Jeffrey Wright (actor)

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Jeffrey Wright
Jeffrey Wright by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Wright in July 2013.
Born(1965-12-07) December 7, 1965 (age 49)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Alma materAmherst College
Years active1990–present
Spouse(s)Carmen Ejogo
(m. 2000–?; divorced)
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Jeffrey Wright
Jeffrey Wright by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Wright in July 2013.
Born(1965-12-07) December 7, 1965 (age 49)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Alma materAmherst College
Years active1990–present
Spouse(s)Carmen Ejogo
(m. 2000–?; divorced)

Jeffrey Wright (born December 7, 1965) is an American film, television and stage actor. He is known for such roles as Belize in the HBO miniseries Angels in America, Muddy Waters in Cadillac Records, Jean-Michel Basquiat in Basquiat, Felix Leiter in the James Bond films Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace, Valentin Narcisse in the HBO series Boardwalk Empire, and Beetee in three out of the four The Hunger Games films.

Early life[edit]

Wright was born in Washington, D.C., to a mother who worked as a customs lawyer and a father who died when Wright was a child.[1] He graduated from St Albans School and attended Amherst College, receiving a bachelor's degree in political science and planning to attend law school; however, he decided to study acting instead. After attending New York University for two months, he left to become a full-time actor.[2]


Wright began appearing off-Broadway in New York City and Washington DC, and in 1990, he appeared in his first major film as an attorney in Presumed Innocent, which starred Harrison Ford. In 1991, Wright joined John Houseman's national touring repertory company The Acting Company with productions of A Midsummer Night's Dream and Athol Fugard's Blood Knot. In 1994, he was cast as Norman "Belize" Arriaga in Tony Kushner's award-winning play Angels in America. His portrayal of a gay nurse forced to take care of Roy Cohn as he dies of AIDS won him the Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play.

In 1996, Wright portrayed painter Jean-Michel Basquiat in the film Basquiat, to critical acclaim. Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, Wright appeared in both leading and supporting roles in such films as Celebrity (1998), Ride with the Devil (1999), Shaft (2000), and Boycott (2001), where he gave an AFI Award-winning performance as Martin Luther King, Jr.. In 2003, Wright reprised his role as Norman "Belize" Arriaga in HBO's award-winning adaptation of Angels in America. His performance garnered him an Emmy award as well as a Golden Globe award for Best Supporting Actor in a miniseries. In 2004, he appeared in Jonathan Demme's remake of The Manchurian Candidate. In February 2005, Wright returned to HBO Films in Lackawanna Blues. He also guest starred on The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles and Homicide: Life on the Street.

Among his other film roles was Washington attorney Bennett Holiday in Syriana (2005). The same year, he played Bill Murray's eccentric Ethiopian neighbor Winston in Broken Flowers. In 2005, he starred in the play This Is How It Goes. He also appeared as one of the tenants in Lady in the Water. In 2006, Wright was featured as Felix Leiter in the James Bond movie Casino Royale. He reprised the role in Quantum of Solace.[3]

Wright at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 28, 2007.

In 2007, Wright starred in the alien invasion suspense thriller The Invasion. In 2008, he portrayed Colin Powell in W. He portrayed Muddy Waters in Cadillac Records, a biopic, loosely about the rise and fall of Chess Records. In 2010, Wright played Jacques Cornet in the world premiere run of A Free Man of Color at the Vivian Beaumont Theater of the Lincoln Center for Performing Arts in New York City.

Wright plays Beetee in The Hunger Games film series, starting with The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, released in November 2013. He also landed the role of Dr. Valentin Narcisse in season 4 of Boardwalk Empire, starting in the fall of 2013.[4]

Personal life[edit]

Wright married actress Carmen Ejogo in August 2000. They have a son named Elijah and a daughter named TK and live in Brooklyn, New York.[5] They have since divorced.[6] In 2004, Wright received an honorary degree from his alma mater, Amherst College.[7]

Wright has been a longtime activist working to end resource-related conflicts. In 2011, Wright established Taia Lion Resources, a mineral exploration company focused on ethical and sustainable mining in Sierra Leone.[8] In August 2012, Wright's conflict-free mining philosophy was highlighted in a video by the Enough Project.[9]



