Don Cheadle biography
Born in Missouri in 1964, Don Cheadle appeared in shows such as Fame, L.A. Law and Hill Street Blues throughout his early career in the 1980s. But it was his portrayal of trigger-happy Mouse Alexander in the film Devil in a Blue Dress that catapulted Cheadle to success. Cheadle went on to appear in many acclaimed films, such as Hotel Rwanda, Crash and Iron Man 2. He transitioned back to television in 2012 as the lead actor in the popular comedy House of Lies, for which he won a Golden Globe Award.
Actor Donald Frank Cheadle, Jr. was born on November 29, 1964, in Kansas City, Missouri, as the middle child in a family of three children. Cheadle was involved in acting at an early age. While attending elementary school in Denver, Colorado, he played Templeton the Rat in a stage adaptation of E.B. White's Charlotte's Web. "I remember carrying my script around and studying it like I do now," he told the Los Angeles Times. "I don't know why but I was serious about acting even then."
Cheadle entered the California Institute for the Arts (CalArts) in Valencia, California, in 1982. At CalArts, Cheadle received a rigorous education in classic theatre, and by the time he graduated he quickly found work in television. He appeared in small parts on shows such as Fame (1982-87), L.A. Law (1986-94) and Hill Street Blues (1981-97), while also taking the time to do stage performances.
Cheadle began his first recurring role alongside Betty White, Rue McClanahan and Estelle Getty in the short-lived spin-off of the popular cult classic The Golden Girls (1985-92) titled The Golden Palace (1992-93). His next recurring role as District Attorney John Littleton in the television series Picket Fences (1992-96) was more successful, but the role that brought him greater notice in Hollywood was his riveting portrayal of trigger-happy Mouse Alexander in the film Devil in a Blue Dress (1995).
Based on the novel by Walter Mosely, and also starring Denzel Washington, the film explored the heart of the Los Angeles black community in the 1940s. Cheadle won awards from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and the National Society of Film Critics, and was nominated for Screen Actors Guild and NAACP Image Awards.
Film and Television Roles
Cheadle continued to make appearances on TV throughout the '90s, earning Emmy nominations for the HBO film A Lesson Before Dying (1993) and the Showtime movie Things Behind the Sun (2001). It was also during this time that his film career started to boom. He also made critically acclaimed appearances in films such as Boogie Nights (1997). He also won his first Golden Globe Award for his work in the TV film The Rat Pack (1998) as Sammy Davis, Jr.
Cheadle's roles on film and on television began to become more varied as his exposure grew. In 2000, he appeared in the criminal drama Traffic, which was released shortly after he appeared in the comedy The Family Man during the same year.
He made appearances on several episodes of the hospital drama ER (1994-2009), but his biggest dramatic roles were yet to come.
Critically Acclaimed Films
In 2005, Cheadle was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of Paul Rusesabagina in the film Hotel Rwanda (2004), a film about the Rwandan genocide of 1994. He also starred in, and co-produced, the movie Crash (2004), which won the 2005 Academy Award for Best Picture, and earned Cheadle a BAFTA and Screen Actors Guild Award nominations for Best Supporting Actor.
With two high profile, Oscar-nominated films under his belt, Cheadle was able to try his hand at blockbuster films and edgier shows. Having played a minor role in the 2001 film Ocean's Eleven, Cheadle reprised his character with a more prominent role in the sequels Ocean's Thirteen (2004) and Ocean's Thirteen (2007). He also starred in the popular summer blockbusters Iron Man 2 (2010) and Iron Man 3 (2013), taking on the role that Terrance Howard had played in the first film.
In 2012, Cheadle also returned to the realm of TV in the comedy House of Lies, a role that required him to play a successful yet arrogant management consultant. For his role in the series, Cheadle was awarded a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a TV Series, Musical or Comedy in 2012. He was nominated again for the series in 2013 and 2014.
Cheadle currently resides in Santa Monica, California, with actress Bridgid Coulter and their two daughters.