Don Cheadle - Rotten Tomatoes

Don Cheadle





An acclaimed character actor of the stage, screen, and television, Don Cheadle often manages to steal most of the scenes in which he appears. That is no small feat, for the slender African-American actor has, at first glance, a rather unassuming physical presence, particularly when compared to some of his big-name co-stars. An actor whose style compliments rather than overshadows the performances of those around him, Cheadle stands out for his rare ability to bring a laid-back intensity and subtle charisma to his roles.



A native of Kansas City, MO, Cheadle was born on November 29, 1964, to a psychologist father and bank manager mother. During his early childhood, his family moved to Denver and then Nebraska. One thing that remained a constant in Cheadle's childhood was his interest in performing, which began around the age of five. In addition to acting, he was interested in jazz music and his parents supported both of these endeavors. By the time he graduated from high school, he had scholarships from both music and acting schools; choosing the latter, he attended the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia. Following graduation, Cheadle made his film debut with a small role as a hamburger server in Moving Violations (1985). He honed his acting skills as a guest star on television series ranging from Hill Street Blues to Night Court, and, in 1992, he landed a regular role as a fussy hotel manager on The Golden Palace. Although the show faltered after only one season, Cheadle landed on his feet, subsequently snagging the plum role of earnest district attorney John Littleton on Picket Fences (1993-1995).

While he was building a career on television, Cheadle was also earning a reputation in feature films. He first made an impression on audiences with his lead role in Hamburger Hill (1987), and, in 1994, he had his true screen breakthrough portraying Denzel Washington's best friend in Devil in a Blue Dress. So good was his performance -- which earned him a number of film critics awards -- that many felt an Oscar nomination was inevitable; when the Academy passed him over, many, including Cheadle, wondered why. However, the actor chalked it up to politics and got on with his career, working steadily throughout the remainder of the decade. 1997 proved to be a big year for him: he co-starred in three major films, Volcano, Boogie Nights, and John Singleton's Rosewood. He won particular praise for his work in the latter two films, earning nominations for SAG and Image awards.



The following year, Cheadle made a triumphant return to television with his portrayal of Sammy Davis Jr. in The Rat Pack, winning an Emmy nomination and a Golden Globe award. Also in 1998, he did stellar work in Steven Soderbergh's Out of Sight and Warren Beatty's Bulworth, playing a down and dirty ex-con in the former and a drug lord in the latter. Another Emmy nomination followed in 1999, for Cheadle's powerful portrayal of a school teacher sent in to counsel a young man on death row, in A Lesson Before Dying. Cheadle would become something of a fixture in Soderbergh's films, and in fact delivered a stunning performance as a federal drug agent in the director's epic muckraking drama Traffic (2000).

Cheadle then turned up in Soderbergh's remake of the Rat Pack classic Ocean's Eleven in 2002.



The chasm between Traffic and Ocean's Eleven (not in terms of quality but in terms of intended audience and depth) is instructive; it established a definitive career pattern for Cheadle during the mid-late 2000s. Throughout that period, the gifted actor continually projected versatility by alternating between buttered-popcorn pictures - such as Soderbergh's 2004 and 2007 follow ups to Eleven (Ocean's Twelve and Ocean's Thirteen) - and more complex, demanding, intelligent material. For example, in 2004 (a particularly vital year for Cheadle) the actor delivered a four-barrelled lead portrayal in the heart-wren