1990Presumed InnocentProsecuting attorney
1992Jumpin' at the BoneyardDerek
1996FaithfulYoung man
BasquiatJean-Michel Basquiat
1997Critical CareBed Two
1998Too Tired to DieBalzac man
Blossoms and VeilsBen
Ride with the DevilDaniel Holt
Crime and Punishment in SuburbiaChris
ShaftPeoples Hernandez
2001AliHoward Bingham
2004Sin's KitchenRex
The Manchurian CandidateAl Melvin
2005Broken FlowersWinston
SyrianaBennett Holiday
2006Lady in the WaterMr. Dury
Casino RoyaleFelix Leiter
2007The InvasionDr. Stephen Galeano
2008W.Colin Powell
Quantum of SolaceFelix Leiter
Cadillac RecordsMuddy Waters
2009One BloodDan ClarkProducer
2011Source CodeDr. Rutledge
The Ides of MarchSenator Thompson
Extremely Loud and Incredibly CloseWilliam Black
2013Broken CityCarl Fairbanks
A Single ShotSimon
The Hunger Games: Catching FireBeetee
The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and PeteHenry
2014Ernest & CelestineGrizzly Judge's voice
Only Lovers Left AliveDr. Watson
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1Beetee
2015The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2BeeteePost-production


1991Separate but EqualWilliam Coleman
1993The Young Indiana Jones ChroniclesSidney Bechet2 episodes
1994New York UndercoverAndre Foreman1 episode
1997Homicide: Life on the StreetHal Wilson3 episodes
2001BoycottDr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
2003Angels in AmericaNorman "Belize" Ariaga
2005Lackawanna BluesMr. Paul
2007American ExperienceNarrator1 episode
2008Independent LensBobby Seale1 episode
2011HouseDr. Walter CofieldSeason 8, Episode 11: "Nobody's Fault"
2013-2014Boardwalk EmpireDr. Valentin NarcisseSeason 4, Season 5
2015WestworldBernard LoweSeries regular


2002AFI AwardsAFI Actor of the Year – Male – Movie or Mini-SeriesBoycottWon
2002Black Movie AwardsOutstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting RoleSyrianaNominated
2002Black Reel AwardsNetwork/Cable - Best ActorBoycottNominated
2004Television: Best Supporting ActorAngels in AmericaWon
2005Best Supporting ActorThe Manchurian CandidateNominated
2006Best Supporting Actor – TelevisionLackawanna BluesWon
Best Supporting ActorSyrianaNominated
2008Best Supporting ActorCadillac RecordsWon
Best EnsembleWon
2012Broadcast Film Critics Association AwardsBest Acting EnsembleThe Ides of MarchNominated
2007Chicago International Film FestivalCareer Achievement AwardWon
2004Emmy AwardsOutstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a MovieAngels in AmericaWon
2004Golden Globe AwardsBest Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TelevisionAngels in AmericaWon
2002Image AwardsOutstanding Actor in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic SpecialBoycottNominated
2006Outstanding Actor in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic SpecialLackawanna BluesNominated
2009Outstanding Actor in a Motion PictureCadillac RecordsNominated
2012Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion PictureThe Ides of MarchNominated
1997Independent Spirit AwardsBest Debut PerformanceBasquiatNominated
2006Best Supporting MaleBroken FlowersNominated
2005San Diego Film Critics Society AwardsBest Supporting ActorBroken FlowersWon
2002Satellite AwardsBest Actor in a Miniseries or Television FilmBoycottNominated
2004Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Miniseries or Television FilmAngels in AmericaNominated
2004Screen Actors Guild AwardsOutstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Miniseries or Television MovieAngels in AmericaNominated
1994Tony AwardsBest Featured Actor in a PlayAngels in America: PerestroikaWon
2002Best Actor in a PlayTopdog/UnderdogNominated
2000Toronto Film Critics Association AwardsBest Supporting Performance, MaleShaft (tied with Tobey Maguire for Wonder Boys)Won


  1. ^ "Jeffrey Wright". The New York Times. 
  2. ^ "Jeffrey Wright – About This Person – Movies & TV –". Retrieved 2013-01-02. 
  3. ^ Meza, Ed; Siegel, Tatiana (January 2, 2008). "'Bell' man takes on Bond". Variety. Retrieved January 2, 2008. 
  4. ^ Moaba, Alex (March 6, 2013). "Jeffrey Wright Joins 'Boardwalk Empire'". Huffington Post. 
  5. ^ "Jeffrey Wright Biography (1965?–)". Retrieved 2013-01-02. 
  6. ^ Zahed, Ramin; "'Selma' allows Carmen Ejogo to play Coretta Scott King a second time",, 18 December 2014 (retrieved 26 December 2014).
  7. ^ Amherst Magazine Summer 2004: College Row Amherst Magazine, Summer 2004
  8. ^ Wright, Jeffrey (2012-08-16). "Creating Conflict-Free Companies for the 21st Century". Retrieved 2013-01-02. 
  9. ^ ""Jeffrey Wright: Conflict-Free Philosophy" August 14, 2012". 2012-08-14. Retrieved 2013-01-02. 

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