Don Cheadle Biography
Born: November 29, 1964
Date of Birth: November 29, 1964
Born in Kansas City, Missouri, Don Cheadle somehow manages to steal most of the scenes in which he appears. Not a small feat for the slender black actor who, at first glance, has a rather unassuming physical presence, especially compared to that of some of his big-name co-stars. No, Cheadle stands out because he possesses the rare ability to bring a laid-back intensity and subtle charisma to his roles. His acting style compliments rather than overshadows and this has made him ideal for ensemble work.
The son of a psychologist father and bank manager mother, Cheadle's interest in performing began around age five and his parents supported him every inch of the way. In addition to acting, Cheadle was interested in jazz music. By the time he graduated from high school he had scholarships from both music and acting schools. He chose the latter and attended the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, California.
Following graduation, Cheadle made his film debut with a small role as a hamburger server in Moving Violations (1985). He honed his acting skills as a guest star on television series ranging from Hill Street Blues to Night Court. In 1992, Cheadle landed a regular role as a fussy hotel manager in The Golden Palace. The show lasted one season but Cheadle landed on his feet and got the plumb role as earnest district attorney John Littleton on Picket Fences (1993-95).
Though busy with television, Cheadle was also building a reputation in feature films such as Hamburger Hill (1987) and notably Devil in a Blue Dress (1994). 1997 proved to be a big year for Cheadle who co-starred in three major films: Volcano, Boogie Nights and most importantly, John Singleton's Rosewood (1997). His portrayal of Sylvester Carrier, a gutsy black resident of the title town who bravely chastises white men for ogling and whistling at beautiful black women, led many industry insiders to question why he was skipped over for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination. At first Cheadle himself wondered too, but then chalked it up to industry politics and returned to his busy career. The role did win him two major critics awards.
He has since won a Golden Globe for his performance in the TV movie The Rat Pack (1998) and a Black Reel Award for Best Supporting Actor in the feature film Traffic (2000). He has been nominated four times for Emmy awards: in 1999 for both Lead Actor in the TV movie A Lesson Before Dying and as Supporting Actor for the TV movie The Rat Pack; in 2000 for the TV movie Things Behind the Sun and in 2003 for his guest appearance on the hit series ER.
In Iron Man 2 (2010), Don played the role of Lt. Col. James Rhodes, which led to a number of appearances in Avengers movies, including Captain America: Civil War (2016), Avengers: Infinity War (2018) and Avengers: Endgame (2019).
For his work in the film Hotel Rwanda (2004), Cheadle received Lead Actor nominations from both the Golden Globes and the Academy Awards.