Donald Frank Cheadle Jr. (//; born November 29, 1964) is an American actor, author, director, producer and writer. 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 The Ocean's Trilogy (2001–2007).
Cheadle in 2010
Donald Frank Cheadle Jr.
November 29, 1964
Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.
|Occupation||Actor, film producer, director, writer, author|
|Partner(s)||Bridgid Coulter (1992–present)|
|Parent(s)||Donald Frank Cheadle Sr.|
Bettye North Cheadle
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 as the superhero 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).
Cheadle was born in Kansas City, Missouri, the son of Bettye Cheadle (née North), a teacher, and Donald Frank Cheadle Sr., a clinical psychologist. 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. 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 theater 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. In 1987 he received a small role in episode 19, season 7 of Hill Street Blues where he played a teenager with learning difficulties. Followed by an appearance in Hamburger Hill the same year; Cheadle secured 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. 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. 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.Don Cheadle also starred in Rush Hour 2 (2001), with Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker..
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 the death of his wife and three daughters in 9/11. The film was a box office flop, earning a domestic gross of $22.2 million. Cheadle later starred in the 2009 DreamWorks Pictures film Hotel for Dogs. 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..."
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.
In 2009, Cheadle and Boondocks creator Aaron McGruder worked on a potential comedy show on NBC. The "project revolve[d] around mismatched brothers who reunite to open a private security company." Cheadle and McGruder were slated to serve as executive producers, while McGruder was expected to write the script.
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.
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), 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.
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. Locations for the movie were found in Cincinnati.
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.
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.
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. He is also on the Advisory Board of Citizens' Climate Lobby.
In 2010, Cheadle was named U.N. Environment Program Goodwill Ambassador. 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'.
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. 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.
|1985||Moving Violations||Juicy Burgers Worker|
|1987||Hamburger Hill||Pvt. Washburn|
|1992||Roadside Prophets||Happy Days Manager|
|1993||The Meteor Man||Goldilocks|
|1995||Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead||Rooster|
|1995||Devil in a Blue Dress||Mouse Alexander|
|1996||Rebound: The Legend of Earl "The Goat" Manigault||Earl Manigault|
|1997||Boogie Nights||Buck Swope|
|1998||Out of Sight||Maurice Miller|
|1998||The Rat Pack||Sammy Davis Jr.|
|2000||Mission to Mars||Luke Graham|
|2000||The Family Man||Cash|
|2001||Rush Hour 2||Kenny||Uncredited cameo|
|2001||Things Behind the Sun||Chuck|
|2001||Manic||Dr. David Monroe|
|2001||Swordfish||Agent J.T. Roberts|
|2001||Ocean's Eleven||Basher Tarr|
|2002||Ticker||Passenger||Segment for the BMW short film series The Hire|
|2003||The United States of Leland||Pearl Madison|
|2004||Ocean's Twelve||Basher Tarr|
|2004||After the Sunset||Henri Mooré|
|2004||The Assassination of Richard Nixon||Bonny Simmons|
|2004||Hotel Rwanda||Paul Rusesabagina|
|2005||Crash||Det. Graham Waters|
|2006||The Dog Problem||Dr. Nourmand|
|2006||King Leopold's Ghost||Narrator|
|2007||Reign Over Me||Alan Johnson|
|2007||Talk to Me||Petey Greene|
|2007||Ocean's Thirteen||Basher Tarr|
|2009||Hotel for Dogs||Bernie|
|2009||The People Speak||Himself||Documentary|
|2010||Brooklyn's Finest||Clarence 'Tango' Butler|
|2010||Iron Man 2||James Rhodes / War Machine|
|2011||The Guard||FBI Agent Wendell Everett|
|2013||Iron Man 3||James Rhodes / Iron Patriot|
|2015||Avengers: Age of Ultron||James Rhodes / War Machine|
|2015||Miles Ahead||Miles Davis||Also director, writer and producer|
|2016||Kevin Hart: What Now?||Himself|
|2016||Captain America: Civil War||James Rhodes / War Machine|
|2018||Avengers: Infinity War||James Rhodes / War Machine|
|2019||Captain Marvel||James Rhodes / War Machine||Uncredited;|
Mid-credits scene cameo
|2019||Avengers: Endgame||James Rhodes / War Machine|
|2021||Space Jam 2||J.T. Roberts||Filming|
|TBA||Prince of Darkness||Jeremiah Hamilton||Also producer; Post-production|
|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|
|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"|
Episode: "The Shadow War"
|2019–present||Black Monday||Maurice Monroe|
|2019||Saturday Night Live||Himself / Host||Episode: "Don Cheadle/Gary Clark Jr."|
|2020||Ratched||8 episodes; post-production|
|2007||Talk to Me||Executive producer|
|2014||St. Vincent||Executive producer|
|TBA||Prince of Darkness||Producer|
|2010||Iron Man 2||Col. James 'Rhodey' Rhodes / War Machine|
|2016||Lego Marvel's Avengers||Audio archive footage|
|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|
Awards and nominations
- Williams, Kam (January 12, 2009). "Don Cheadle: The Hotel for Dogs Interview". The Sly Fox. KamWilliams.com. Retrieved June 30, 2009.
