Donald Frank Cheadle was born in Kansas City, Missouri on November 29, 1964. After graduating high school in Denver, Colorado, Cheadle attended and graduated from the California Institute of the Arts with a Bachelor¹s Degree in Fine Arts. Encouraged by his college friends, he attended a variety of auditions and landed a recurring role on the hit series "Fame" (1982), which led to feature film roles in Dennis Hopper's "Colors" (1988) and John Irvin's "Hamburger Hill" (1987).
Early in his career, Cheadle was named Best Supporting Actor by the Los Angeles Film Critics for his breakout performance opposite Denzel Washington in Devil in a Blue Dress (1995). His subsequent film credits include the 2006 Oscar-winning Best Picture, "Crash" (2004), which Cheadle also produced; "Hotel Rwanda" (2004), for which his performance garnered Oscar, Golden Globe, Broadcast Film Critics and Screen Actors Guild award nominations for Best Actor; Steven Soderbergh's Ocean's Eleven (2001), Ocean's Twelve (2004) and Ocean's Thirteen (2007), starring Brad Pitt and George Clooney. Cheadle was honored by the CineVegas Film Festival and the Los Angeles Film Festival and received ShoWest's Male Star of the Year award. He is also well-recognized for his television work, including his portrayal of Sammy Davis Jr. in HBO's "The Rat Pack" (1998), for which he received a Golden Globe Award and a Best Supporting Actor Emmy nomination. His recent big screen appearances have been in Antoine Fuqua's ensemble crime thriller "Brooklyn's Finest" (2009) and his recurring role as Col. James 'Rhodey' Rhodes in Marvel's "Iron Man" and "The Avengers" films.
A talented musician who plays saxophone, writes music and sings, Cheadle is also an accomplished stage actor and director, and was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2004 for Best Spoken Word Album for his narration/dramatization of the Walter Mosley novel "Fear Itself."
After acting in "Hotel Rwanda," a film about the early 1990s Rwandan genocide, he became an activist to raise awareness of the mid-2000s genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan. In January 2005, he traveled to Sudan with five members of Congress to see refugee camps and to meet survivors of the genocide. Upon his return, he reported on his trip for ABC News Nightline. Other notable off-stage achievements include the 2007 BET Humanitarian Award for the cause of the people of Darfur and Rwanda, and sharing the Summit Peace Award by the Nobel Peace Prize Laureates in Rome with George Clooney for their work in Darfur.
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