|Nelsan Ellis Quick Info
|5 ft 9¼ in
|Date of Birth
|November 30, 1977
Nelsan Ellis was an award-winning American actor and playwright who was best known for being cast as Carter Howard in The Inside (2005-2006), Lafayette Reynolds in True Blood (2008–2014), and Shinwell Johnson in Elementary (2016-2017). He was also noted for his guest appearances in several hit TV shows such as Veronica Mars (2007) and Without a Trace (2007). Nelsan had also starred in many notable films like The Butler (2013), Get on Up (2014), and The Stanford Prison Experiment (2015). He had also received many awards for his distinguished acting ability. Nelsan also has a huge fan base with more than 44k followers on Instagram.
Nelsan was born on November 30, 1977.
Nelsan Ellis died on July 8, 2017, aged 39, in Woodhull Medical Center, Brooklyn, New York, the United States due to complications from alcohol withdrawal.
Harvey, Illinois, United States
Nelsan studied at Jess Lanier High School in Bessemer, Alabama, before transferring to McAdory High School after studying there for just a year. After that, he moved to Illinois, where he completed his schooling from Thornridge High School, Dolton in 1997.
Later, he joined the Illinois State University. Nelsan also attended Oxford University in Oxford, England and the Columbia College in Chicago. Then, he started studying at The Juilliard School in the year 2000, and in 2004, he graduated with a degree in Bachelor of Fine Arts.
- Father – Tommie Lee Thompson
- Mother – Jackie Ellis
- Siblings – Lakeeia Thompson (Sister), Babon Ellis (Brother), Maurice Turne (Brother), Tianna Thompson (Sister), Shaentika Beard (Sister), Yvonne Ellis (Sister), Alice Ellis (Sister)
- Others – Tartheaia Thompson (Aunt), Alex Brown (Grandmother)
Ellis is represented by ICM Partners, Brookside Artist Management, and Emily Gerson Saines.
5 ft 9¼ in or 176 cm
71 kg or 156.5 lbs
Girlfriend / Spouse
Ellis has dated –
- Nelsan had never spoken much about his personal life in public. However, he had a son named Breon Ellis and a daughter who was born sometime before his death in 2017. Nelsan was very proud of his son and did not spare a single happy moment of taking pictures of him and uploading it to his Instagram profile for his fans to see.
Race / Ethnicity
Ellis is of African American descent.
- Nubian nose
- Thin, but long eyebrows
- He would wear a pair of earrings
Best Known For
- His important portrayal of the character Carter Howard in The Inside (2005-2006), Lafayette Reynolds in True Blood (2008–2014), and Shinwell Johnson in Elementary (2016-2017)
- Making a guest appearance as Apollo Bukenya in Veronica Mars in 2007 and Deng Nimieri in Without A Trace in 2007
- Winning several awards such as the Satellite Award in 2009 for his contribution to the TV show True Blood and the Gold Derby Award in 2012 for his involvement in the romantic drama film The Help (2011)
- Being nominated for several awards such as a Scream Award in 2009 and a Black Reel Award in 2015
Nelsan made his debut theatrical film appearance as Will Davis, Jr. in The Express in 2008.
First TV Show
Ellis made his first TV show appearance as Carter Howard in The Inside in 2005.
Nelsan never spoke much about his workout regime. However, in parts of True Blood where he is shirtless, it can be seen that Nelsan was quite muscular and also had well-developed abdominal muscles.
Nelsan Ellis Facts
- His parents legally parted ways when he and his siblings were still young. Later, he started staying with his mother, Jackie. However, she went into a state of shock after hearing about the death of her brother.
- After his mother lost the ability to take care of her children due to the shock that she had gone through, he and his siblings were listed as ‘wards of the state’ until, their grandmother took them in and brought them in Bessemer, Alabama.
- Ellis started his profound career in acting during early 2000.
- He stayed in Alabama until the age of 15, and then returned to his native town Illinois.
- At the age of 17, Ellis had joined the United States Marines. However, he discontinued his service and started attending college.
- Nelsan developed an interest in acting after his teachers Tim Sweeney and Bill Kirksey saw a great deal of talent in him and showed him the way.
- In 2002, Nelsan wrote a play titled Ugly, which was an attribute to the murder of his sister Alice. She was pregnant at the time when she was shot by her husband at point-blank range with a sawed-off shotgun. The death of his sister was witnessed by Nelsan’s at that time 6-year-old nephew. His play Ugly won the Lincoln Center’s Martin E. Segal Award.
- Nelsan’s persona of the gay character named Lafayette Reynolds in True Blood was so realistic, that fans began to think of him as a gay man off-screen as well.
- While studying at The Juilliard School, his True Blood co-star Rutina Wesley, was a year behind.
- The last film he starred in was True to the Game (2017). The movie was released posthumously.
- Ellis had a relentless addiction to drugs and alcohol for a very long time. However, he did not die without trying, and towards the end of his days, Nelsan did give up the abuse of alcohol which caused severe complications that led him to be hospitalized. Despite best efforts by the medical staff at the Woodhull Medical Center, he passed away on July 8, 2017.
- Nelsan was a massive supporter of the ‘LGBTQ’ community people and ‘The National Black Theatre: Institute for Action Arts’.
- Follow him on Instagram.
Featured Image by Nelsan Ellis / Instagram