Actor Chadwick Boseman dies at the age of 43

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Photo courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures — Movie poster for film 'Black Panther.'

By Ronald Penh

Renowned actor and celebrity Chadwick Boseman passed away on Friday, Aug. 28, 2020 at the age of 43 from cancer.

His death came about as a shock to the world, as his medical condition was kept private and unknown to mainstream media. For the last four years, Boseman was battling colon cancer.

Boseman was born on November 29, 1976 in South Carolina. His early experience with entertainment consists of his performances in multiple stage productions such as ‘Breathe,’ ‘Romeo and Juliet,’ ‘Bootleg Blues,’ ‘Zooman,’ and ‘Willie’s Cut and Shine,’ according to an article from www.biography.com.

He gained roles in TV around the mid 2000’s, featuring in guest spots on crime dramas like Third Watch and CSI:NY, and on the soap opera All My Children. 

He landed a bigger role in 2008 on the TV drama series ‘Lincoln Heights’ as Nathaniel Ray, a character that appeared in seasons 3 and 4 of the show.

His career took a major shift when he landed the lead role in the film ‘42’ playing legendary baseball player Jackie Robinson. The film was released in 2012 and earned $27.3 million during its opening weekend, the most a baseball-themed film has ever made.

Boseman landed the leading role of another iconic biopic film, ‘Get on Up,’ playing the revolutionary musician James Brown. The film showed Brown’s dynamic personality and revealed the strengths and struggles he had as a person. 

His lead role as T’Challa in the film ‘Black Panther,’ is arguably one of his most iconic performances. The movie made rifts in the film industry for their leading African-American actors and actresses, having an African-American director, and for having such a popular black superhero in a mainstream film.

The film highly popularized the comic book character and made its own imprint in the film industry on how successful a film revolving around people of color can be. 

“For someone who works at a comic book store, he’s an actor who plays a hero and is doing stuff that I feel like is heroic in the sense of our time,” Carlos Osorio, an employee at Geoffrey’s Comics on Crenshaw Blvd, said. 

Osorio also noted how the film uniquely focused on the main cast that were mainly African-American.

“This is a film I can honestly say that, people of color are the main representation of the film, which I enjoyed,” Osorio said.

LA Arts and Society founder Alex Martinez saw Boseman as a huge inspiration.

“I think that his talent, his work ethic, he was a dedicated role model to everyone,” Martinez said.

Martinez really admired Boseman for who he was as a person and the words of advice that he’d share.

“He was talking about in a barbershop show on HBO about what you need to do first is find out who you are before you can go and start trying to figure out who you are going to be,” Martinez shared. “And that I think speaks to his roles. He knows who he is, that way, when he’s casted through these roles, he picks them very carefully.”

The Gardena Cinema will play the film ‘Get On Up’ at their drive-in in the parking lot on the weekend of Sept. 11. The film displays Boseman’s versatility and talent as an actor, as he incorporates a lot of singing and dancing into the film as well.