Actor Spotlight: Chiwetel Ejiofor


Chiwetel Ejiofor, a British actor, was born on July 10th, 1977 in the Forest Gates of London, England. His mother Obiajulu, was a pharmacist and his father Arinze was a doctor. He has one sister, Zain Asher, who serves as a correspondent for CNN.

Ejiofor started acting in school plays at the age of fourteen at Dulwich College and also became a member of the National Youth Theatre. He got into the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art where he had to leave after his first year there because he was cast in Steven Spielberg’s film Amistad. In 1996, Ejiofor made his film debut in the television film Deadly Voyage. From there he went on to become a stage actor in London. In 1999, he appeared in the British film G:MT _ Greenwich Mean Time. He had his first leading role in 2000, playing Nikki Burkett in the Jeremy Cameron film It Was an Accident.  In 2002, he starred in Dirty Pretty Things for which he won a British Independent Film Award for Best Actor. In 2003, he starred in the lead role of Augustus in the radio production of Rita Dove’s poetic drama The Darker Face of the Earth.

In May of 2004 he played the god Dionysus in a film of the same name. In 2007, he starred opposite Don Cheadle in Talk to Me, a film based on the true story of Ralph “Petey” Greene. Ejiofor was appointed Officer of The Order of The British Empire (OBE) at the 2008 Birthday Honours. In the same year he made his directorial debut in the short film Slapper which he also wrote. After appearing in the film 2012 alongside John Cusack in 2009, the film went on to gross over $700 million dollars which put it among the list of highest-grossing films of all time and placing it 5th of top films of 2009.

In 2013, Ejiofor took on one of his most notable roles to date as Solomon Northup in 12 Years a Slave. 12 Years a Slave opened to wide acclaim, with many critics citing Ejiofor’s performance and declaring him an almost-certain Academy Award nominee for Best Actor. On January 16, 2014, Ejiofor was officially nominated for Best Actor for the 86th Annual Academy Awards.  In 2015, it was announced that Ejiofor had been cast as Baron Mordo in the 2016 film Doctor Strange. Also in 2015, Ejiofor was honored with a Global Promise Award by The GEANCO Foundation, a non-profit welfare organization in West Africa for his charity work in Nigeria.  

Ejiofor does not have any children nor is he married but he is dating the Canadian actress and model Sari Mercer