Mahershala Ali –

Mahershala Ali in Moonlight.

About Mahershala Ali (1974 – ____)

Mahershalalhashbaz "Mahershala" 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. 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.

Mahershala Ali's movie credits include...

Year Movie Role
2003Making RevolutionMac Laslow
2008Umi's HeartEzra
2008The Curious Case of Benjamin ButtonTizzy Weathers
2009Crossing OverDetective Strickland
2012The Place Beyond the PinesKofi Kancam
2013Go for SistersDez
2014SupremacyDeputy Rivers
2014The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1Boggs
2015The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2Boggs
2016Gubagude KoOchoro
2016Free State of JonesMoses Washington
2016Hidden FiguresJim Johnson
2017Roxanne RoxanneCross

Mahershala Ali's television credits include...

Year Show/Series Role
Crossing JordanDr. Trey Sanders
2002HauntedAlex Dalcour
2002NYPD BlueRashard Coleman
2003CSI: Crime Scene InvestigationTombs' Security Guard
2003The HandlerN/A
Threat MatrixJelani Harper
The 4400Richard Tyler
2009Lie to MeDet. Don Hughes
2009Law & Order: Special Victims UnitMark Foster
2010The Wronged ManCalvin Willis
2010All Signs of DeathGabe
2011Lights OutDeath Row Reynolds
TremeAnthony King
AlphasNathan Clay
2012AlcatrazClarence Montgomery
House of CardsRemy Danton
2016Luke CageCornell "Cottonmouth" Stokes

Academy Nominations/Awards won by Mahershala Ali include...

Year Movie Award
2016MoonlightBest Actor (Nominated)

Memorable Quotes by Mahershala Ali

“ At that moment in time when we feel like the other, we were not the person embraced, not one of the cool kids, not in the club - when you're that person, it makes you feel smaller, and when they persecute you as a result, that's a difficult position to be in. ”

“ Your life, your circumstances change, and you have to continue to grow as a person, and once you have means and opportunity, you have to make different choices to protect what you have. ”

“ My friends in college, several of whom are still my closest companions, would tell you that I was almost obsessed with becoming - fixated on creating - the future that I envisioned for myself: one of expanding to know my fullest self, which I have in no way achieved. ”

“ In my humble opinion, the ages 22 to about 27 are the most critical years of your adult life. It's your time to gestate in the cocoon of becoming. ”

“ I owe a lot to my time on 'House of Cards' because, up until I booked that show, I had been working consistently for 12 years, but I wasn't working on anything that mattered in the way 'House of Cards' did to its audience, to casting directors, to directors and producers. The show hit this sweet spot. ”

“ It's still amazing, but when I was growing up, Harlem was the Mecca of black culture. I was so inspired by it, the aspirational feeling you'd get spending time there. Experiences that were really specific to that place. ”

Things You May Not Know About Mahershala Ali

He is a respected rapper in the hip hop community, having collaborated and performed with notable artists such as Talib Kweli, Planet Asia, Keith Murray, and others.

Ali has twice played the father to children with unusual (supernatural) aging issues: as Richard Tyler in The 4400 (2004), his character's daughter, Isabelle, goes from infancy to adulthood in a single episode, and as Tizzy in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008), he plays the adoptive father of a child who is born old and ages backwards.

As of 2017, has appeared in three films that were nominated for the Best Picture Oscar: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008), Moonlight (2016) and Hidden Figures (2016).

Revealed during his SAG Award speech in 2017 that he is a Muslim and converted to Islam 17 years earlier. He also mentioned in the same speech that his mother is an ordained minister.

He became a father for the first time at age 43 when his wife Amatus Sami-Karim gave birth to their daughter Bari Najma Ali on February 22, 2017.

_0003_the-wronged-man-pic1-with-julia-ormond _0002_the-wronged-man-pic2-with-julia-ormond _0001_the-wronged-man-pic3 _0000_the-wronged-man-pic4-with-julia-ormond
Mahershala Ali and Julia Ormond in The Wronged Man (2010).
Ali, Derek Cianfrance, and Eva Mendes in The Place Beyond the Pines (2012).
Ali and Francis Lawrence in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1 (2014).
Ali in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2 (2015), with Elden Henson,
Wes Chatham, Evan Ross, Jennifer Lawrence, and Liam Hemsworth.
_0009_the-curious-case-of-benjamin-button-pic1-with-taraji-p-henson _0008_the-curious-case-of-benjamin-button-pic2 _0007_the-curious-case-of-benjamin-button-pic3-with-taraji-p-henson
With Taraji P. Henson in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008).
With Patrick John Flueger in The 4400 (2004-2007).
Ali with Alex R. Hibbert in Moonlight (2016).
In Luke Cage (2016)... with Mike Colter in top picture... third picture
with Theo Rossi and Warner Miller... with Jaiden Kaine in fourth picture.
_0024_house-of-cards-pic1-with-neve-campbell _0023_house-of-cards-pic2-with-kevin-spacey-molly-parker _
Ali in House of Cards (2013-2016)... top picture with Neve Campbell... with
Kevin Spacey in pictures two and four... third picture with Molly Parker.
Ali in Free State of Jones (2016)... top picture with Gugu Mbatha Raw...
with Matthew McConaughey in other pictures.
_0032_alphas-pic1-with-david-strathairn _0031_alphas-pic2
In Alphas (2011-2012)... with David Strathairn in first and third pictures...
with Warren Christie in bottom picture.
Mahershala Ali in Alcatraz (2012).