Donald Frank Cheadle Jr. (; born November 29, 1964) is an American actor and filmmaker. He is the recipient of multiple accolades, including two Grammy Awards, two Golden Globe Awards and two Screen Actors Guild Awards, in addition to nominations for an Academy Award, two British Academy Film Awards and 11 Primetime Emmy Awards. Following early roles in Hamburger Hill (1987), and as the gangster "Rocket" in the film Colors (1988), Cheadle built his career in the 1990s with roles in Devil in a Blue Dress (1995), Rebound: The Legend of Earl 'The Goat' Manigault (1996), Rosewood (1997), and Boogie Nights (1997). His collaboration with director Steven Soderbergh resulted in the films Out of Sight (1998), Traffic (2000), and The Ocean's Trilogy (2001–2007). Cheadle was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of Rwandan hotel manager Paul Rusesabagina in the historical drama film Hotel Rwanda (2004). He was the co-producer of Crash, which won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 2005. Cheadle extended his global recognition with his role as James Rhodes / War Machine in the Marvel Cinematic Universe beginning with Iron Man 2 (2010), replacing Terrence Howard. He will lead the upcoming Disney+ series Armor Wars as part of the franchise.His television work includes appearances in Night Court (1988), The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1990), Picket Fences (1993–1995), The Bernie Mac Show (2002), ER (2002), and as Marty Kaan in House of Lies (2012–2016) for which he won a Golden Globe Award in 2013 and four Primetime Emmy Award nominations. Since 2019, Cheadle has starred in the series Black Monday earning two Emmy Award nominations.
In 2008, Cheadle's family history was profiled on the PBS series African American Lives 2. A DNA test revealed that Cheadle is of Cameroonian descent. Another DNA test revealed that among his African ancestry, one-third comes from the region from Senegal to Liberia, just over one-quarter comes from the Congo-Angola region, and the rest comes from western Nigeria and Benin.Cheadle married his long-time partner, actress and Rosewood co-star Bridgid Coulter, in early 2020. The couple has been together for more than 28 years and has two daughters.
Cheadle was born in Kansas City, Missouri to Bettye Cheadle (née North), a teacher, and Donald Frank Cheadle Sr., a clinical psychologist. He has a sister, Cindy, and a brother, Colin. His family moved from city to city throughout his childhood. He attended Hartley Elementary School in Lincoln, Nebraska from 1970 to 1974. Cheadle graduated in 1982 from East High School in Denver, Colorado. During high school, he played saxophone in the jazz band, sang in choirs, and was active in the theater department, performing in musicals, plays, and mime shows.Cheadle went on to attend the California Institute of the Arts, graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in theater in 1986.