Spirit of Independence Award:
Cheadle got his start working in television, beginning with a recurring role on the TV series Fame. He also made guest appearances on Hill Street Blues, China Beach), Night Court, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air) before landing a role as a hotel manager of The Golden Palace.
Cheadle got his first major film break in Carl Franklin’s crime thriller, Devil in a Blue Dress, more than holding his own against co-star Denzel Washington. He went on to bigger roles, including a down-and-out porn actor in P.T. Anderson's Boogie Nights and an ex-con in Steven Soderberg's Out of Sight. He's continued to work with Soderberg, appearing in Ocean’s Eleven and the two popular sequels thereafter.
Hotel Rwanda, of course, only offered greater doors for the actor: now recognized for more than his considerable comedic ability. Don Cheadle has since gone on to appear in the ensemble drama Crash which won the Oscar for Best Picture in 2005. In Kasi Lemmons's Talk To Me, a bio pic about Washington DJ Petey Greene, Cheadle practically bounces off the screen with a high energy, hilarious, and heartrending performance.
Cheadle also co-wrote the book Not On Our Watch: The Mission to End Genocide in Darfur and Beyond. The actor and activist is also a leading member of Not On Our Watch, an organization that focuses global attention and resources to stop and prevent mass atrocities as in Darfur.
Upcoming roles include the lead role in Toussaint, directed by accomplished actor Danny Glover.