleven siblings, Duke has a large extended family.[3] His cousin is the Tobagonian politician and Progressive Democratic Patriots leader Watson Duke.[22]



Year Title Role Notes
2018 Black Panther M'Baku Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Nominated – MTV Movie Award for Best Fight
Avengers: Infinity War
2019 Us Gabe Wilson / Abraham
Avengers: Endgame M'Baku
2020 Nine Days Will
Spenser Confidential Hawk
2022 Black Panther: Wakanda Forever M'Baku
2024 The Fall Guy Not yet released Post-production
Films that have not yet been released Denotes films that have not yet been released


Year Title Role Notes
2014 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Cedric Jones Episode: "Gridiron Soldier"
2014–2015 Person of Interest Dominic Besson / Mini 7 episodes
2015 The Messengers Zahir Zakaria 3 episodes
Major Crimes Curtis Turner Episode: "#FindKaylaWeber"
2016 Modern Family Dwight 3 episodes


Year Title Role Notes
2022 Batman Unburied Bruce Wayne Main role


  1. ^ Perine, Aaron (15 November 2022). "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Fans Celebrate Winston Duke's Birthday". Retrieved 27 November 2022.
  2. ^ a b c Westenfeld, Adrienne (22 March 2019). "Winston Duke Wants to Shatter Your Expectations". Esquire. Retrieved 27 November 2022.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Harris, Hunter (15 November 2022). "The Winston Duke Era Begins Now". Esquire. Retrieved 26 November 2022.
  4. ^ a b Desta, Yohana (16 February 2018). "Black Panther's Winston Duke Is the Star You Should Be Watching". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 26 November 2022.
  5. ^ a b c Jones, Nate (25 April 2019). "Winston Duke's American Dream". Vulture. New York. Retrieved 28 November 2022.
  6. ^ Arnold, Alexis (22 May 2018). "From Brighton High School to Wakanda: Winston Duke remembers his days in Rochester". 13WHAM ABC Rochester. Retrieved 23 February 2019.
  7. ^ "Winston Duke, UB Alumnus, Cast in Marvel Film". University at Buffalo. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  8. ^ Cay (24 April 2015). "Exclusive Interview: Winston Duke Talks Person of Interest and The Messengers". Nice Girls TV.
  9. ^ Falcone, Dana Rose (4 October 2017). "PEOPLE's 'Ones to Watch' Talks to Winston Duke About His Breakout Role in Marvel's Upcoming Black Panther". People. Retrieved 3 November 2017.
  10. ^ Kroll, Justin (28 September 2016). "'Black Panther' Taps 'Person of Interest' Actor Winston Duke to Play M'Baku (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved 27 November 2022.
  11. ^ Morris, Wesley (7 December 2018). "Best Performances of 2018". The New York Times. Retrieved 26 November 2022.
  12. ^ Hipes, Patrick (8 May 2018). "Jordan Peele Unveils Title Of New Movie; Lupita Nyong'o In Talks, Winston Duke & Elisabeth Moss Eyed". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 5 February 2019.
  13. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (1 October 2019). "Winston Duke To Headline Apple's Kevin Durant Drama Series 'Swagger' From Imagine & CBS TV Studios". Deadline. Retrieved 2 October 2019.
  14. ^ "Winston Duke Is 2019's GQ Australia Actor Of The Year". GQ Australia. 28 November 2019. Retrieved 26 November 2022.
  15. ^ Kroll, Justin (2 October 2018). "'Black Panther's' Winston Duke to Star With Mark Wahlberg in Netflix's 'Wonderland' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved 11 June 2020.
  16. ^ Plunkett, Paul (21 October 2021). "Newport Beach Film Festival Returns Live with Events and Honorees Including Harvey Keitel and Regina Hall". Variety. Retrieved 19 November 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  17. ^ Couch, Aaron (27 July 2021). "'Batman Unburied': Winston Duke to Voice Star as Bruce Wayne (Exclusive)". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 27 July 2021.
  18. ^ Grady, Kai (31 May 2022). "How 'Batman Unburied' reinvented the Dark Knight for a global audio audience". Los Angeles Times. Photography by Mariah Tauger. Retrieved 26 November 2022.
  19. ^ Kit, Borys (4 November 2022). "Winston Duke Joins Ryan Gosling in Universal's 'The Fall Guy' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 28 November 2022.
  20. ^ Khalifeh, Mona (1 November 2022). "'Black Panther's Winston Duke on Grieving His Mother's Recent Death and Chadwick Boseman (Exclusive)". Entertainment Tonight. Retrieved 26 November 2022.
  21. ^ Ford, Rebecca (16 November 2022). "The "Triumphant Discomfort" of Winston Duke's Wakanda Forever Press Tour". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 26 November 2022.
  22. ^ Harrinanan, Sasha (22 February 2018). "Watson Duke buys Black Panther tickets for Tobago children". Trinidad and Tobago Newsday. Retrieved 27 November 2022. Winston Duke, who is in the Marvel Comics movie about the black superhero character, is Watson Duke's cousin.

External links[edit]