Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures
Actor Don Cheadle at CalArts
Valencia, California


At CalArts 1982-86

Cheadle, Wadada Leo Smith Receive Honorary CalArts Doctorates, 5-13-2016

Actor Don Cheadle at CalArts as a student, 1982-1986.

Oscar nominee and Golden Globe winner Don Cheadle ("Hotel Rwanda," "Crash," "House of Lies") was born Nov. 29, 1964, in Kansas City, Mo., and showed an aptitude for acting at an early age while growing up in Denver as the middle of three children. In 1982 he entered California Institute of the Arts in Valencia where he studied classical theater and graduated with a bachelor of fine arts degree in 1986.

Cheadle quickly found work in television, landing roles in several 1980s-1990s series such as "Fame," "Night Court," "L.A. Law," "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," "Hill Street Blues" and "Picket Fences."

His film career took off with his appearance in 1995's "Devil in a Blue Dress" and 1997's "Boogie Nights," both of which earned him critical acclaim. He picked up his first Golden Globe Award for his portrayal of Sammy Davis Jr. in the TV film, "The Rat Pack" (1998); then came the Steven Soderbergh films "Out of Sight" (1998), "Traffic" (2000) and "Ocean's Eleven" (2001).

Cheadle's first Oscar nomination (for best actor) came in 2005 for his portrayal of hotel manager Paul Rusesabagina in 2004's "Hotel Rwanda." The real-life Rusesabagina hid and protected more than 1,200 refugees during the Rwandan genocide of the mid-1990s.

That same year saw 2004's "Crash" take the Academy Award for Best Picture. Cheadle co-starred in and co-produced the film, which cleared $98.4 million at the box office and helped to make him a household name.

Cheadle reprised his small role in "Ocean's Eleven" with bigger roles in "Ocean's Twelve" (2004) and "Ocean's Thirteen" (2007), and he co-starred in the summer blockbusters "Iron Man 2" (2010) and "Iron Man 3" (2013).

Meanwhile in 2012 Cheadle returned to television with the lead role as a high-flying management consultant in Showtime's fast-paced "House of Lies," for which he won the 2012 Golden Globe for Best Actor in a TV Series, Musical or Comedy.

Cheadle, who lives in Santa Monica, is committed to several charitable causes. He co-founded Not On Our Watch, dedicated to ending genocide in Darfur; and he supports the International Rescue Committee relief organization and the Enough Project, working to end crimes against humanity. He was named United Nations Goodwill Ambassador for the Environment in 2010.

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Paul Reubens

Don Cheadle (BFA 86)

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