Elba in February 2018
Idrissa Akuna Elba
6 September 1972
Hackney, London, England
|Occupation||Actor, producer, director, musician, DJ, rapper|
(m. 1999; div. 2003)
Sonya Nicole Hamlin
(m. 2006; div. 2006)
Idrissa Akuna "Idris" Elba OBE (//; born 6 September 1972) is an English actor, producer, director, musician, DJ, and rapper. He is best known for playing drug trafficker Stringer Bell on the HBO series The Wire, DCI John Luther on the BBC One series Luther and Nelson Mandela in the biographical film Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (2013). He has been nominated four times for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film, winning one and was nominated five times for a Primetime Emmy Award.
Elba appeared in Ridley Scott's American Gangster (2007) and Prometheus (2012). Elba portrays Heimdall in Thor (2011) and its sequels Thor: The Dark World (2013) and Thor: Ragnarok (2017), as well as Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) and Avengers: Infinity War (2018). He also starred in Pacific Rim (2013), Beasts of No Nation (2015), for which he received BAFTA, and Golden Globe nominations for Best Supporting Actor and Molly's Game (2017). In 2016, he voiced Chief Bogo in Zootopia, Shere Khan in the live action/CGI adaptation of The Jungle Book, Fluke in Finding Dory and played the role of Krall in Star Trek Beyond. He made his directorial debut in 2018 with an adaptation of the 1992 novel Yardie by Victor Headley.
In addition to his acting work, Elba performs as a DJ under the moniker DJ Big Driis (or Big Driis the Londoner) and as an R&B musician. In 2016, he was named in the Time 100 list of the Most Influential People in the World.
Idrissa Akuna Elba was born on 6 September 1972 at Forestgate Hospital in Hackney, London, the son of Winston, a Sierra Leonean man who worked at Ford Dagenham, and Eve, a Ghanaian woman. Elba's parents were married in Sierra Leone and later moved to London. His paternal grandfather, Moses, was a sailor and policeman. Elba was brought up in Hackney and East Ham, and shortened his first name to "Idris" at school in Canning Town, where he first became involved in acting. He credits The Stage with giving him his first big break, having seen an advertisement for a play in it; he auditioned and met his first agent while performing in the role. In 1986, he began helping an uncle with his wedding DJ business; within a year, he had started his own DJ company with some of his friends. Elba left school in 1988, and won a place in the National Youth Music Theatre thanks to a £1,500 Prince's Trust grant. To support himself between roles in his early career, he worked in jobs such as tyre-fitting, cold-calling, and night shifts at Ford Dagenham. He was working in nightclubs under the DJ nickname "Big Driis" during his teens, but began auditioning for television roles in his early twenties.
Elba's first acting role was in Crimewatch murder reconstructions and in 1994 he appeared in a BBC children's drama called The Boot Street Band. In 1995, he landed his first significant role on a series called Bramwell, a medical drama set in 1890s England. He played a central character in an episode of Season 1, an African petty thief named Charlie Carter, who lost his (white) wife to childbirth and had to figure out how to support his newborn daughter. His first named role arrived earlier in 1995, when he was cast as a gigolo on the "Sex" episode of Absolutely Fabulous. Many supporting roles on British television followed, including series such as The Bill and The Ruth Rendell Mysteries. He joined the cast of the soap opera Family Affairs and went on to appear on the television serial Ultraviolet and later on Dangerfield. He decided to move to New York City soon after. He returned to England occasionally for a television role, such as a part in one of the Inspector Lynley Mysteries. In 2001, Elba played Achilles in a stage production of Troilus and Cressida in New York City.
After a supporting turn on a 2001 episode of Law & Order, Elba landed a starring role on the 2002 HBO drama series The Wire. From 2002 to 2004, Elba portrayed Russell "Stringer" Bell in the series, perhaps his best-known role in the United States. In 2005, he portrayed Captain Augustin Muganza in Sometimes in April, an HBO film about the Rwandan Genocide. Elba appeared on the 2007 BET special Black Men: The Truth. He appeared as Charlie Gotso on The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, filmed in Botswana. The series premiered on 23 March 2008, Easter Sunday, on BBC One, receiving a high 6.3 million viewers and 27% of the audience share.
