Born on December 7, 1964 in Washington D.C., Jeffrey Wright is an African-American, Hispanic-American, and Dominican-American award-winning film and stage actor. He attended St. Alban’s School and graduated with a degree in political science at Amherst College. He planned on going to law school but decided to study acting, receiving a scholarship for it at the New York University. He dropped out after two months and became a full time actor.
Jeffrey Wright’s first major film was as the prosecuting attorney in Presumed Innocent, a film also starring Harrison Ford. With an appearance in the TV movie Separate But Equal in 1991, he joined John Houseman’s national touring repertory company The Acting Company. He continued his stage performances and was cast in the award-winning play Angels in America in 1994. He portrayed the Norman ‘Belize’ Arriaga and won him the Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play. Two years later, he broke into the big screen playing the painter Jean-Michael Basquiat in biographic drama Basquiat. His performance was critically acclaimed, even while playing alongside Gary Oldman, Willem Dafoe and David Bowie. In 1997, he appeared on three episodes of Homicide: Life on the Street. Another television appearance of his was on The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles. He was then applauded for another supporting role in Woody Allen’s Celebrity, as well as appearing in Shaft in 2000 and Boycott in 2001.In the latter, he played Martin Luther King, Jr. and was awarded the AFI Award.
In 2003, Jeffrey Wright reprised his role as Norman ‘Belize’ Arriaga in HBO’s award-winning adaptation of the play he previously was in, Angels in America. His performance garnered him an Emmy award and a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Miniseries. He also appeared in 2004’s The Manchurian Candidate opposite Denzel Washington and Meryl Streep, an actress also in Angels of America. He was in another HBO film, Lackawanna Blues. Wright was also recognized for his role as Bennett Holiday in 2005’s Syriana. That year, he also played Winston in Jim Jarmusch’s existential movie Broken Flowers. He can also be seen in Lady in the Water, and has played Felix Leiter in the James Bond movie, Casino Royale.