Photos

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT YEAR
76% Kevin Hart: What Now?
  • Himself
2016
90% Captain America: Civil War
  • James Rhodes/War Machine
2016
73% Miles Ahead
  • Director
  • Screenwriter
  • Producer
  • Miles Davis
2016
75% Avengers: Age of Ultron
  • Colonel James Rhodes/War Machine
2015
78% St. Vincent
  • Executive Producer
2014
79% Iron Man 3
  • Colonel James Rhodes
2013
31% A Man's Story
  • Actor
2012
78% Flight
  • Hugh Lang
2012
No Score Yet La Source
  • Narrator
2012
No Score Yet I Ain't Scared Of You: A Tribute To Bernie Mac
  • Actor
2012
94% The Guard
  • Executive Producer
  • Wendell Everett
2011
72% Iron Man 2
  • Colonel James 'Rhodey' Rhodes
2010
43% Brooklyn's Finest
  • Tango
2010
45% Hotel for Dogs
  • Bernie
2009
No Score Yet The People Speak
  • Actor
2009
64% Traitor
  • Samir Horn
  • Producer
2008
73% Darfur Now
  • Actor
  • Producer
2007
82% Talk to Me
  • Ralph Waldo "Petey" Green
2007
70% Ocean's Thirteen
  • Basher Tarr/Fender Roads
2007
64% Reign Over Me
  • Alan Johnson
2007
No Score Yet African American Lives 2
  • Actor
2007
No Score Yet African American Lives
  • Actor
2006
No Score Yet Shelter From The Storm
  • Actor
2005
No Score Yet America Beyond the Color Line
  • Actor
2004
68% The Assassination of Richard Nixon
  • Bonny Simmons
2004
90% Hotel Rwanda
  • Paul Rusesabagina
2004
56% Ocean's Twelve
  • Basher Tarr
2004
18% After the Sunset
  • Kingpin
2004
75% Crash
  • Det. Graham Waters
2004
34% The United States of Leland
  • Pearl Madison
2004
No Score Yet Independent Lens
  • Actor
2004
No Score Yet Tishomingo Blues
  • Actor
  • Director
2004
67% Manic
  • Dr. David Monroe
2003
No Score Yet Ticker
  • Actor
2002
No Score Yet Independent Lens
  • Actor
2002
No Score Yet Unchained Memories: Slave Narratives
  • Actor
2002
No Score Yet Unchained Memories: Readings from the Slave Narratives
  • Actor
2002
82% Ocean's Eleven
  • Basher
2001
52% Rush Hour 2
  • Kenny (uncredited)
2001
26% Swordfish
  • J.T. Roberts
2001
100% Things Behind the Sun
  • Chuck
2001
No Score Yet Sumo East and West
  • Actor
2001
92% Traffic
  • Montel
2000
53% The Family Man
  • Cash
2000
100% Fail Safe
  • Pierce
2000
25% Mission to Mars
  • Luke Graham
2000
No Score Yet A Lesson Before Dying
  • Grant Wiggins
1999
67% The Rat Pack
  • Sammy Davis Jr.
1998
93% Out of Sight
  • Maurice Miller
1998
75% Bulworth
  • L.D.
1998
92% Boogie Nights
  • Buck Swope
1997
44% Volcano
  • Emmit Reese
1997
85% Rosewood
  • Sylvester Carrier
1997
No Score Yet Rebound: The Legend of Earl the Goat Manigault
  • Earl Manigault
1996
33% Things to Do in Denver...When You're Dead
  • Rooster
1995
87% Devil in a Blue Dress
  • Mouse
1995
No Score Yet Lush Life
  • Jack
1994
29% The Meteor Man
  • Goldilocks
1993
83% Roadside Prophets
  • Happy Days Manager
1992
82% Colors
  • Rocket
1988
100% Hamburger Hill
  • Washburn
1987
No Score Yet Moving Violations
  • Juicy Burgers Worker
1985

TV

RATING TITLE CREDIT
No Score Yet Real Time With Bill Maher
2003
  • Guest
No Score Yet Funny Or Die Presents
2010-2011
  • Appearing
No Score Yet The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson
2005-2014
  • Guest
No Score Yet CBS This Morning
2012
  • Guest
No Score Yet Colbert Report
2005-2014
  • Guest
No Score Yet Jimmy Kimmel Live
2003
  • Appearing
  • Guest
No Score Yet The Tonight Show With Jay Leno
2014
  • Guest
No Score Yet The View
1997
  • Guest
No Score Yet Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell
2012-2013
  • Guest
No Score Yet Late Night With Jimmy Fallon
2009-2014
  • Guest
No Score Yet Late Night With Seth Meyers
2014
  • Guest
No Score Yet Charlie Rose
2013
  • Guest
No Score Yet House of Lies
2012-2016
  • Marty Kaan
  • Director
  • Producer
  • Executive Producer
No Score Yet Conan
2010
  • Guest
No Score Yet Late Show With David Letterman
1993-2015
  • Guest
No Score Yet The Simpsons
1989
  • Voice
No Score Yet Independent Lens
1999
  • Voice
  • Host (Season 2)
  • Appearing
  • Host
No Score Yet Hollywood Game Night
2013
  • Appearing
7% Crash
2008-2009
  • Producer
No Score Yet The Late Late Show With James Corden
2015
  • Guest
No Score Yet The Daily Show With Jon Stewart
2015
  • Guest
27% Chelsea
2016
  • Guest
91% The Late Show With Stephen Colbert
2015
  • Guest
No Score Yet The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon
2014
  • Guest
  • Performer
100% The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore
2015-2016
  • Panelist

Quotes from Don Cheadle's Characters