In January 2009, it was reported by Variety that Elba would portray Charles Miner, a new rival to Dunder Mifflin regional manager Michael Scott (Steve Carell) for NBC's The Office. Elba appeared in a six-episode story arc later in the 2009 season as well as the season finale. In September 2009, he signed a deal to star as the lead role on the six-part BBC television series Luther, which aired in May 2010. He appeared on Showtime's The Big C in 2010. At the 69th Golden Globe Awards telecast on 15 January 2012, Elba won the Award for Best Actor in a Series, Mini-Series, or Motion Picture Made for Television for his role on the BBC crime thriller series Luther.
In 2007, Elba signed on as the lead role of the film Daddy's Little Girls, playing Monty, a blue-collar mechanic who falls in love with an attorney helping him gain custody of his kids, and finds the relationship and his custody hopes threatened by the return of his former wife. He appeared in 28 Weeks Later (2007) and This Christmas (2007), which brought in nearly $50 million at the box office in 2007. In 2008, he starred in the horror film Prom Night and the criminal comedy RocknRolla. In 2009, he starred in the horror film The Unborn and in Obsessed, a thriller that had him cast opposite Beyoncé. The latter was a box office success, taking $29 million in its opening weekend.
Elba's next film was Legacy (2010), in which he portrayed a black ops soldier who returns to Brooklyn after a failed mission in Eastern Europe, where he has undertaken a journey looking for retribution. He starred in Dark Castle's adaptation of DC/Vertigo's The Losers, under the direction of Sylvain White, in the role of Roque, the second-in-command of a black-ops team out for revenge against a government that did them wrong. Filming took place in Puerto Rico and the movie was released in April 2010. Elba appeared in the thriller Takers (2010). He played Heimdall in Kenneth Branagh's film Thor (2011) (based on the Marvel Comics superhero of the same name).
In August 2010, Elba signed up to portray the title character in a reboot of James Patterson's Alex Cross film franchise. However, in February 2011, he was replaced by Tyler Perry. In Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2011), the sequel to Ghost Rider (2007), Elba played an alcoholic warrior monk tasked with finding the title character. In February 2012, Elba confirmed that he would portray Nelson Mandela in the film Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, which is based on his autobiography. As part of his preparation for the role, Elba spent a night locked in a cell alone on Robben Island, where Mandela had been imprisoned. His performance earned him a nomination for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama.
In June 2012, Elba portrayed Captain Janek in Ridley Scott's Prometheus. He joined the cast of the film Pacific Rim (2013) in the role of Stacker Pentecost. In January 2014, he confirmed that he would be starring in a film adaptation of Luther. In 2014, he starred in No Good Deed as a vengeful psychopathic serial killer.
In 2015, Elba appeared as Heimdall in the superhero blockbuster Avengers: Age of Ultron, directed by Joss Whedon. Elba also starred alongside Abraham Attah in the film Beasts of No Nation which premiered in select theaters and on Netflix. He earned a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in any Motion Picture as well as a BAFTA Award nomination for Supporting Actor in the Film category. In 2016, he had several voice roles: the cape buffalo chief of police, Chief Bogo, in Disney's Zootopia, alongside Ginnifer Goodwin and Jason Bateman; villainous tiger Shere Khan in The Jungle Book (2016), a live-action remake of the animated 1967 film of the same name; and sea lion Fluke in Pixar's Finding Dory, alongside Ellen DeGeneres and Albert Brooks, both reprising their roles from Finding Nemo (2003). Also that year, he played the main antagonist, Krall, in the sequel Star Trek Beyond. In 2017, he played Roland Deschain in the Stephen King film adaptation The Dark Tower, and starred in Aaron Sorkin's directorial debut Molly's Game, alongside Jessica Chastain. In 2019, Elba will star as Macavity in Tom Hooper's film adaptation of the musical, Cats.
