Chadwick Boseman's Iconic Career Brought History to Life: A Look Back at the Actor's Filmography

Chadwick Boseman died on Aug. 28, 2020, at age 43 after a private, four-year battle with colon cancer. Look back at the actor's impressive career

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Chadwick Boseman
Matt McClain for The Washington Post via Getty Images

From 2016, when he was diagnosed with colon cancer, until his death in August 2020, actor Chadwick Boseman worked on a stunning number of films.

"A true fighter, Chadwick persevered through it all, and brought you many of the films you have come to love so much. From Marshall to Da 5 Bloods, August Wilson's Ma Rainey's Black Bottom and several more, all were filmed during and between countless surgeries and chemotherapy," his family said in a statement following his death. "It was the honor of his career to bring King T'Challa to life in Black Panther."⁣

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42 (2013)

Chadwick Boseman as Jackie Robinson in 42. Warner Bros. Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection

Boseman portrayed Jackie Robinson in 42, telling the story of how the athlete, with his extraordinary talent and courage in the face of racism, became the first Black player in modern Major League Baseball.

On Aug. 28, 2020, Boseman's death was announced by Joe Davis and Orel Hershiser during the Los Angeles Dodgers game in which all players were wearing the number 42 in honor of Robinson. Robinson played for the Dodgers during his groundbreaking career.

Though the day is traditionally honored on April 15, the postponement of the Major League Baseball season due to the COVID-19 pandemic pushed Jackie Robinson Day to Aug. 28.

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Get On Up (2014)

Get On Up
Chadwick Boseman in Get on Up. Universal Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

In another notable historical biopic, Boseman portrayed James Brown, telling the story of the singer's rise to fame.

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Draft Day (2014)

Draft Day
Chadwick Boseman. Summit Entertainment/Courtesy Everett Collection

Starring opposite Kevin Costner, Boseman played Vontae Mack, a football player hoping to get drafted by the Cleveland Browns.

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Gods of Egypt (2016)

Gods of Egypt
Chadwick Boseman. Lionsgate /Courtesy Everett Collection

Boseman played Thoth in the fantasy action film based on ancient Egyptian deities.

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Captain America: Civil War (2016)

Captain America: Civil War
Chadwick Boseman. Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

Boseman first appeared in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Black Panther in the Chris Evans-helmed movie, giving fans an introduction to the king of Wakanda.

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Message From the King (2016)

Message From the King
Chadwick Boseman. Netflix/Courtesy Everett Collection

In the thriller, Boseman played Jacob King, who traveled from South Africa to Los Angeles to avenge his sister's death.

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Marshall (2017)

Open Road Films/Courtesy Everett Collection

Adding to his résumé of portraying historical figures, Boseman played Thurgood Marshall, the lawyer who went on to become the first-ever Black Supreme Court Justice.

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Black Panther (2018)

Chadwick Boseman. Matt Kennedy/©Marvel Studios 2018

Boseman's career skyrocketed after his role as T'Challa/Black Panther, the first superhero of African descent to lead a Marvel film.

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Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

Chuck Zlotnick/©Marvel Studios 2018

Boseman reprised his role as T'Challa and Black Panther for the sequel to Avengers: Age of Ultron.

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Avengers: Endgame (2019)

Chadwick Boseman. Marvel

Boseman portrayed his superhero role for the final time in the last Avengers installment, in which The Black Panther reteams with the stars of the MCU to defeat Thanos. Marvel has said they will not recast Boseman's role in the upcoming Black Panther II.

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21 Bridges (2019)

21 Bridges
Chadwick Boseman. Matt Kennedy/STXfilms

In the action thriller, Boseman played Andre Davis, an embattled NYPD detective who shuts down the 21 bridges of Manhattan amid a citywide manhunt to find two suspected cop killers.

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Da 5 Bloods (2020)

da five bloods
Norm Lewis, Clarke Peters, Delroy Lindo as EDDIE, CLARKE PETERS as OTIS, DELROY LINDO as PAUL, JONATHAN MAJORS. David Lee/Netflix

Boseman played Stormin' Norman in the Spike Lee-directed Netflix film, which told the story of four Black veterans, Paul (Delroy Lindo), Otis (Clarke Peters), Eddie (Norm Lewis) and Melvin (Isiah Whitlock, Jr.), who returned to Vietnam decades after the war to search for the remains of Norman, who was their late squad leader.

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Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (2020)

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom Chadwick Boseman
Chadwick Boseman in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom. David Lee/Netflix

One of Boseman's final roles earned him Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Awards, in addition to an Oscar nomination. In the film, which starred Viola Davis, he played troubled trumpet player Levee, and even learned to play the instrument for the film.

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