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NELSAN ELLIS (Bobby Byrd) currently stars in Alan Ball's hit HBO series True Blood. Based on the bestselling "Sookie Stackhouse" novels by Charlaine Harris, the show takes place in a modern-day world where vampires live among mortals by drinking synthetic blood. Ellis has portrayed short-order cook Lafayette Reynolds since the show debuted in 2008. True Blood earned two Golden Globe Award nominations for Best Television Series-Drama for both its first and second seasons.

Ellis' film credits include Tate Taylor's The Help; Secretariat, opposite Diane Lane and John Malkovich; The Soloist, opposite Robert Downey, Jr., Jamie Foxx and Catherine Keener; and The Express, inspired by the book "Ernie Davis: The Elmira Express."

Ellis' most recent film role was of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in Lee Daniels' The Butler. He portrayed the Greek god Dionysus last year in Gods Behaving Badly, opposite Edie Falco, Christopher Walken and Sharon Stone; and starred in The Reluctant Fundamentalist, opposite Kate Hudson, Kiefer Sutherland and Liev Schreiber, in 2012.

Ellis portrayed Roy Collier, President Franklin D. Roosevelt's valet, in the 2005 HBO film Warm Springs, opposite Kenneth Branagh, Cynthia Nixon and Kathy Bates. In addition to True Blood, his television series work includes The Inside, executive produced by Brian Grazer, also in 2005.

Ellis wrote and directed the short film Page 36, which aired on HBO in 2010.

While studying at The Juilliard School, he wrote the semiautobiographical play Ugly. After its premiere at Juilliard, Ugly was produced off-off-Broadway at the Storm Theatre with a Juilliard grant. In 2004, the Lincoln Center honored Ellis and his play with the prestigious Martin E. Segal Award. Ugly has also been presented at the Fringe Festival and the Santa Monica Playhouse.

Ellis was born in Chicago, raised in Alabama and currently resides in Los Angeles.


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