Elba has appeared in music videos for Fat Joe (2002), Angie Stone (2004) and rapper Giggs (2010). In 2006, he recorded the four-song EP Big Man for Hevlar Records. He co-produced and performed on the intro to Jay-Z's album American Gangster (2007). He DJed at the 2007 NBA All Star parties at The Venetian and Ice House Lounge in Las Vegas.
In July 2009, Elba was the DJ for BET's current series Rising Icons. Elba announced the release of his first single "Please Be True." In the August 2009 issue of Essence magazine, he announced the name of his six-song EP as Kings Among Kings. He released his EP High Class Problems Vol. 1 in the United Kingdom in February 2010, for which he has won many prizes including a Billboard Music Awards nomination.
In 2014, he produced K. Michelle's "The Rebellious Soul Musical" which debuted on VH1 on 19 August 2014. In May, Elba featured on Mr Hudson's single "Step Into the Shadows". Mr Hudson also produced his album Idris Elba Presents mi Mandela, which was released in November 2014. He also featured on the remix of Ghanaian music group, VVIP's single "selfie" together with Nigerian rapper Phyno released on 12 September 2014 and video released on YouTube on 11 April 2015.
Elba performed a rap for the second album by Noel Fielding and Sergio Pizzorno's band, the Loose Tapestries. Elba also rapped in a remix of Skepta's "Shutdown" which was uploaded on 1 June 2015 to SoundCloud. On 17 August, a song was released on which Elba appeared on Nigerian singer D'banj's single "Confidential", featuring Sierra Leonean rapper Shadow Boxer with the video uploaded to YouTube on 20 August. In November 2015, Elba opened for Madonna during her Rebel Heart Tour in Berlin, Germany. Elba is also featured on the Macklemore & Ryan Lewis album This Unruly Mess I've Made (2016).
In July 2018, he launched his record label, 7Wallace Music.
In October 2014, Elba presented the series Journey Dot Africa with Idris Elba on BBC Radio 2, exploring all types of African music. Elba has also featured in various television commercials for Sky box-sets in 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016. Elba has collaborated with the UK Parliament in their efforts to eradicate Ebola from West Africa, working alongside the UK Secretary of State for International Development Justine Greening in 2014. Elba has created a collaboration with British fashion label Superdry, which launched at the end of November 2015.
Elba hosted The Best FIFA Football Awards 2017 at the London Palladium on 23 October 2017. During the show he took a selfie of "the best team in the world" which included Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar.
Discovery Channel produced a documentary, Idris Elba: Fighter, chronicling Elba's 12-month kickboxing and mixed martial arts training under Muay Thai coach Kieran Keddle, culminating in Elba's first professional kickboxing fight–and win–against Lionel Graves, a younger, more experienced Dutch opponent, at London's York Hall.
Legend: Win Loss Draw/No contest Notes
Elba has been married twice: first to the Danish woman Hanne "Kim" Nørgaard (from 1999 to 2003) and then to Sonya Nicole Hamlin (for four months in 2006). He has two children: a daughter with Kim named Isan (born 2002), who resides with Nørgaard in Atlanta, Georgia, and a son named Winston (born 2014) with ex-girlfriend Naiyana Garth. Elba became engaged to Sabrina Dhowre on 10 February 2018, during a screening of his film Yardie at an East London cinema; the pair have been dating since early 2017.
The Prince's Trust, a UK youth charity which Elba credits with helping to start his career, appointed him its anti-crime ambassador in April 2009.
Awards and honours
In September 2018, he was one of 50 people named for "making London awesome" and helping to shape London's cultural landscape who were featured in Time Out to mark the magazine's 50th anniversary.
- 2015: Murdah Loves John (The John Luther Character Album)
- 2006: Big Man
- 2009: Kings Among Kings
- 2010: High Class Problems Vol. 1
- 2014: Idris Elba Presents Mi Mandela
- 2011: Merry DriisMas Holiday Mixtape
|Title||Year||Peak chart positions||Album|
(Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Idris Elba & Anderson .Paak)
|2016||—||7||This Unruly Mess I've Made|
(Wiley, Stefflon Don & Sean Paul featuring Idris Elba)
|"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.|
Awards and nominations
- Yuan, Jada (8 June 2012). "Idris Elba on Prometheus, Learning to Box, and His Party House". vulture.com. Retrieved 14 October 2013.
