Before his lead role in Black Panther, Chadwick Boseman — who died of colon cancer at the age of 43 — graduated from Howard University, wrote plays, acted and directed in theatre and had small roles in television.
Boseman was seen as a rising star after his lead roles in two biopics, both of black American icons: Jackie Robinson and James Brown.
The actor was acclaimed for his performance in the 2013 film 42 as Robinson, the first African American to play major league baseball in the modern era.
And coincidentally, Boseman died on the day Major League Baseball was celebrating Robinson.
Even at the outset of his Hollywood career, Boseman was clear eyed about — and even sceptical of — the industry in which he would become an international star.
Boseman first got into theatre, acting and writing plays as an undergrad at Howard. He graduated from the university with a BFA in directing in 2000.
He visited Africa for the first time during college with director and theatre professor Mike Malone, working in Ghana to preserve and celebrate rituals with performances on a proscenium stage.
Actor Denzel Washington funded a scholarship for Boseman to attend an acting program at England’s Oxford University.
In a statement after Boseman’s death, Washington said: “He was a gentle soul and a brilliant artist, who will stay with us for eternity through his iconic performances.”