|Born||December 7, 1965
Washington, D.C., U.S.
|Occupation||Actor, film producer|
|Spouse(s)||Carmen Ejogo (2000–present)|
Wright was born in Washington, D.C. to a mother who worked as a customs lawyer. He graduated from St Albans School and attended Amherst College, receiving a bachelor's degree in political science and planning to continue on to law school; however, he decided to study acting instead. After receiving an acting scholarship from New York University and attending the school for two months, he decided to leave and become a full time actor.
Wright began appearing off-Broadway in New York City and Washington, D.C., and in [1990 appeared in his first major film as an attorney in Presumed Innocent, which starred Harrison Ford. In 1991, Wright joined John Houseman's national touring repertory company The Acting Company with productions of A Midsummer Night's Dream and Athol Fugard's Blood Knot. Wright continued with his stage performances and in 1994 was cast as Norman 'Belize' Arriaga in Tony Kushner's award-winning play Angels in America. His portrayal of a gay nurse forced to take care of a homophobic Roy Cohn as he lay dying from AIDS won him the Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play.
In 1996, Wright had another breakthrough performance on the big screen, portraying painter Jean-Michel Basquiat in the film Basquiat. The film depicts the real-life tribulations of a young artist who gained tremendous success in the white-dominated New York art scene until he died of heroin overdose at the age of 27. Wright's performance was again critically acclaimed and the movie gave him the chance to work alongside veterans such as Gary Oldman, Willem Dafoe, Dennis Hopper, David Bowie, and Christopher Walken.
Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s Wright gave memorable performances in both leading and supporting roles. His more mentionable roles were in movies such as Woody Allen's Celebrity (1998), Shaft (2000), and Boycott (2001), where he gave another critically acclaimed performance as Martin Luther King, Jr. and was awarded the AFI Award for his portrayal. In 2003 Wright reprised his role as Norman 'Belize' Arriaga in HBO's award-winning adaptation of Angels in America starring alongside screen veterans Al Pacino, Emma Thompson and Meryl Streep and directed by Mike Nichols. His performance garnered him an Emmy award as well as a Golden Globe award for Best Supporting Actor in a Miniseries. In 2004, he appeared in Jonathan Demme's remake of The Manchurian Candidate opposite Denzel Washington, Meryl Streep, and Liev Schreiber. In February 2005, Wright returned to HBO Films in his friend George C. Wolfe's directorial debut, Lackawanna Blues, which starred many notable African-American actors. He also guest starred on The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles and Homicide: Life on the Street.
Among his most notable film roles was the Washington attorney Bennett Holiday in Stephen Gaghan's Syriana (2005), where he was the co-lead along with George Clooney and Matt Damon. The same year he played Bill Murray's eccentric Ethiopian neighbor Winston in Jim Jarmusch's existential road movie, Broken Flowers. In 2005, he starred in the play This Is How It Goes, alongside Ben Stiller and Amanda Peet. He also appeared as one of the tenants in M. Night Shyamalan's Lady in the Water.
In 2006, Wright featured as Felix Leiter in the 21st James Bond movie, Casino Royale. This makes him the first African-American man to play the character in an official Bond film (Bernie Casey played Leiter in the unofficial Never Say Never Again). He reprised the role in Quantum of Solace, making him only the second actor to appear as Leiter twice since David Hedison played the character in Live and Let Die and Licence to Kill.
In 2007, Wright was reunited with Casino Royale co-star, Daniel Craig, for the alien invasion suspense thriller, The Invasion, with Nicole Kidman. In 2008, Wright portrayed Bush's former Secretary of State General Colin Powell in Oliver Stone's biographical epic W. Also, Wright portrays Muddy Waters in Cadillac Records which is the biopic about the rise and fall of Chess Records.
On July 12, 2008, Wright was arrested, along with actor Josh Brolin and five other crew members of W., after an altercation at the Stray Cat Bar in Shreveport, Louisiana. Charges against all seven men were later dropped by Shreveport prosecutors.
|1990||Presumed Innocent||Prosecuting Attorney|
|1992||Jumpin' at the Boneyard||Derek|
|1996||Faithful||Young Man at Rolls|
|Basquiat||Jean Michel Basquiat||Alternative title: Build a Fort, Set It on Fire|
|1997||Critical Care||Bed Two|
|1998||Too Tired to Die||Balzac Man|
|Celebrity||Greg - Off-Off Broadway Director|
|Meschugge||Win||Alternative title: The Giraffe|
|Blossoms and Veils||Ben|
|Ride with the Devil||Daniel Holt|
|Crime and Punishment in Suburbia||Chris|
|2002||D-Tox||Jaworski||Alternative title: Eye See You|
|The Manchurian Candidate||Al Melvin|
|2006||Lady in the Water||Mr. Dury|
|Casino Royale||Felix Leiter|
|2007||The Invasion||Dr. Stephen Galeano|
|2008||W.||General Colin Powell|
|Quantum of Solace||Felix Leiter|
|Cadillac Records||Muddy Waters|
|2009||One Blood||Dan Clark||Producer|
|2011||Bond 23||Felix Leiter||pre-production|
|1991||Separate But Equal||William Coleman||Television movie|
|1993||The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles||Sidney Bechet||2 episodes|
|1994||New York Undercover||Andre Foreman||1 episode|
|1997||Homicide: Life on the Street||Hal Wilson||3 episodes|
|2001||Boycott||Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.||Television movie|
|2003||Angels in America||Belize||Miniseries|
|2005||Lackawanna Blues||Mr. Paul||Television movie|
|2007||American Experience||Narrator||1 episode|
|2008||Independent Lens||Bobby Seale||1 episode|
|2002||AFI Awards||AFI Actor of the Year - Male - Movie or Mini-Series||Blackout|
|2004||Black Reel Awards||Television: Best Supporting Actor||Angels in America|
|2006||Best Supporting Actor - Television||Lackawanna Blues|
|2008||Best Supporting Actor||Cadillac Records|
|Best Ensemble||Cadillac Records (Shared with cast)|
|2007||Chicago International Film Festival||Career Achievement Award||
|2004||Emmy Award||Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie||Angels in America|
|2004||Golden Globe Award||Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television||Angels in America|
|2005||San Diego Film Critics Society Awards||Best Supporting Actor||Broken Flowers|
|2000||Toronto Film Critics Association Awards||Best Supporting Performance, Male||Shaft (Tied with Tobey Maguire for Wonder Boys)|
|Felix Leiter actor