- "Idris Elba Interview: The Hustler". Esquire. Retrieved 18 April 2016
- "The Wire Cast and Crew: Idris Elba, Russell 'Stringer' Bell". HBO.com. Retrieved 11 April 2009.
- Lowry, Brian (10 July 2014). "Emmy Nominations 2014 — Full List: 66th Primetime Emmys Nominees". Variety. Retrieved 28 January 2015.
- "Wire actor Elba joins BBC drama". BBC News. 4 September 2009. Retrieved 7 September 2009.
- Cabin, Chris (5 July 2016). "Idris Elba Set to Make Directorial Debut With Yardie". Collider. Archived from the original on 5 July 2016. Retrieved 5 July 2016.
- Canada, Danielle (13 September 2011). "Idris Elba (Driis) Releases New Music Video 'Secret Garden'". hiphopwired.com.
- David Simon. "Idris Elba: TIME 100". TIME.com. Retrieved 27 April 2016.
- Addley, Esther (20 March 2008). "He often has fewer lines than anyone else but you still feel as though he has the bigger part, because he is luminous". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 1 December 2016. Retrieved 23 August 2013.
- "Idris Elba:Singer, Actor (1972–)". Biography.com (FYI / A&E Networks). Retrieved 2 August 2017.
Idrissa Akuna Elba was born on September 6, 1972, in the Hackney section of East London, England. An only child of Sierra Leonean descent, Elba eventually attended the National Youth Music Theatre's training programs.
- "Idris Elba meets his Waterloo – in Ghana". The Telegraph. 3 October 2015. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 23 November 2018.
- Sawyer, Miranda (24 January 2010). "Idris Elba: life after 'Stringer' Bell". The Observer. Retrieved 28 January 2015.
- Jeffries, Stuart (9 May 2009). "The Midas Touch". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 29 July 2009.
- "Idris Elba: Big Questions". BAFTA Guru. 19 June 2013. Retrieved 17 August 2015.
- "Prince's Trust Celebrate Success". Prince of Wales.gov.uk. Retrieved 2 December 2017
- Ayres, Chris (23 August 2008). "Life as a RocknRolla: meet the crafty Cockney Idris Elba". The Times. London. Retrieved 11 April 2009.
- "Idris Elba – Biography". Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
- "Idris Elba". askmen.com. Archived from the original on 7 August 2013. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
- Thomas, Archie (25 March 2008). "'Detective Agency' finds big auds". Variety. Retrieved 11 April 2009.
- Plunkett, John (25 March 2008). "Minghella's last film watched by 6.3m". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 11 April 2009.
- "Idris Elba Is New Alex Cross in Relaunched James Patterson Film Franchise". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 19 August 2010.
- Otterson, Joe (18 April 2018). "Idris Elba to Star in Netflix Comedy Series 'Turn Up Charlie'". Variety. Retrieved 21 February 2019.
- Sturges, Fiona (24 March 2018). "In the Long Run: Idris Elba's joyful portrait of community in 1980s Hackney". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 April 2019.
- "Idris Elba and Columbus Short Interview, This Christmas". Moviesonline.ca. Archived from the original on 14 January 2015. Retrieved 11 April 2009.
- "This Christmas". Thenumbers.com. Retrieved 11 April 2009.
- "Idris Elba And Beyonce To Play Married Couple In 'Obsessed'". Blackvoices.com. Retrieved 11 April 2009.
- "Weekend Report: Moviegoers Fixate on 'Obsessed'". Boxofficemojo.com. Retrieved 26 April 2009.
- "Idris Elba gets his kit off on set". UKPA. 8 July 2009. Retrieved 21 July 2009.
- Josh Wigler (2 April 2009). "Idris Elba Confirmed For 'The Losers,' Zoe Saldana Playing Aisha". MTV. Archived from the original on 5 April 2009. Retrieved 11 April 2009.
