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Don Cheadle
Don Cheadle at his Brooklyn's Finest Interview.jpg
Cheadle in 2010
Donald Frank Cheadle Jr.

(1964-11-29) November 29, 1964 (age 54)
OccupationActor, film producer, director, writer, author
Years active1984–present
Partner(s)Bridgid Coulter (1992–present)
Parent(s)Donald Frank Cheadle Sr.
Bettye North Cheadle

Donald Frank Cheadle Jr. (/ˈdəl/; born November 29, 1964)[1] is an American actor. 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), Rosewood (1997) and Boogie Nights (1997). His collaboration with director Steven Soderbergh resulted in the films Out of Sight (1998), Traffic (2000) and Ocean's Eleven (2001).

Cheadle was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor for his lead role as Rwandan hotel manager Paul Rusesabagina in the historical genocide drama film Hotel Rwanda (2004). From 2012 to 2016, he starred as Marty Kaan on the Showtime comedy series House of Lies; he won a Golden Globe Award in 2013 for the role.

Cheadle extended his global recognition with his role of War Machine in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, replacing Terrence Howard. He appeared in Iron Man 2 (2010), Iron Man 3 (2013), Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), Captain America: Civil War (2016), Avengers: Infinity War (2018), Captain Marvel (2019), and Avengers: Endgame (2019).

Early life

Cheadle was born in Kansas City, Missouri, the son of Bettye Cheadle (née North), a teacher, and Donald Frank Cheadle Sr., a clinical psychologist.[1] 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.[2] Cheadle graduated in 1982 from East High School in Denver, Colorado. During high school, he played saxophone in the jazz band, sang in the choirs and was active in the theatre department, performing in musicals, plays, and mime shows under the direction of Catherine Davis.

Film and television work

Cheadle became eligible for his Screen Actors Guild (SAG) card when he appeared as a burger joint employee in the 1985 comedy Moving Violations.[3] He then appeared in Hamburger Hill in 1987, and played 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 video for Angela Winbush's No. 2 hit single "It's the Real Thing", performing dance moves in an orange jumpsuit, working at a car wash.[4] 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.[5] In 1992, he played a supporting role in The Golden Girls spin-off The Golden Palace. Cheadle 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 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. He also starred in the 1997 film Volcano, directed by Mick Jackson.

Cheadle's television credits include Emmy-nominated performances in the movies The Rat Pack, A Lesson Before Dying, Things Behind the Sun and in a guest appearance on ER. The last of these spanned four episodes during the show's ninth season, in which he portrayed Paul Nathan, a medical student struggling to cope with Parkinson's disease. He has made appearances in films including Rosewood, The Family Man, Boogie Nights, Out of Sight, Traffic, and Ocean's Eleven. These last three were directed by Steven Soderbergh. He made a cameo appearance in the film Abby Singer. 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 his wife and three daughters died. After playing for 38 days, the film became a box office flop earning a domestic gross of only 22.2 million. Cheadle later starred in the 2009 DreamWorks Pictures film Hotel for Dogs.[6][7] 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..."[8]

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.[9]

In 2009, Cheadle and Boondocks creator Aaron McGruder worked on a potential comedy show on NBC.[10] The "project revolve[d] around mismatched brothers who reunite to open a private security company."[10] Cheadle and McGruder were slated to serve as executive producers, while McGruder was expected to write the script.[11]

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.[12]

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),[13] and Avengers: Endgame (2019).

From 2012 to 2016, Cheadle starred in the Showtime TV series House of Lies. In 2013, he won the Golden Globe as Best Actor in a Comedy Series for his role on the show.[14]

Cheadle spent ten 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.[15] Locations for the movie were found in Cincinnati.[16]

In 2018, Cheadle guest-starred in the first-season finale of DuckTales, providing Donald Duck's new voice box.[17]


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.[18]

At the 2007 World Series of Poker, Cheadle and poker player Annie Duke organized an annual charity poker tournament, Ante Up for Africa.[19][20]

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.[21]

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.[22] He is also on the Advisory Board of Citizens Climate Lobby.[23]

In 2010, Cheadle was named U.N. Environment Program Goodwill Ambassador.[24] Also in 2010, he and Prendergast published their second book: The Enough Moment: Fighting to End Africa's Worst Human Rights Crimes.

