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Ali in 2016
February 16, 1974
Oakland, California, U.S.
|Other names||Mahershala Karim-Ali|
|Alma mater||St. Mary's College of California
Tisch School of the Arts
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.
Ali was born in 1974, in Oakland, CA, and was raised in Hayward, CA in the East Bay of the San Francisco Bay Area. He is named after Maher-shalal-hash-baz, a biblical prophetic-name child. Raised Christian by his mother, Willicia, 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 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.
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.
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.
Ali is a Muslim and a member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. He is married to Amatus Sami-Karim. He named his cat Nas, after the musician. On February 24, 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||7 episodes|