- ""The Losers" Commences Production for Dark Castle Entertainment". Business Wire. 29 July 2009. Retrieved 5 August 2009.
- "Idris Elba joins Marvel Studios' 'Thor'". The Hollywood Reporter. 20 November 2009. Retrieved 20 November 2009.
- Bierly, Mandi (1 February 2011). "Tyler Perry in, Idris Elba out of Alex Cross reboot: Producer explains why – EXCLUSIVE". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 18 September 2011.
- Kit, Boris (5 October 2010). "Idris Elba, Johnny Whitworth gear up for 'Ghost Rider 2'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 6 October 2010.
- Jefferson, Lucette (22 February 2012). "Confirmed! Idris Elba set to play Nelson Mandela in Biopic". Huffington Post. Retrieved 23 February 2012.
- "Idris Elba Describes Chilling Night In Nelson Mandela's Prison (VIDEO)". Huffington Post. 7 December 2013. Retrieved 28 January 2015.
- "Prometheus video teases more from Idris Elba's Captain Janek". ifc.com. September 2012. Retrieved 13 April 2016.
- "It's Official! Idris Elba Will Star in Guillermo del Toro's "Pacific Rim" (Black Superhero Next?)". Blogs.indiewire.com. Archived from the original on 10 July 2012. Retrieved 28 December 2011.
- "Mandela actor Idris Elba confirms Luther film". The Mirror. 3 January 2014.
- "'The Dark Tower' rises: Stephen King confirms stars Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey". Entertainment Weekly.
- "Idris Elba to join Ian McKellen, Taylor Swift in Cats movie adaptation". Entertainment Weekly.
- on YouTube
- on YouTube
- on YouTube
- "He often has fewer lines than anyone else but you still feel as though he has the bigger part, because he is luminous". Movietome.com. Retrieved 11 April 2009.[permanent dead link]
- McMurtrie, John (11 February 2007). "Ties to 'Wire' cut – but new work calls". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 11 April 2009.
- "Keri Hilson, The Dream and Idris Elba party with BET". S2Smagazine.com. 29 July 2009. Archived from the original on 24 July 2011. Retrieved 29 July 2009.
- Morris, Davina (5 July 2009). "Man of many talents – Actor Idris Elba returns to his first love, music, with the release of his new single". Jamaica Gleaner. Archived from the original on 16 August 2009. Retrieved 29 July 2009.
- Amber, Jeannine (13 July 2009). "ESSENCE August Issue: Sexy Talk With Idris Elba". Essence. Archived from the original on 17 August 2009. Retrieved 14 August 2009.
- "High Class Problems – Available Today!!!". driis. 8 February 2010. Archived from the original on 14 March 2012. Retrieved 28 December 2011.
- "Mumford & Sons Only 'Think' They Understand 'Lover Of The Light' Video".
- "K. Michelle To Star In Idris Elba Directed Musical". The Urban Daily. 3 February 2014. Retrieved 28 January 2015.
- "Idris Elba Presents Mi Mandela: album stream".
- Andy Gill, "Idris Elba Presents mi Mandela, album review: A marvellous alliance of ancient and modern styles", The Independent, 21 November 2014.
- "Kasabian's Serge Pizzorno and comedian Noel Fielding tease 'Wu-Tang Clan' live shows". Retrieved 15 September 2014.
- "Idris Elba Raps About His 'Wire' Character in Skepta's 'Shutdown' Remix". Billboard. 27 October 2017.
- Stutz, Colin (3 July 2018). "Idris Elba Launches New Record Label 7Wallace Music, Announces French Artist James BKS as First Signing". Billboard. Retrieved 10 February 2019.
- "Coachella 2019: Full Lineup Announced". Pitchfork. 2 January 2019. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
- "Journey Dot Africa with Idris Elba". BBC Radio 2. 28 October 2014. Retrieved 28 January 2015.
- "Idris Elba's new Sky advert: why can't he wink?". Guardian. 29 November 2014. Retrieved 2 September 2015.
- "Idris Elba's collaboration with Superdry puts the "luxe" in "sports luxe"". GQ. Retrieved 5 November 2015.
