Nelsan Ellis was an American actor and a playwright who is well known for the portrayal of the character of Lafayette Reynolds for True Blood, an HBO television series.
Nelson Ellis Early Life, Education
Nelson was born in Harvey, Illinois on November 30, 1977, to parents Jackie Ellis and Tommy Lee Thompson, who divorced later after some years of his birth. His mother also had a mental breakdown after the death of her brother.
Ellis along with his sister were raised by their grandmother in Bessemer, Alabama. He is of American nationality and belongs to African-American ethnicity.
In Alabama, he attended Jess Lanier High School for a year before transferring to McAdory High School.
Ellis moved back to his hometown Illinois, at 15 where he started living with his aunt and attended Thornridge High School from where he graduated in 1997. He was then enrolled at Juilliard from where he earned a degree in Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2004.
Career as an Actor: Movies & TV Works
Ellis was still in his college when he started his acting career, with a role in Lost, a short film. It was not until 2005 when he landed a role in television film Warm Springs. He then portrayed the role, Carter Howard, for The Inside. He also did a few guest roles in 2007 for Veronica Mars and Without a Trace.
It was then Ellis got his huge break in the role of Lafayette Reynolds, for True Blood, a TV show which was premiered on HBO on September 7, 2008. The show ran for a total of 7 seasons and concluded in 2014.
The series has helped him win a Satellite Award for best-supporting actor and was also nominated for Screen Actors Guild Award and a Scream Award 2009. He has starred as Shinwell Johnson for the CBS series, Elementary as well.
Apart from his roles in television series, he has also made a few appearances in big-screen movies like the biopic, Get on Up in which he portrayed the role of Bobby Byrd. The movie was directed by renowned director Tate Taylor and stars Chadwick Boseman as James Brown.
His notable roles also include the portrayal of Martin Luther King Jr. in The Butler. He has co-starred with many famous actors like Jammie Foxx in the Soloist (2009), The Secretariat(2010) with Diane Lane, who once dated Jon Bon Jovi and with Jessica Chastain in The Help. His last film was True to the Game, adapted from the novel of the same name by Teri Woods' published in 1992.
Married Life & Children
Ellis was married to Tiffany Snow, and together they had two children; son Breon Ellis and daughter. The actor had his personal life secluded from the eyes of the world.
There were no details regarding his marriage or any of his affairs. But it was once rumored that Ellis might be gay, because of the role he portrayed in True Blood, but it was all a hoax.
Nelson died an untimely death on July 8, 2017, and was just 39 years of age at the time. His family claimed that Ellis was struggling with alcoholism and was trying to free himself from its traumas, which ultimately led to an alcohol withdrawal syndrome and thus died.
Nelsan Ellis' net worth was estimated to be $3 million at the time of his death. His acting career might have helped him to build up such a high figure of net worth.