On his 2019 Saturday Night Live appearance, he wore a T-shirt saying 'protect trans kids'.[25]

Personal life

Cheadle in February 2007
Cheadle in February 2007

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.[26] 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.[27]

Cheadle has two children with his long-term partner, actress and Rosewood co-star Bridgid Coulter.[28]



Year Title Role Notes
1984 3 Days Angel
1985 Moving Violations Juicy Burgers Worker
1987 Hamburger Hill Pvt. Washburn
1988 Colors Rocket
1992 Roadside Prophets Happy Days Manager
1993 The Meteor Man Goldilocks
1995 Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead Rooster
Devil in a Blue Dress Mouse Alexander
1996 Rebound: The Legend of Earl "The Goat" Manigault Earl Manigault
1997 Volcano Emmit Reese
Rosewood Sylvester Carrier
Boogie Nights Buck Swope
1998 Out of Sight Maurice Miller
The Rat Pack Sammy Davis Jr.
Bulworth L.D.
2000 Traffic Montel Gordon
Mission to Mars Luke Graham
The Family Man Cash
2001 Rush Hour 2 Kenny Uncredited cameo
Things Behind the Sun Chuck
Manic Dr. David Monroe
Swordfish Agent J.T. Roberts
Ocean's Eleven Basher Tarr
2002 Ticker Passenger Segment for the BMW short film series The Hire
2003 Abby Singer Himself
The United States of Leland Pearl Madison
2004 Ocean's Twelve Basher Tarr
After the Sunset Henri Mooré
The Assassination of Richard Nixon Bonny Simmons
Hotel Rwanda Paul Rusesabagina
2005 Crash Det. Graham Waters
2006 The Dog Problem Dr. Nourmand
King Leopold's Ghost Narrator
2007 Reign Over Me Alan Johnson
Talk to Me Petey Greene
Ocean's Thirteen Basher Tarr
Darfur Now Himself
2008 Traitor Samir Horn
2009 Hotel for Dogs Bernie
The People Speak Himself Documentary
2010 Brooklyn's Finest Clarence 'Tango' Butler
Iron Man 2 James Rhodes / War Machine
2011 The Guard FBI Agent Wendell Everett
2012 Flight Hugh Lang
2013 Iron Man 3 James Rhodes / Iron Patriot
2015 Avengers: Age of Ultron James Rhodes / War Machine
Miles Ahead Miles Davis Also director, writer and producer
2016 Captain America: Civil War James Rhodes / War Machine
Kevin Hart: What Now? Himself
2018 Avengers: Infinity War James Rhodes / War Machine
2019 Captain Marvel Uncredited;
Mid-credits scene cameo[29]
Avengers: Endgame
TBA Prince of Darkness Jeremiah Hamilton Also producer; Post-production[30]


Year Series Role Notes
1986 Fame Henry Lee 2 episodes
1986 L.A. Law Julian Tatoon Episode: "Gibbon Take"
Sidekicks Cholo Episode: "The Last Electric Knight"
1987 Hill Street Blues Darius Milton Episode: "Days of Swine and Roses"
The Bronx Zoo Carver Episode: "Small Victories"
1988 Night Court Jack Episode: "Jung and the Restless"
Hooperman Himself Episode: "High Noon"
1989 Booker Himself Episode: "The Pump"
1990 China Beach Angel Episode: "Warriors"
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Ice Tray Episode: "Homeboy, Sweet Homeboy"
1992–1993 Hangin' with Mr. Cooper Bennie 2 episodes
The Golden Palace Roland Wilson 24 episodes
1993 Lush Life Jack TV movie
1993–1995 Picket Fences D.A. John Littleton 38 episodes
1996 Rebound: The Legend of Earl "The Goat" Manigault Earl "The Goat" Manigault TV movie
1999 A Lesson Before Dying Grant Wiggins TV movie
2000 The Simpsons Brother Faith Episode: "Faith Off"
Fail Safe Lt. Jimmy Pierce TV movie
2002 The Bernie Mac Show Cousin D 2 episodes
ER Paul Nathan 4 episodes
2003 MADtv Perry Episode #9.3
2012–2016 House of Lies Marty Kaan Lead role; 58 episodes
2012 30 Rock Himself Episode: "Unwindulax"
2014, 2016 Years of Living Dangerously Himself Episode: "Dry Season"
2014–present Thursday Night Football Narrator Intro only
2017 Lip Sync Battle Himself Episode: "Don Cheadle vs. Wanda Sykes"
2018 DuckTales Donald Duck Voice
Episode: "The Shadow War"
2019–present Black Monday Maurice Monroe
2019 Saturday Night Live Himself / Host Episode: "Don Cheadle/Gary Clark Jr."

As producer

Year Film Role Notes
2004 Crash Producer
2007 Talk to Me Executive producer
2007 Darfur Now Producer
2008 Traitor Producer
2007 Crash Producer 2 episodes
2014 St. Vincent Executive producer
2015 Miles Ahead Producer
TBA Prince of Darkness Producer[30]

Video games

Year Film Role Notes
2010 Iron Man 2[31] Col. James 'Rhodey' Rhodes / War Machine
2016 Lego Marvel's Avengers Audio archive footage


Year Play Role Notes
2001 Topdog/Underdog Booth Off-Broadway performances


Year Film Role Notes
2010 Drunk History Frederick Douglass Volume 5
2011 Don Cheadle is Captain Planet Captain Planet
2012 Captain Planet 2 Captain Planet
2012 Captain Planet 3 Captain Planet
2012 Captain Planet 4 Captain Planet