- "The Best selfie: Idris Elba revels as host of Fifa Awards show". The Daily Telegraph. 27 October 2017.
- Vincent, Alice (24 August 2016). "Idris Elba is becoming a kickboxer, and there's a documentary to prove it". The Telegraph. The Telegraph. Retrieved 12 February 2017.
- Kurchak, Sarah (2 September 2016). "An Interview With Idris Elba's Kickboxing Coach". Vice Fightland. Vice. Retrieved 12 February 2017.
- Ibarrola, Khristian (3 November 2016). "WATCH: Actor Idris Elba wins kickboxing match at age 44". Inquirer.net. Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved 12 February 2017.
- Corcoran, Rachel (12 January 2017). "Idris Elba on new kickboxing role: When I fought I'd hear my mum saying 'Don't let him kick you in the head'". Mirror.co.uk. Mirror. Retrieved 19 February 2017.
- "Idris Elba 'splits with long-term girlfriend Naiyana Garth". The Daily Telegraph.
- Webber, Stephanie (18 April 2014). "Idris Elba Welcomes Baby Boy Winston With Naiyana Garth: First Picture". Us Weekly. Retrieved 28 January 2015.
- Moore, Hannah (11 February 2018). "Yardie actor on Idris Elba proposal: I had tears in my eyes". BBC News. Retrieved 11 February 2018.
- "Idris Elba's surprise marriage proposal". BBC News. 10 February 2018. Retrieved 11 February 2018.
- "The Reaping: Idris Elba Q&A". cinema.com. 2015. Retrieved 28 January 2015.
- Topel, Fred (30 November 1999). "Idris Elba: International Man". CraveOnline. Archived from the original on 14 January 2015. Retrieved 28 January 2015.
- "Arsenal fan Idris Elba: I would be physically sick if Tottenham won the Premier League title". London Evening Standard. 27 October 2017.
- "Actor Idris Elba Breaks Historic 'Flying Mile' Record in Bentley". Bentley Media. 7 May 2015. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
- "Idris Elba Becomes Anti Crime Ambassador". Looktothestars.com. Retrieved 11 April 2009.
- "The celebrities that support Brexit (and the ones backing Remain)". The Independent. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
- "People Magazine's 'Most Beautiful People' issue" (PDF). CBS News. Retrieved 11 April 2009.
- Penn, Charli (9 December 2013). "ESSENCE's 2013 Sexiest Man of the Year: 50 Reasons to Love Idris Elba". Essence. Retrieved 28 January 2015.
- Hogan, Kate (20 November 2013). "Sexiest Man Alive 2013: Adam Levine, David Beckham, Brad Pitt, Idris Elba". People. Retrieved 7 November 2018.
- "Mobo Awards 2014: Idris Elba receives inspiration award". The Daily Telegraph. 23 September 2014. Archived from the original on 9 January 2018. Retrieved 7 November 2018.
- Johnston, Robert (5 January 2015). "50 Best Dressed Men in Britain 2015". GQ. Archived from the original on 7 January 2015.
- "No. 61450". The London Gazette (Supplement). 30 December 2015. p. N12.
- Mendick, Robert; Swinford, Steven (31 December 2015). "New Year's Honours: Idris Elba, Barbara Windsor, Damon Albarn and Ronnie O'Sullivan named in 2016 list". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 31 December 2015.
- Adetula, Elizabeth (25 July 2017). "Idris Elba's bum wins Rear Of The Year because he's got buns, hun". Metro. Retrieved 30 December 2017.
- Kheraj, Alim; Time Out editors (14 September 2018). "50 Londoners who make the city awesome". Time Out. Retrieved 7 November 2018.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
- Jordan, Julie (6 November 2018). "Idris Elba Is PEOPLE's Sexiest Man Alive 2018: It's 'an Ego Boost for Sure'". People. Retrieved 7 November 2018.
- "Wiley/Stefflon Don/Sean Paul - full Official Charts history". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
- "Macklemore & Ryan Lewis feat. Anderson .Paak, Idris Elba - Dance Off (song)". australian-charts.com. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Idris Elba|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Idris Elba.|