Having already played historic figures Jackie Robinson
and James Brown
, Chadwick Boseman reached his peak as the title star of the Marvel Studios hit Black Panther
(2018). Two years later, shockingly, he died at age 43. Chadwick Boseman graduated in 2000 from Howard University in Washington, D.C., where he studied theater arts with a mind to become a writer, director and producer. After college, Boseman moved to New York and focused mainly on his writing career. For the next decade, he had occasional acting jobs, appearing in small roles in television shows, including a recurring role in the series Lincoln Heights
(2008-09). In 2013 he got his breakout role: as baseball legend Jackie Robinson
in the biopic 42.
That success shifted Boseman's focus to acting, and in the next few years he had a series of high-profile roles. He played rock 'n roll great James Brown in Get On Up
(2014) as then young Thurgood Marshall
, future Supreme Court justice, in Marshall
(2017). He made his debut in the Marvel "universe" as Black Panther (a.k.a. T'Challa) in the 2016 action hit Captain America: Civil War
. Two years later he starred in the film centered on the character, Black Panther
. The film was a smash hit, grossing over $1.3 billion worldwide, and Boseman became a major star. His sudden death in 2020 stunned fans. His family released a statement saying, in part, "Chadwick was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer in 2016, and battled with it these last 4 years as it progressed to stage IV. A true fighter, Chadwick persevered through it all, and brought you many of the films you have come to love so much."