- "Today's random fact: Cheadle was here". JournalStar.com. Retrieved April 26, 2017.
- "How Did You Get Your SAG-AFTRA Card?" TV Guide, January 13, 2014. p. 10.
- Johnson, Kevin C. "Angela Winbush tells of career struggles, cancer battle in 'Unsung'". stltoday.com. St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved December 4, 2015.
- "It's Evening in America". Vanity Fair. May 2012. p. 155.
- "Don Cheadle joins 'Iron Man 2'". Azcentral.com. October 14, 2008. Retrieved July 28, 2010.
- "Don Cheadle Joins Hotel for Dogs". Movieweb.com. Retrieved July 28, 2010.
- "Don Cheadle Talks to Us". Comingsoon.net. July 6, 2007. Retrieved July 28, 2010.
- Thomaselli, Rich (November 2, 2006). "Advertising Age". Adage.com. Retrieved July 28, 2010.
- "Cheadle, McGruder Team For New Series". Blogs.bet.com. October 28, 2009. Retrieved July 28, 2010.
- "Don Cheadle, 'Boondocks' creator Aaron McGruder team on NBC comedy; Brad Pitt takes a tumble; and more: The Morning After". Cleveland.com. Getty Images. October 26, 2009. Retrieved July 28, 2010.
- "Credits". The People Speak. Archived from the original on July 13, 2010. Retrieved July 28, 2010.
- Thompson, Arienne (December 12, 2013). "Don Cheadle mellow, 'barely awake' after Globes news". USA Today. Archived from the original on December 13, 2013. Retrieved December 12, 2013.
- "Don Cheadle Wins Golden Globe For Best Comedy Actor". Huffington Post. January 13, 2013. Retrieved August 20, 2013.
- 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.
- "Don Cheadle starts filming 'Miles Ahead' Monday". Cincinnati.com. Retrieved July 7, 2014.
- Coggan, Devan (July 20, 2018). "Don Cheadle to voice Donald Duck on 'DuckTales'". EW.com. Retrieved March 2, 2019.
- "BET AWARDS '07: HUMANITARIAN AWARD". Archived from the original on July 2, 2012. Retrieved November 4, 2012.
- "Ante Up for Africa". anteupforafrica.org. Archived from the original on February 17, 2008. Retrieved July 23, 2009.
- "2010 WSOP Schedule". Retrieved June 6, 2010.
- "Clooney and Cheadle Honored by Nobel Prize Winners". PEOPLE.com. Retrieved March 2, 2019.
- Don Cheadle and Harrison Ford explore climate change in Years of Living Life Dangerously, dailynews.com; accessed June 22, 2015.
- "About CCL – Citizens' Climate Lobby". Citizens' Climate Lobby. Retrieved December 5, 2015.
- 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.
- "Don Cheadle Makes Powerful Political Statement as 'SNL' Host". Entertainment Tonight. Retrieved October 8, 2019.
- "African American Lives 2 Profiles: Don Cheadle". PBS. Retrieved March 29, 2013.
- Gates, Jr., Henry L. (2009). "In Search of Our Roots: How 19 Extraordinary African Americans Reclaimed Their Past".
- "Bridgid Coulter". IMDb. Retrieved March 2, 2019.
- Coggan, Devan (March 8, 2019). "Those Captain Marvel post-credits scenes, explained". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved March 8, 2019.
- McNary, Dave. "Don Cheadle to Star in Historical Drama 'Prince of Darkness'". Variety. Retrieved April 11, 2017.
- "Iron Man 2: The Video Game Gets Talented". Sega.com. Retrieved July 28, 2010.
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