Younger fans may best recognize Jeffrey Wright from his role as Bernard Lowe on Westworld. However, he has appeared in dozens of major roles over the years. His career spans much further and includes a Tony, an Emmy, and a Golden Globe. For decades, Wright has been known for the soft but serious presence he brings to all of his roles. The longevity of his career has shown that he can appeal to people of all ages. He has played characters that range from Martin Luther Kung Jr. to the fictional Valentin Narcisse on Boardwalk. Keep reading for 10 things you didn’t know about Jefrey Wright.
1. He Dropped Out Of NYU
Jeffrey Wright earned a scholarship to New York University’s film school. Most would consider this the chance of a lifetime, but Jeffrey knew it wasn’t the best fit for him. He dropped out of school after two months to begin acting.
2. He Has Chosen To Take Smaller Roles To Spend More Time At Home
Since the birth of his children, Jeffrey has preferred to take smaller roles so he can spend more time at home with his two children Elijah and TK. Wright was also married to actress, Carmen Ejogo from 2000 to 2014.
3. He Doesn’t Consider Himself A Black Man In Hollywood
Jeffrey Wright doesn’t consider himself a black man in Hollywood, however, not for the reasons you may think. Wright’s reason is very straightforward: he doesn’t live in Hollywood. Unlike most actors, Wright has resisted making the move to Los Angeles and says he probably never will.
4. He Calls Basquiat His Kindred Spirit
In 1996, Jeffrey Wright played the well artist painter, Jean-Michel Basquiat who passed away in 1998. Wright looks back on this role with fond memories and says he feels a special connection to Basquiat. In an interview with the Huffington Post, Wright said, “I consider Basquiat a kindred spirit, which is part of the reason I wanted to share some part of his story with a larger audience … even though Jay-Z likes to say that he is the new Jean-Michel, we were telling that story 20 years ago. But I’m glad that he and folks who might not otherwise have taken a look at his work are now doing it.”
5. He Played Lacrosse In College
Wright completed his undergraduate educatio at Amherst College where he was a member of the lacrosse team. He was also being recruited to play football at Amherst but decided not to because his schedule was already full.
6. He Used To Work In A Locker Room
When he was about 14 or 15 years old, Jeffrey Wright got his first job. While most people his age were running paper routes or mowing lawns, Jeffrey was working in a locker room at a local pool in Southeast D.C. His job consisted of placing swimmers’ clothes in lockers while they want to the pool. Even though it wasn’t the most glamorous job, it’s one that Jeffrey will never forget.
7. His First Acting Job Was At Children’s Theater
Right after graduating from Amherst, Wright went back home and was able to land an acting job working for a children’s theater in D.C. Wright says the job taught him one of the most valuable lessons of his career: “Children cannot be fooled. If you do not compel them, if they are not entertained, they will leave the room. Perhaps they won’t leave in body, but they will certainly leave in mind and spirit–and maybe in body.”
8. He Lives In Brooklyn
Jeffrey Wright has lived in Brooklyn since the 80s and says he wouldn’t have it any other way. He originally lived in Fort Greene but moved to another section of the borough once he started a family. He loves his Brooklyn and says he would much rather raise his children there than in a place like Los Angeles.
9. Westworld Has Made Him Wary Of Technology
Being a cast member on Westworld has changed Jeffrey Wright’s relationship with technology. He told Parade, “I definitely am wary of having devices open and listening and recording conversations and interactions in our house. It’s clearly a portal for mischief. The show has deepened my sense of caution around these things.”
10. He Loves Stage Work
Jeffrey spent much of his early acting career working in theater. Although stage work can be more challenging than films and TV, Wright says that he prefers. theater work. He adds that being on stage is very satisfying and allows for more control.
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