Donald Frank “Don” Cheadle, Jr., most famously known as simply Don Cheadle, is a popular American actor, born on the 29th of November, 1964 in Kansas City, Missouri. Ever since his early teen years, Cheadle was known to exhibit a stark interest in the liberal arts, preferring lead roles in local school plays and skits. Due to the busy schedules of a teaching job, Cheadle’s father was required to move around the United States, resulting in him spending most of his early childhood living in different cities and simultaneously acquiring a reliable sense of the multitude of cultures prominent in America. He eventually went to the East High School in Denver, Colorado and later graduated from California Institute of the Arts, with a B.A in Acting.
Officially beginning acting in the year 1985, Cheadle worked several menial roles in a host of popular TV shows of the time, such as The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Night Court and Picket Fences. What set apart Cheadle from other mainstream actors of the time was the simple capacity to win awards for some his first performances, a trait few actors of the day seem to possess. Cheadle’s was first ever recognized as a rising star of Hollywood in the 1995 American neo-noir film Devil in a Blue Dress, in which he played a supporting role and won the Best Supporting Actor awards from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and the National Society of Film Critics while being nominated for several other awards. Only a year later, he was hired by HBO for the TV movie Rebound: The Legend of Earl “The Goat” Manigault, further popularized by a stunning performance and reception. In the following years, Cheadle alternated between lead and supporting roles in films such as The Rat Pack, A Lesson Before Dying and Things Behind the Sun. Along regularly acting in top-notch films of the day, Cheadle also preferred some guest appearances in hit TV shows such as ER, known to have appeared for four episodes during the show’s ninth season as medical student with Parkinson’s Disease.
The year 2000 was perhaps one of the busiest years of Cheadle’s life, appearing in films such as Traffic, Fall Safe and The Family Man. In the following years, Don Cheadle was part of large-scale projects such as Ocean’s Eleven (2001), Ocean’s Twelve (2004) and The Assassination of Richard Nixon (2004). He was also to appear for the same role of ‘Basher Tarr’ in the third sequel of the Ocean’s series, exemplifying a truly mesmerizing performance in Ocean’s Thirteen (2007). However, Cheadle is known most popularly for his stunning performance of hotelier Paul Rusesabagina in Hotel Rwanda (2004), a true depiction of the Rwandan Genocide of 1994. This was later to seriously impact Cheadle’s dedication to the humanitarian cause, as he set up Not on Our Watch Project with other actors such as George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and David Pressman, a mission seeking to discourage the concept of atrocities in conflict-ridden zones. Some of his latest movies include examples like Reign over Me (2007), Talk to Me (2007), Traitor (2008), Iron Man 2 (2010) and Iron Man 3 (2013).
He is currently playing Marty Kaan in the popular Showtime sitcom House of Lies, having won a Golden Globe Award for consistent performances in 2013.