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Mahershala Ali

Mahershala Ali
Mahershala Ali (29953410761).jpg
Ali in 2016
Born Mahershalalhashbaz Gilmore
(1974-02-16) February 16, 1974 (age 43)
Oakland, California, U.S.
Other names Mahershala Karim-Ali
Alma mater St. Mary's College of California
Tisch School of the Arts
Occupation Actor
Years active 2001–present
Spouse(s) Amatus Sami-Karim
Children 1

Mahershalalhashbaz "Mahershala" Ali (born Mahershalalhashbaz Gilmore; February 16, 1974) is an American actor. Ali began his career as a regular on series such as Crossing Jordan and Threat Matrix before his breakthrough role as Richard Tyler in the science-fiction series The 4400. His first major film release was in the 2008 David Fincher-directed romantic fantasy drama film The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and his other notable films include Predators, The Place Beyond the Pines, Free State of Jones, Hidden Figures and as Boggs in The Hunger Games series. Ali is also known for his roles in the Netflix series House of Cards as Remy Danton and as Cornell 'Cottonmouth' Stokes in Luke Cage.

For his performance as mentor and drug dealer Juan in Moonlight (2016), Ali received universal acclaim from critics and was nominated for an Academy Award and Golden Globe Award, and won the SAG Award and the Critics' Choice Award for Best Supporting Actor.

Early life

Ali in 2010

Ali was born in 1974, in Oakland, CA, and was raised in Hayward, CA in the East Bay of the San Francisco Bay Area.[1] He is named after Maher-shalal-hash-baz, a biblical prophetic-name child. Raised Christian by his mother, Willicia, an ordained minister,[2][3] he later converted to Islam, changing his surname from Gilmore to Ali, and joined the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.[4] His father appeared on Broadway.[2] He attended St. Mary's College of California in Moraga, where he graduated in 1996 with a degree in mass communication.

Though Ali entered SMC with a basketball scholarship, he became disenchanted with the idea of a sports career due to the treatment given to the team's athletes. Ali developed an interest in acting, particularly after taking part in a staging of Spunk that later landed him an apprenticeship at the California Shakespeare Theater following graduation. Following a sabbatical year where Ali worked for Gavin Report, he enrolled in New York University's graduate acting program, earning his master's degree in 2000.[1]


Ali was known professionally as Mahershalalhashbaz Ali until 2010.[1][5] He is known for his portrayal of Remy Danton in the Netflix series House of Cards, Cornell Stokes in Luke Cage, Colonel Boggs in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2, and Tizzy in the 2008 film The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

For his role as Juan in Moonlight, Ali won Best Supporting Actor for Moonlight at the Critics' Choice Awards in December 2016. In 2017, he was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for Moonlight at the 89th Academy Awards. In 2017, he won the Screen Actor's Guild award for Best Supporting Actor for Moonlight.

Personal life

Ali is a Muslim and a member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.[4] He is married to Amatus Sami-Karim.[6] He named his cat Nas, after the musician.[2] On February 24, 2017, he and his wife welcomed their first child, a daughter named Bari Najma. [7]



Year Title Role Notes
2003 Making Revolution Mac Laslow
2008 Umi's Heart Ezra Short film
2008 Curious Case of Benjamin Button, TheThe Curious Case of Benjamin Button Tizzy Weathers
2009 Crossing Over Detective Strickland
2010 Predators Mombasa
2012 Place Beyond the Pines, TheThe Place Beyond the Pines Kofi Kancam
2013 Go for Sisters Dez
2014 Supremacy Deputy Rivers
2014 Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1, TheThe Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 Boggs
2015 Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2, TheThe Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 Boggs
2016 Kicks Marlon
2016 Gubagude Ko Ochoro Short film
2016 Free State of Jones Moses Washington
2016 Moonlight Juan
2016 Hidden Figures Jim Johnson
2017 Roxanne Roxanne Cross
2018 Alita: Battle Angel Vector Filming


Year Title Role Notes
2001–2002 Crossing Jordan Dr. Trey Sanders 19 episodes
2002 Haunted Alex Dalcour Episode: "Abby"
2002 NYPD Blue Rashard Coleman Episode: "Das Boots"
2003 CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Tombs' Security Guard Episode: "Lucky Strike"
2003 Handler, TheThe Handler N/A Episode: "Big Stones"
2003–2004 Threat Matrix Jelani Harper 15 episodes
2004–2007 4400, TheThe 4400 Richard Tyler 28 episodes
2009 Lie to Me Det. Don Hughes Episode: "Do No Harm"
2009 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Mark Foster Episode: "Unstable"
2010 Wronged Man, TheThe Wronged Man Calvin Willis Television film
2010 All Signs of Death Gabe Unsold TV pilot
2011 Lights Out Death Row Reynolds Episode: "Unaired Pilot"
2011–2012 Treme Anthony King 6 episodes
2011–2012 Alphas Nathan Clay 12 episodes
2012 Alcatraz Clarence Montgomery Episode: "Clarence Montgomery"
2013–2016 House of Cards Remy Danton 33 episodes
2016 Luke Cage Cornell "Cottonmouth" Stokes 7 episodes

See also


  1. ^ a b c Ali, Mahershala (October 22, 2011). "Mahershala Ali ('96)". Saint Mary's College of California. Retrieved December 14, 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c Viera, Bené. "Mahershala Ali Quit House of Cards and Became Marvel's New Villain". GQ. Archived from the original on January 6, 2017. Retrieved January 6, 2017. 
  3. ^ []
  4. ^ a b "By the Dawns Early Light: Short Stories by American Converts to Islam" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on February 2, 2013. Retrieved 2010-08-04. 
  5. ^ Desta, Yohana (October 20, 2016). "Mahershala Ali Is Everywhere—and He's Only Getting Started". Vanity Fair. Retrieved December 14, 2016. 
  6. ^ "Actor Mahershala Ali: Wondering Who is This Actor Married to? Wife, Girlfriend or Gay?". Liverampup. Retrieved 23 October 2016. 
  7. ^ |[]

External links