Nelsan Ellis was an American film and television actor who became well known for his role in the HBO series True Blood as Lafayette Reynolds.
He was one of my favorite characters from True Blood, and it’s a shame he died at such a young age.
Here are 20 facts about Nelsan Ellis.
He died on July 8, 2017, in Los Angeles due to heart failure. He was only 39 years old.
Nelsan Ellis was born in Harvey, Illinois, United States.
He stood at 5′ 10″ tall (1.78m).
He was a Christian.
At age 6, he moved to Bessemer, Alabama with his mother.
During this time, Nelsan’s sister, who was pregnant, was murdered by her husband when he shot her point-blank with a sawed-off shotgun. This happened in-front of Nelsan’s six-year-old nephew.
At age 15, Nelsan moved to Dolton, Illinois to attend Thornridge High School.
He graduated from Thornridge High School in 1997.
At the age of 17, he joined the United States Marines, although quit shortly after.
When Ellis was 21, he was accepted for enrollment at the Juilliard School’s Drama Division, where he first met Rutina Wesley, also known as Tara Thornton from True Blood.
In 2004, Ellis earned a B.F.A. (Bachelor of Fine Arts) degree from Juilliard.
Ellis won a 2008 Satellite Award from the International Press Academy for best supporting actor in a television series for his role as Lafayette Reynolds in HBO’s True Blood.
In 2008, he won a Satellite Award for the best actor for a supporting role in the television series True Blood.
In 2011 and 2012, he was nominated for an Image Award for ‘Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for True Blood.
He appeared as a waiter called Henry in a film called The Help (2011).
In the True Blood novels, Lafayette Reynolds isn’t an important character, however director Alan Ball worked with Ellis to make the TV version of Lafayette come to life more with important, complex story lines.
Nelsan said he did not like Lafayette in the books, however he loved Lafayette’s script for the pilot episode.
He supported gay marriage.
Nelsan used to get annoyed when people in the industry assume he is gay because of his role in True Blood.