Nelsan Ellis (born November 30, 1978 ) is an American film and television [1 ] actor and playwright. He is well known for his role as Lafayette Reynolds in the HBO series , which he played from 2008 until the completion of True Blood in 2014, and most recently for starring as True Blood Bobby Byrd in the James Brown biopic, . Get On Up Early life and education [edit ]
Ellis was born in
Harvey, Illinois, near [2 ] Chicago. When Ellis and his siblings were younger, their mother, a single parent after her divorce from her children's father, broke down over the death of her brother. Ellis and his siblings became wards of the state as a result. They were then raised in Bessemer, Alabama, by their grandmother. In Alabama, Ellis attended Jess Lanier High School for a year, then transferred to McAdory High School. He moved back to [3 ] Illinois at age 15, where he lived with his maternal aunt, and in 1997 he graduated from Thornridge High School in Dolton, Illinois.
He joined the
United States Marines at the age of 17, but quit not long afterwards. When Ellis was 21, he was accepted for enrollment at the [4 ] Juilliard School's Drama Division ( [4 ] Group 33: 2000–2004) where he befriended [5 ] True Blood-colleague Rutina Wesley ( [4 ] Group 34: 2001–2005). Ellis earned a [5 ] B.F.A. degree from Juilliard in 2004. [6 ] Awards [edit ] While at Juilliard, Ellis wrote a semi-autobiographical play entitled "Ugly", which was performed at the school and later won the Lincoln Center's Martin E. Segal Award. The play centered on his pregnant sister's murder at the hands of her husband. Nominations [edit ] Filmography [edit ] References [edit ] ^ "Nelsan Ellis". Yahoo! TV . Retrieved March 14, 2012. ^ Herrmann, Andrew (November 22, 2008). ". 'True Blood' actor Nelsan Ellis credits Thornridge teachers with on- and off-screen success" . Archived from Chicago Sun-Times the original on January 6, 2010 . Retrieved July 9, 2009. "Ellis, now 30" ^ Sharp, Dave (August 9, 2009). ". 'True Blood's' Lafayette a glamorously shady character" The Birmingham News . Retrieved August 9, 2009. ^ a b c Gopala, Nisha (July 7, 2011). "Nelsan Ellis on True Blood’s Season of the Witches, Lafayette’s Mohawk, and Dodging the Marines" . Retrieved July 7, 2011. ^ a b "Alumni News". The Juilliard School. May 2008. Archived from the original on 2011-11-11 . Retrieved April 6, 2012. ^ "Juilliard School Newsletter". September 6, 2011 . Retrieved April 6, 2012. ^ "2008 13th Annual SATELLITE Awards Nominees". International Press Academy. Archived from the original on December 18, 2008 . Retrieved December 15, 2008. ^ "NewNowNext Awards: Who Won?". Retrieved on May 23, 2009. ^ "Scream 2009 Best Supporting Actor". Retrieved on September 1, 2009. External links [edit ]