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Tuesday , November 24 2020

‘Black Panther’s’ Boseman dies

LOS ANGELES., Aug 29, (AP): Chadwick Boseman, who played Black American icons Jackie Robinson and James Brown with searing intensity before inspiring audiences worldwide as the regal Black Panther in Marvel’s blockbuster movie franchise, died Friday of cancer. He was 43.

In this March 4, 2018 file photo, Chadwick Boseman arrives at the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. Actor Chadwick Boseman, who played Black icons Jackie Robinson and James Brown before finding fame as the regal Black Panther in the Marvel cinematic universe, has died of cancer. He was 43. (AP)

Boseman died at his home in the Los Angeles area with his wife and family by his side, his publicist Nicki Fioravante told The Associated Press. Boseman was diagnosed with colon cancer four years ago, his family said in a statement. “A true fighter, Chadwick persevered through it all, and brought you many of the films you have come to love so much,” his family said.

“From Marshall to Da 5 Bloods, August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and several more – all were filmed during and between countless surgeries and chemotherapy. It was the honor of his career to bring King T’Challa to life in Black Panther.”

Attention
Boseman had not spoken publicly about his diagnosis. He is survived by his wife and a parent and had no children, Fioravante said. Born in South Carolina, Boseman graduated from Howard University and had small roles in television before his first star turn in 2013.

His striking portrayal of the stoic baseball star Robinson opposite Harrison Ford in 2013’s “42” drew attention in Hollywood and made him a star. A year later, he wowed audiences as Brown in the biopic “Get On Up.” Boseman died on a day that Major League Baseball was celebrating Jackie Robinson day. “His transcendent performance in ‘42’ will stand the test of time and serve as a powerful vehicle to tell Jackie’s story to audiences for generations to come,” the league wrote in a tweet. Expressions of shock and despair poured in late Friday from fellow actors, athletes, musicians, Hollywood titans, fans and politicians.

The film’s vision of Afro futurism and the technologically advanced civilization of Wakanda resonated with audiences, some of whom wore African attire to showings and helped propel “Black Panther” to more than $1.3 billion in global box office. It is the only Marvel Studios film to receive a best picture Oscar nomination. Boseman said he more easily identified with the film’s antagonist, played by Michael B. Jordan, who had been cut off from his ancestral roots: “I was born with some Killmonger in me, and I have learned to T’Challa throughout my studies,” he told AP while promoting the film.

“It’s the place where you start. All African Americans, unless they have some direct connection, have been severed from that past. There’s things that cannot be tracked,” he continued. “You were a product, sold. So it’s very difficult as an African American to connect at some points directly to Africa. I have made that part of my search in my life. So those things were already there when I got into the role.”

The character was last seen standing silently dressed in a black suit at Tony Stark’s funeral in last year’s “Avengers: Endgame.” A “Black Panther” sequel had been announced, and was one of the studio’s most anticipated upcoming films. Even at the outset of his Hollywood career, Boseman was clear-eyed about – and even skeptical of – the industry in which he would become an international star.

“You don’t have the same exact experience as a Black actor as you do as a white actor. You don’t have the same opportunities. That’s evident and true,” he told AP while promoting “42.”

“The best way to put it is: How often do you see a movie about a black hero who has a love story … he has a spirituality. He has an intellect. It’s weird to say it, but it doesn’t happen that often.”

In addition to Robinson and Brown, Boseman portrayed the future US Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall in 2017’s “Marshall.” He humanized the larger-than-life historical figures with the same reserved dignity – interrupted by fl ashes of sparkling wit – that he would later bring to T’Challa. He took on his first producing job in last year’s action thriller “21 Bridges,” in which he also starred, and was last seen on-screen in Spike Lee’s film “Da 5 Bloods” as the leader of a group of Black soldiers in the Vietnam War.

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