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Don Cheadle (1964)

Donald Frank Cheadle

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  Summary  

Donald Frank "Don" Cheadle, Jr. is an American film actor and producer. Cheadle rose to prominence in the late 1990s and the early 2000s for his supporting roles in the Steven Soderbergh-directed films Out of Sight, Traffic, and Ocean's Eleven. In 2004, his lead role as Rwandan hotel manager Paul Rusesabagina in the genocide drama film Hotel Rwanda earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. He also campaigns for the end of genocide in Darfur, Sudan, and co-authored a book concerning the issue titled Not On Our Watch: The Mission To End Genocide In Darfur And Beyond. In 2010, Cheadle was named U.N. Environment Program Goodwill Ambassador.

  Biography  

 early life
Cheadle was born in Kansas City, Missouri, the son of Bettye (née North) Garner, a teacher, and Donald Frank Cheadle, Sr., a clinical psychologist. He has a sister, Dawn, and a brother, Colin. His family moved from city to city throughout his childhood. Cheadle graduated in 1982 from East High School in Denver, Colorado, and went on to the California Institute of the Arts, graduating with a BA in Fine Arts.

 career
Cheadle acted in Hamburger Hill in 1987. He also played the role of Jack in the April 1, 1988 "Jung and the Restless" episode of Night Court. Although his character was supposed to be 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 #2 hit single "It's the Real Thing", performing dance moves in an orange jump suit, 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 received a supporting role in The Golden Girls spin-off The Golden Palace. Although the show was highly publicized, it was cancelled after one season. Cheadle subsequently played district attorney John Littleton on two 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.

Cheadle's fame spread with a regular role as the district attorney on the television series Picket Fences. Cheadle's other 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, a cameo appearance in the film Abby Singer, Out of Sight, Traffic, and Ocean's Eleven. These last three were directed by Steven Soderbergh. 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 was one of the producers of Crash, which won the 2005 Academy Award for Best Picture. For his performance in Crash, Cheadle was nominated for BAFTA and Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Supporting Actor. He played the main character in the movie Traitor. Cheadle starred in Hotel for Dogs by Dreamworks.

In 2007 Cheadle published a book, Not On Our Watch: The Mission to End Genocide in Darfur and Beyond, co-authored with John Prendergast.

Cheadle was to make his directorial debut with the adaptation of Elmore Leonard's Tishomingo Blues. In a July 2007 interview 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 have fans 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 , one of the finalists in this NFL contest, played on this commercial by proposing an ad where an entire team of football players are Don Cheadle.

Cheadle and Boondocks creator Aaron McGruder are working together to launch a comedy show on NBC. The "project revolves around mismatched brothers who reunite to open a private security company." Cheadle will serve as an executive producer, along with McGruder, who will write the script.

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 James Rhodes in the film Iron Man 2, replacing Terrence Howard, his Crash co-star.

In 2010, Cheadle was appointed, "U.N. Environment Program Goodwill Ambassador." He and Prendergast published their second book, The Enough Moment: Fighting to End Africa's Worst Human Rights Crimes, in 2010.

He also appeared in Derek Water's "Drunk History" video as Frederick Douglass. Cheadle will appear on the new Showtime TV series House of Lies premiering in 2012.

 personal life
According to the episode of the "National Heads-Up Poker Championship" aired on NBC on April 15, 2007, Cheadle defeated noted poker champion Phil Ivey in the first round of the tournament. The two met in the "Hearts & Diamonds" bracket. Cheadle, as an amateur player, was considered a significant underdog against the professional Ivey, notorious for his stone-cold "poker face". On the episode aired April 29, 2007, in the second round of the tournament, Cheadle was defeated and knocked out of the tournament by Vegas poker pro Scott Fischman. In the same tournament in 2009, he defeated David Pham in the first round only to lose to Paul Wasicka in the round of 32.

At the 2007 World Series of Poker, Cheadle and poker player Annie Duke organized an annual charity poker tournament, "Ante Up for Africa". Many Hollywood actors were expected to play in the tournament, which had a $5,000 buy-in. Money finishers were encouraged to donate part of their winnings to the International Rescue Committee or the Enough Project. The annual tournament is one of two non-bracelet events listed on the official WSOP schedule.

In 2007, Cheadle was awarded the BET Humanitarian award of the year for his numerous humanitarian services he rendered for the cause of 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. The award was presented by the World Summit of Nobel Laureates, Mikhail Gorbachev, and TheCommunity.com.

In 2008, Cheadle's family history was profiled on the PBS series African American Lives 2. A DNA test shows that he may have ancestry in present day Cameroon.

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Don Cheadle", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.