Jeffrey Wright Biography
Jeffrey Wright is an American actor known for his versatility and powerful performances. Born on December 7, 1965 in Washington, D.C., Wright had an early interest in law and politics, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in political science from Amherst College. However, after a brief stint in the MFA acting program at the New York University Tisch School of the Arts, he decided to pursue acting full-time.
Jeffrey Wright’s career began in theater, appearing in productions off-Broadway in New York City and Washington D.C. In 1990, he made his first major film appearance as an attorney in Presumed Innocent.
He joined John Houseman’s national touring repertory company, The Acting Company, in 1991, appearing in productions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Athol Fugard’s Blood Knot. But it was his portrayal of a gay nurse in Tony Kushner’s Angels in America that earned him critical acclaim, as well as the Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play.
Jeffrey Wright’s film career continued to thrive throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, with leading and supporting roles in such films as Celebrity, Shaft, and Boycott, for which he received an AFI Award for his portrayal of Martin Luther King Jr. He also appeared in the award-winning HBO adaptation of Angels in America, earning an Emmy and a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor in a Miniseries.
Jeffrey Wright’s filmography also includes performances in The Manchurian Candidate, Syriana, The Hunger Games series, and he played CIA agent Felix Leiter in the James Bond films Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, and No Time to Die. In a recent interview, Wright said he would definitely consider reprising the role for Bond 26 if the producers want to go down that route.
In addition to his work on screen, Wright has been involved in theater and documentary filmmaking. He produced the HBO documentary We Are Not Done Yet, which gives voice to war veterans who discover the power of shared experience to unite and find resilience in the face of post-traumatic stress. He also starred in HBO’s O.G., a film about a man preparing to leave prison after decades behind bars, which was filmed entirely in Pendleton Correctional Facility near Indianapolis, with many prisoners and staff recruited as actors.
Jeffrey Wright’s most recent roles include portraying food writer Roebuck Wright in Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch and voicing the Watcher in the Disney+ animated series What If…?, set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Wright married actress Carmen Ejogo in August 2000, and they have a son and daughter together – they are now divorced.