Who Is Chiwetel Ejiofor?

Celebrities, Celebrity Q&A, Featured Article, People
on October 15, 2013

I had never heard of Chiwetel Ejiofor before seeing “Dancing on the Edge.” What else has he done?
—Julianne Rieden, Austin, Texas

Chiwetel Ejiofor [pronounced Chew-eh-tell Edge-ee-oh-for], 36, has a long list of film credits on his resume, which began when he was cast by Stephen Spielberg in “Amistad.” They include “Dirty Pretty Things” (the film that put him on the map), “Salt,” “2012,” “American Gangster,” “Talk to Me,” “Redbelt,” “Kinky Boots,” “Four Brothers,” “Inside Man,” “Children of Men,” Love Actually,” “Slow Burn,” and “Melinda and Melinda.”

Even with that impressive list of credits, 2013 is shaping up to be a big year for the British actor, who, in addition to playing the lead role of band leader Louis Lester in the Starz miniseries “Dancing on the Edge,” has a starring role in “12 Years a Slave,” which received Oscar buzz following its first screening at the Telluride Film Festival. Other films this year include “Savannah” and “Half of a Yellow Sun.”

Born in Forest Gate, London, to Nigerian parents, Ejiofor is a graduate of Dulwich College in South-East London. His interest in performing came early, and he acted in numerous school and National Youth Theatre productions. He also studied at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts.

Following his television debut in 1996 in “Deadly Voyage,” Ejiofor has been seen in numerous television productions including “Endgame,” for which he earned a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Mini-Series or a Motion Picture Made for Television; “Murder in Mind;” “Trust;” “Twelfth Night, or What you Will;” “The Canterbury Tales — The Knight’s Tale” and “Tsunami: The Aftermath,” which earned him a Golden Globe Award nomination and an NAACP Image award. He can also be seen in BBC’s award-winning series “The Shadow Line.”

On stage, he performed the title role in “Othello” at the Donmar Warehouse, for which won the 2008 Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor, the Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Actor, as well as nominations for the South Bank Show Awards 2009 and the What’s On Stage Theatregoers’ Choice Awards. His other theater credits include Roger Michell’s “Blue/Orange, the title role in Tim Supple’s “Romeo and Juliet,” and this summer’s “A Season in the Congo.”

Ejiofor was awarded an OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in 2008.