Nelsan Ellis

Actor, Director

1977-2017. Harvey, Illinois, United States

  • Spent part of his childhood in Bessemer, AL, before returning to his native Illinois for high school.
  • Credited two high school teachers---Tim Sweeney and Bill Kirksey---with steering him toward the performing arts. Got hooked on acting as a freshman after Sweeney cast him as Junie in a production of George C. Wolfe's play The Colored Museum.
  • Wrote UGLy, a play about domestic violence, after his sister Alice was murdered by her husband. The play won the Lincoln Center's Martin E. Segal Award.