Nelsan Ellis, “True Blood,” Star Has Died at Age 39
Nelsan Ellis, best known for his role on HBO’s hit vampire series “True Blood,” has died at age 39. He was an American film and television actor and playwright. He was well known for his role as Lafayette Reynolds in the HBO series True Blood, which he played from 2008 until the series' completion in 2014, and most recently for starring as Bobby Byrd in the James Brown biopic, Get On Up.
According to Wikipedia: Ellis was born in Harvey, Illinois, near Chicago. When Ellis and his siblings were younger, their mother, a single parent after her divorce from her husband, broke down over the death of her brother. Ellis and his siblings became wards of the state as a result. They were then raised in Bessemer, Alabama, by their grandmother. In Alabama, Ellis attended Jess Lanier High School for a year, then transferred to McAdory High School. He moved back to Illinois at age 15, where he lived with his maternal aunt, and in 1997 he graduated from Thornridge High School in Dolton, Illinois.
In 2007, Ellis was cast as Lafayette Reynolds in the pilot for True Blood, as a short order cook at Merlotte's, a drug dealer, a member of Jason Stackhouse's road crew, and Tara Thornton's cousin.
On October 21, 2013, Ellis joined the cast of Get on Up, a biographical drama film about the life of singer James Brown. He portrayed Bobby Byrd, Brown's long-time friend. Get on Up was met with positive reviews from critics.
Ellis passed away after complications due to heart failure.