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Chiwetel Ejiofor Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (2) | Mini Bio (1) | Trivia (20) | Personal Quotes (7)

Overview (2)

Born in Forest Gate, London, England, UK
Height 5' 10" (1.78 m)

Mini Bio (1)

English actor Chiwetel Ejiofor is renowned for his portrayal of Solomon Northup in 12 Years a Slave (2013), for which he received Academy Award and Golden Globe Award nominations, along with the BAFTA Award for Best Actor. He is also known for playing Okwe in Dirty Pretty Things (2002), the Operative in Serenity (2005), Lola in Kinky Boots (2005), Luke in Children of Men (2006), Dr. Adrian Helmsley in 2012 (2009) and Dr. Vincent Kapoor in The Martian (2015).

Chiwetelu Umeadi Ejiofor was born on July 10, 1977 in Forest Gate, London, England, to Nigerian parents, Obiajulu (Okaford), a pharmacist, and Arinze Ejiofor, a doctor. Chiwetel attended Dulwich College in South-East London. By the age of 13, he was appearing in numerous school and National Youth Theatre productions and subsequently attended the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts (LAMDA).

Ejiofor caught the attention of Steven Spielberg who cast him in the critically acclaimed Amistad (1997) alongside Morgan Freeman and Anthony Hopkins. He has since been seen on the big screen in numerous features including Stephen Frears' Dirty Pretty Things (2002) (for which he won Best Actor at the British Independent Film Awards, the Evening Standard Film Awards, and the San Diego Film Critics Society Awards), Love Actually (2003), Woody Allen's Melinda and Melinda (2004), Kinky Boots (2005), Inside Man (2006), Children of Men (2006), American Gangster (2007) and Talk to Me (2007), for which his performance won him an Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Actor.

Ejiofor has balanced his film and television commitments with a number of prestigious stage productions. In 2008, his portrayal of the title role in Michael Grandage's "Othello" at the Donmar Warehouse alongside Ewan McGregor was unanimously commended and won him best actor at the 2008 Laurence Olivier Awards and Evening Standard Theatre Awards. He also received nominations in the South Bank Show Awards and the What's On Stage Theatregoers' Choice Awards in 2009. His other stage roles include Roger Michell's "Blue/Orange" in 2000 which received the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Play, and the same year Tim Supple's "Romeo and Juliet" in which Ejiofor portrayed the title role.

Following his television debut in the series episode Screen Two: Deadly Voyage (1996), Ejiofor has complimented his film and theatre work on the small screen in productions including Murder in Mind (2001), created by the award-winning writer Anthony Horowitz, Trust (2003), Twelfth Night, or What You Will (2003), and Canterbury Tales (2003). His television appearance in the hard hitting emotional drama Tsunami: The Aftermath (2006) alongside Toni Collette, Sophie Okonedo and Tim Roth earned him a nomination for a Golden Globe Award as well as an NAACP Image award.

Ejiofor also appeared in such notable films as Endgame (2009), Channel 4's moving drama set in South Africa for which his performance earned him a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Miniseries; Roland Emmerich's action feature 2012 (2009), opposite John Cusack, Danny Glover and Thandie Newton; and Salt (2010), opposite Angelina Jolie and Liev Schreiber. In 2013, he starred in Half of a Yellow Sun (2013) and 12 Years a Slave (2013), receiving an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor for the latter film.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Pedro Borges

Trivia (20)

Former member of the National Youth Theatre.
His name is pronounced Chew-eh-tell Edge-ee-oh-for.
He was nominated for the 2001 Laurence Olivier Theatre Award (2000 season) for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in "Blue/Orange" at the Royal National Theatre, Cottesloe stage.
He was awarded the Jack Tinker Award for Most Promising Newcomer at the 2000 London Critics Circle Theatre Awards (Drama) for his performance in "Blue/Orange" at the Royal National Theatre: Lyttelton and at the Duchess Theatre.
He was awarded the 2000 London Evening Standard Theatre Award for Outstanding Newcomer for his performance in "Blue/Orange".
He was awarded the 2008 Laurence Olivier Theatre Award (2007 season) for Best Actor for his performance as the title role in William Shakespeare's "Othello" at the Donmar Warehouse.
Attended Dulwich College in London, England.
Attended the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA) in London, England.
His father was killed in an automobile accident when Chiwetel was eleven. He survived the accident and received scars that are visible on his forehead.
Sung back-up vocals for a band called Blind in the early 1990s, height of their success was playing The Rock Garden in London's Covent Garden.
Is one of 115 people invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) in 2007.
Has starred with British actor Clive Owen in back to back action thriller films: Inside Man (2006) and Children of Men (2006).
He was awarded the OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in the 2008 Queen's Birthday Honours List for his services to drama.
He was awarded the CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in the 2015 Queen's Birthday Honours List for his services to drama. He is an actor in London, England.
Has named his five favorite films (in no order) as Raging Bull (1980), The Godfather (1972), Fargo (1996), Miller's Crossing (1990) and Do the Right Thing (1989).
He was honoured with a Global Promise Award by The GEANCO Foundation, a non-profit welfare organization in West Africa for his charity work in Nigeria (2015).
Younger sister, Zain Asher, is a financial news reporter at CNN based in New York.
Has played slaves in two films: Amistad (1997) and 12 Years a Slave (2013).
Friends with Benedict Cumberbatch and Idris Elba.
Currently resides in Los Angeles, California.

Personal Quotes (7)

I remember getting cast in Amistad and getting this very strong feeling that I had overshot myself. It was a great shock. It made me realize that this is not a profession you can predict; that you can have all these ambitions and expectations and that they can all be thrown to the wind. What was peculiar about that situation was that my aspirations were so far below what actually happened.
I like to disappear into a role. I equate the success of it with a feeling of being chemically changed.
I always thought of the play as a sequel to Romeo and Juliet. I think Shakespeare's so astute in his understanding of people being vulnerable, you know. And that love is so easy to corrupt. I think so many of Shakespeare's plays are about how fragile love is - how perfect and beautiful it is, but also how terrifying and easy to manipulate it is.
But these are the realities of the artistic idealism and the stock, the commercial/financial realism, and, so, somehow sometimes it is going to work in your favor and sometimes against, and that's all part and parcel of it. We just, in our end, just carry on trying to sort of produce the work, or the best work we can do, and hope that at their end they find a way of getting that to as many people as possible in the cinema medium.
I think I just look for what appeals to me, and maybe what appeals to me is kind of serious sometimes. I like characters and I like story and I sort of like narrative, and that is what excites me. And sometimes, I suppose, in the contemporary context a lot of that is based around dramas these days so I enjoy that and it's what I have always done. I have always been involved in drama, and somehow that is where a lot of the good stories are. And I think there can be comedic moments in drama, like in Kinky Boots, I think there are some funny beats, but the overall, I'm just saying, is that it is a complex story between a few groups of people, and even though the story is heightened and amusing, there are all sorts of beats and machinations that go on and I think that's just what intrigues me and that's what I pursue.
[on 12 Years a Slave (2013)] There are 21 million people in slavery as we sit here. I just hope 150 years from now our ambivalence will not allow another filmmaker to make this film.
[to director Steve McQueen, while accepting the BAFTA male acting trophy, 2014] This is yours. I'm going to keep it - that's the kind of guy I am - but it's yours.

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