Although he has played a native African in films such as Dirty Pretty Things, Chiwetel Ejiofor was born in London on this day in 1974. The actorâ€(tm)s parents had left their Nigerian homeland before the birth of their son, giving him the benefit of beginning his career early. By the age of 13 Ejiofor had taken the lead in the U.K.â€(tm)s National Youth Theatre productions of “Julius Caesar” and “Othello.” After attending the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts, Ejiofor graduated to the larger stage performing at the Royal National Theatre. Sometime during his schooling, the 19-year-old landed his first major role in Steven Spielbergâ€(tm)s Amistad, but it is only since his Golden Globe-nominated performance in Kinky Boots, as Lola, a shoe-designing drag queen, that Ejiofor has received international recognition. Before then he took turns in Spike Leeâ€(tm)s She Hate Me and Woody Allenâ€(tm)s Melinda and Melinda. Since then his minor roles have turned into important supporting players in Leeâ€(tm)s Inside Man and Kasi Lemmons’ upcoming Talk to Me.
Connections: Chiwetel Ejiofor is so good it seems some of cinemaâ€(tm)s top talent have returned for seconds. Spike Lee has worked on both She Hate Me and Inside Man with the London actor, while two of his Inside Man co-stars, Clive Owen and Denzel Washington, can be seen alongside him in Children of Men and American Gangster respectively.