Chiwetel Ejiofor was born and raised in Forest Gate, London, England. His father was a doctor, his mother a pharmacist, both of them Nigerian emigrants. When Chiwetel was 11 his father was killed in a car accident while visiting Nigeria. Chiwetel was in the car with his father and still has a noticable scar on his forehead from the accident.
At age 13, Chiwetel became interested in acting upon studying Henry IV at school. At that time he auditioned at an open casting call for Shakespeare's Measure for Measure put on by the National Youth Theater. He won the role of Angelo and has been in several Shakespearean plays since, including National Theater's Romeo and Juliet and Othello.
In 2001, Chiwetel received rave reviews and several awards for his performance as a schizophrenic patient in Blue/Orange. The awards include the Laurence Olivier Theatre Award for Best Supporting Actor and London Critics Circle Theatre Award for Most Promising Newcomer.
2003 brought Chiwetel's breakthrough role, as Okwe the Nigerian illegal immigrant, in Stephen Frears's Dirty Pretty Things. That role earned him the British Independent Spirit Award for Best Performance by an Actor. It also earned him parts in movies with famous American directors like Woody Allen (Melinda and Melinda), Spike Lee (She Hate Me, Inside Man) and John Singleton (Four Brothers).
Chiwetel has the ability to bring an intense but wonderful performance with every turn. That, combined with the different types of roles he's taking on, including a detective in Inside Man, a transvestite in Kinky Boots, and a dangerous government agent in Joss Whedon's Serenity, Chiwetel seems to have a long-lasting career ahead of him. … Expand
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