Arts and Entertainment
Nelsan Ellis dies aged 39
Actor Nelsan Ellis, famous for his role as Lafayette Reynolds on HBO’s “True Blood”, is dead. He was 39.
The actor died on Saturday after complications from heart failure, reports variety.com.
“We were extremely saddened to hear of the passing of Nelsan Ellis. Nelsan was a long-time member of the HBO family whose groundbreaking portrayal of Lafayette will be remembered fondly within the overall legacy of ‘True Blood’. Nelsan will be dearly missed by his fans and all of us at HBO,” a statement issued on behalf of HBO read. Ellis’s “The Help” co-star Octavia Spencer broke the news on Instagram on Saturday morning, saying: “Just got word that we lost (Nelsan). My heart breaks for his kids and family.”
Born in Harvey, Illinois, in 1977, he and his siblings moved to Alabama to live with their aunt before Ellis decided to move back to Chicago at age 15. At 17, he joined the Marines, but quit shortly after. After studying at the Illinois State University, Ellis went on to get his B.F.A. from Juilliard, where he just so happened to be a class above his eventual “True Blood” costar, Rutina Wesley.
After a single season on Fox’s “The Inside” opposite Rachel Nichols and Adam Baldwin and an episode of “Veronica Mars,” Ellis was then cast in the role that would define his career — gay short order cook Lafayette Reynolds.
Ellis is survived by his grandmother, his father and his son, Breon, as well as seven siblings.