Music videos

Year Song Artist Notes
2014 "Run" Jay-Z
2017 "DNA." Kendrick Lamar
2017 "1-800-273-8255" Logic

Awards and nominations

Year Nominated work Award Result
1995 Devil in a Blue Dress Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role Nominated
Picket Fences Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series Nominated
1996 Nominated
1997 Boogie Nights Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture Nominated
1998 The Rat Pack Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film Won
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie Nominated
1999 A Lesson Before Dying Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie Nominated
Satellite Award for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film Won
2000 Traffic Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture Won
2001 Things Behind the Sun Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie Nominated
2002 ER Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series Nominated
2004 Hotel Rwanda Satellite Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama Won
Academy Award for Best Actor Nominated
Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role Nominated
Crash BAFTA Award for Best Film as producer Nominated
2005 Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture Won
BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role Nominated
2007 Talk to Me Satellite Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy Nominated
2012 House of Lies Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy Won
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series Nominated
2013 Nominated
Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy Nominated
2014 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series Nominated
Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy Nominated
2015 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series Nominated
2017 Miles Ahead (soundtrack) Grammy Award for Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media  Won


  1. ^ a b Williams, Kam (January 12, 2009). "Don Cheadle: The Hotel for Dogs Interview". The Sly Fox. Retrieved June 30, 2009.
  2. ^ "Today's random fact: Cheadle was here". Retrieved April 26, 2017.
  3. ^ "How Did You Get Your SAG-AFTRA Card?" TV Guide, January 13, 2014. p. 10.
  4. ^ Johnson, Kevin C. "Angela Winbush tells of career struggles, cancer battle in 'Unsung'". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved December 4, 2015.
  5. ^ "It's Evening in America". Vanity Fair. May 2012. p. 155.
  6. ^ "Don Cheadle joins 'Iron Man 2'". October 14, 2008. Retrieved July 28, 2010.
  7. ^ "Don Cheadle Joins Hotel for Dogs". Retrieved July 28, 2010.
  8. ^ "Don Cheadle Talks to Us". July 6, 2007. Retrieved July 28, 2010.
  9. ^ Thomaselli, Rich (November 2, 2006). "Advertising Age". Retrieved July 28, 2010.
  10. ^ a b "Cheadle, McGruder Team For New Series". October 28, 2009. Retrieved July 28, 2010.
  11. ^ "Don Cheadle, 'Boondocks' creator Aaron McGruder team on NBC comedy; Brad Pitt takes a tumble; and more: The Morning After". Getty Images. October 26, 2009. Retrieved July 28, 2010.
  12. ^ "Credits". The People Speak. Archived from the original on July 13, 2010. Retrieved July 28, 2010.
  13. ^ Thompson, Arienne (December 12, 2013). "Don Cheadle mellow, 'barely awake' after Globes news". USA Today. Archived from the original on December 12, 2013. Retrieved December 12, 2013.
  14. ^ "Don Cheadle Wins Golden Globe For Best Comedy Actor". Huffington Post. January 13, 2013. Retrieved August 20, 2013.
  15. ^ 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. Retrieved May 17, 2016.
  16. ^ "Don Cheadle starts filming 'Miles Ahead' Monday". Retrieved July 7, 2014.
  17. ^ Coggan, Devan (July 20, 2018). "Don Cheadle to voice Donald Duck on 'DuckTales'". Retrieved March 2, 2019.
  18. ^ "BET AWARDS '07: HUMANITARIAN AWARD". Retrieved November 4, 2012.
  19. ^ "Ante Up for Africa". Archived from the original on February 17, 2008. Retrieved July 23, 2009.
  20. ^ "2010 WSOP Schedule". Retrieved June 6, 2010.
  21. ^ "Clooney and Cheadle Honored by Nobel Prize Winners". Retrieved March 2, 2019.
  22. ^ Don Cheadle and Harrison Ford explore climate change in Years of Living Life Dangerously,; accessed June 22, 2015.
  23. ^ "About CCL – Citizens' Climate Lobby". Citizens' Climate Lobby. Retrieved December 5, 2015.
  24. ^ Gates, Jr., Henry Louis. 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.
  25. ^
  26. ^ "African American Lives 2 Profiles: Don Cheadle". PBS. Retrieved March 29, 2013.
  27. ^ Gates, Jr., Henry L. (2009). "In Search of Our Roots: How 19 Extraordinary African Americans Reclaimed Their Past".
  28. ^ "Bridgid Coulter". IMDb. Retrieved March 2, 2019.
  29. ^ Coggan, Devan (March 8, 2019). "Those Captain Marvel post-credits scenes, explained". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved March 8, 2019.
  30. ^ a b McNary, Dave. "Don Cheadle to Star in Historical Drama 'Prince of Darkness'". Variety. Retrieved April 11, 2017.
  31. ^ "Iron Man 2: The Video Game Gets Talented". Retrieved July 28, 2010.

External links

This page was last edited on 29 May 2019, at 04:20
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