‘Black Panther’ Star Chadwick Boseman Dies of Cancer at 43

Chadwick Boseman, the regal actor who embodied a long-held dream of African-American moviegoers because the star of the groundbreaking superhero movie “Black Panther,” died on Friday at his house in Los Angeles. He was 43.

His publicist confirmed the demise, saying Mr. Boseman’s spouse, Taylor Simone Ledward, and household have been by his facet at the time. An announcement posted on Mr. Boseman’s Instagram account stated that he discovered he had Stage three colon most cancers in 2016 and that it had progressed to Stage four.

“A true fighter, Chadwick persevered through it all, and brought you many of the films you have come to love so much,” the assertion stated. “From ‘Marshall’ to ‘Da 5 Bloods,’ August Wilson’s ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom’ and several more, all were filmed during and between countless surgeries and chemotherapy.”

A non-public determine by Hollywood requirements, Mr. Boseman hardly ever publicized particulars about his private life. He discovered fame comparatively late as an actor — he was 35 when he appeared in his first outstanding function, as Jackie Robinson in “42” — however made up for misplaced time with a string of star-making performances in main biopics.

Whether it was James Brown in “Get On Up,” Thurgood Marshall in “Marshall” or T’Challa in “Black Panther,” Mr. Boseman’s unfussy versatility and old school gravitas helped flip him into one of his era’s most sought-after main males.

Oprah Winfrey, also posting on Twitter, wrote that Mr. Boseman was “a gentle gifted SOUL.”

“Showing us all that Greatness in between surgeries and chemo,” she added. “The courage, the strength, the Power it takes to do that. This is what Dignity looks like.”

Audiences were even more enthusiastic. Joyful armies of fans participated in special outings and repeated viewings. Many came to theaters dressed in African-inspired clothing and accessories, often using a greeting from the film, “Wakanda forever,” as a convivial rallying cry.

The fervor helped make “Black Panther” one of the highest-grossing movies of all time, with more than $1.3 billion in earnings globally. Its success represented a moment of hope, pride and empowerment for Black moviegoers around the world. And it marked an inflection point in Hollywood, where decades of discrimination against Black-led films gave way to a new era of increased visibility and opportunity for Black artists.

The statement on Mr. Boseman’s Instagram account said it was “the honor of his career to bring King T’Challa to life in ‘Black Panther.’”

How the Walt Disney Company might continue the blockbuster franchise without Mr. Boseman, if at all, was unclear. Although a sequel had been scheduled for release in 2022, filming had yet to begin. On Twitter, fans quickly mounted a campaign demanding that Disney not recast the role. The studio had no comment.

Chadwick Aaron Boseman was born on Nov. 29, 1976, in the small city of Anderson, S.C., the youngest of three boys. His mother, Carolyn, was a nurse, and his father, Leroy, worked for an agricultural conglomerate and had a side business as an upholsterer.

After starring in “Black Panther,” Mr. Boseman reprised the role in two “Avengers” films, “Avengers: Infinity War” (2018) and “Avengers: Endgame” (2019).

He was developing multiple projects as a screenwriter (he co-wrote an undeveloped script for an international thriller called “Expatriate”) and as a producer (he was a producer and star of the 2019 detective movie “21 Bridges”) for what he hoped would be a fruitful new chapter in his career.

Mr. Boseman continued to take on roles with a sociopolitical edge. He appeared as a Vietnam War hero in the Spike Lee epic “Da 5 Bloods,” released in the spring, and will play a 1920s blues musician in a film adaptation of August Wilson’s “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” produced by Mr. Washington and Todd Black and due later this year from Netflix.

A lifelong admirer of Muhammad Ali, Mr. Boseman sought to wield his celebrity to advance a greater, moral cause. During this summer’s wave of protests against systemic racism and police brutality, he expressed support for the Black Lives Matter movement and joined other Black entertainers and executives in calling on the industry to cut ties with police departments.

Onscreen and off, he was fueled by a commitment to leave nothing on the table.

“You want to choose a difficult way sometimes,” he said, describing his acting method to The Times last year. “Some days it should be simple, but sometimes you’ve got to take chances.”

Brooks Barnes and Marie Fazio contributed reporting.

Source link Nytimes.com

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