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Don Cheadle

Don Cheadle

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Background:

Born on November 29, 1964 in Kansas City, Missouri, Don Cheadle is one of America's finest actors. He received an Academy Award nomination for for Best Actor for his portrayal of Paul Rusesabagina in Hotel Rwanda.

Spirit of Independence Award:

The Los Angeles Film Festival announced that Don Cheadle will receive the 2008 Spirit of Independence Award for "his outstanding work and contributions to the film industry." "Don Cheadle has created extraordinary work in his career as an actor and producer," said Dawn Hudson, Executive Director of Film Independent. "This honorary award is a gesture of our appreciation for his diligence and determination to produce consistently brilliant work for the film world." Previous recipients of the award include George Clooney, Charlize Theron and Clint Eastwood.

The Career:

Don Cheadle received his first Oscar nomination in 2004, but the talented actor had been working steady for a long, long time before then, with roles in more than two dozen films.

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.

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