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Ali at the 2016 Toronto
International Film Festival
February 16, 1974
Oakland, California, U.S.
|Other names||Mahershala Karim-Ali|
|Alma mater||Tisch School of the Arts|
|Spouse(s)||Amatus-Sami Karim (m. 2013)|
|Awards||See Full list|
Mahershalalhashbaz "Mahershala" Ali (pronunciation: //; born Mahershalalhashbaz Gilmore; February 16, 1974) is an American actor and rapper. 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 Juan in the drama film Moonlight (2016), Ali received universal acclaim from critics and won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, the SAG Award and the Critics' Choice Award for Best Supporting Actor, and received a Golden Globe and a BAFTA Award nomination. His win at the 89th Academy Awards made him the first Muslim actor to win an Oscar.
Ali was born in 1974, in Oakland, California, son of Willicia and Phillip Gilmore. He was raised in Hayward, California. He is named after Maher-shalal-hash-baz, a biblical prophetic-name child. Raised Christian by his mother, an ordained minister, he later converted to Islam, changing his surname from Gilmore to Ali, and joined the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. His father appeared on Broadway. 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 because of 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.
Ali was known professionally as Mahershalalhashbaz Ali until 2010. 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.
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.
For his performance as mentor and drug dealer Juan in the drama film Moonlight (2016), Ali received universal acclaim from critics and won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, the SAG Award and the Critics' Choice Award for Best Supporting Actor, and received a Golden Globe and a BAFTA Award nomination. His win at the 89th Academy Awards made him the first Muslim actor to win an Oscar.
Ali was signed to Bay Area recording label Hieroglyphics Imperium during the late 2000s and recorded music as Prince Ali. He released his album, Curb Side Service, in 2007 but did not tour to promote the album focusing instead on acting.
On February 22, 2017, he and his wife welcomed their first child, a daughter named Bari Najma.
|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|
|2012||Place Beyond the Pines, TheThe Place Beyond the Pines||Kofi Kancam|
|2013||Go for Sisters||Dez|
|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||Gubagude Ko||Ochoro||Short film|
|2016||Free State of Jones||Moses Washington|
|2016||Hidden Figures||Jim Johnson|
|2018||Alita: Battle Angel||Vector||Filming|
|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||6 episodes|