GET ON UP
NELSAN ELLIS (Bobby Byrd) currently stars in
Alan Ball's hit HBO series
True Blood. Based on the bestselling
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
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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