Mahershala Ali

Mahershalalhashbaz is the longest proper name in the Bible, as well as the name of one of the prophet Isaiah's sons. It's a lot to live up to, but actor Mahershala Ali was more than up to the task. The California native ... Read more »
Born: 02/16/1974 in Oakland, California, USA

Filmography

Actor (26)

Free State of Jones 2016 (Movie)

Moses Washington (Actor)

Hidden Figures 2016 (Movie)

Jim Johnson (Actor)

Kicks 2016 (Movie)

Marlon (Actor)

Last Week Tonight With John Oliver 2016 (Tv Show)

Special Appearance

Moonlight 2016 (Movie)

Juan (Actor)

The Late Show With Stephen Colbert 2016 (Tv Show)

Guest

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2 2015 (Movie)

Boggs (Actor)

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 2014 (Movie)

Boggs (Actor)

Go For Sisters 2013 (Movie)

Dez (Actor)

The Place Beyond the Pines 2013 (Movie)

Kofi (Actor)

Alcatraz 2012 (Tv Show)

Actor

Alphas 2011 - 2012 (Tv Show)

Actor

Tremé 2011 - 2012 (Tv Show)

Actor

Predators 2010 (Movie)

Mombasa (Actor)

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit 2009 (Tv Show)

Actor

Lie to Me 2009 (Tv Show)

Actor

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button 2008 (Movie)

Tizzy (Actor)

Buffy the Vampire Slayer 2000 - 2001, 2003 - 2007 (Tv Show)

Actor

Crossing Jordan 2006 - 2007 (Tv Show)

Actor

The 4400 2003 - 2007 (Tv Show)

Actor

Threat Matrix 2003 - 2004 (TV Show)

Actor

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation 2003 (Tv Show)

Actor

The Handler 2003 (Tv Show)

Actor

Haunted 2002 (Tv Show)

Actor

NYPD Blue 2002 (Tv Show)

Actor

The Wronged Man (TV Show)

Actor

Biography

Mahershalalhashbaz is the longest proper name in the Bible, as well as the name of one of the prophet Isaiah's sons. It's a lot to live up to, but actor Mahershala Ali was more than up to the task. The California native turned his basketball talent into a full scholarship to St. Mary's College but eventually turned to writing and acting as creative refuges. Armed with an MFA from the prestigious NYU Tisch School of the Arts, the charismatic Ali began acting professionally with a debut role on NBC's "Crossing Jordan" (2001-07). He followed up his appearance on the cult hit "The 4400" (USA, 2004-07) with David Fincher's "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" (2008), where he again played the father of a child with unusual aging issues. Ali's intense demeanor and calculating intelligence enlivened his portrayals of a federal agent on "Alphas" (SyFy, 2011-12), an investigator on HBO's "Treme" (2010- ), and his ruthless lobbyist on "House of Cards." With Ryan Gosling as his co-star in "The Place Beyond the Pines" (2013), it's safe to say ditching basketball for acting was the smartest move Mahershala Ali ever made. Ali grew up outside San Francisco, CA with his parents and extended family. Life wasn't always easy, but he managed to qualify for a full sports scholarship to St. Mary's College in nearby Moraga and soon settled into the life of a student athlete. The death of his father in 1994, as well as his increasing disillusionment with the grueling demands of collegiate basketball, prompted him to start writing and performing poetry. After graduating from the school in 1996, he trained and worked with the California Shakespeare Festival before following his professor's encouragement and auditioning for (and winning) a spot at Tisch School of the Arts in New York City. Reinvigorated and re-energized by the school's demanding workload, Ali legally shortened his name to the simpler Mahershala in 2000 and began heading out on auditions. He made his TV debut with a recurring role as a medical examiner on "Crossing Jordan," before joining "The 4400" as the father of a girl who instantly, mysteriously ages decades. With echoes of that role in his performance as the adoptive father of a backwards-aging Brad Pitt in "Benjamin Button," Ali showcased his talents across a range of genres. With the momentum of small but steady successes behind him, the late 2000s proved a turning point for Ali. He joined the supernatural "Alphas" as stoic government agent Nathan Clay, and landed a recurring role as a determined investigator on the acclaimed "Treme." The following year he showed a softer side as Eva Mendes' fiercely protective boyfriend (and Gosling rival) Kofi in the epic "The Place Beyond the Pines." In 2013 Ali returned to familiar icy territory as lobbyist Remy Danton in the David Fincher-produced "House of Cards" (Netflix 2013- ). Leaving that series after four seasons, Ali next appeared in the Marvel vigilante series "Luke Cage" (Netflix 2016- ) and co-starred in indie drama "Moonlight" (2016).

EDUCATION

St Mary's College

1992 - 1996
Was a member of the basketball team and began taking acting classes his junior year. He eventually appeared in several student productions.

Tisch Schhol of the Arts, New York University

1997 - 2000

Milestones

2016

Portrayed Cornell 'Cottonmouth' Stokes on the Netflix superhero series "Luke Cage"

2016

Starred in the drama "Moonlight"

2015

Reprised his role as Boggs in "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2"

2014

Played Boggs in "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1"

2013

Portrayed D.C. lobbyist Remy Danton on Netflix's "House of Cards"

2012

Landed a role opposite Ryan Gosling in "The Place Beyond the Pines"

2011

Appeared in a recurring role on HBO's "Treme"

2011

Cast as a government agent on SyFy's "Alphas"

2008

Appeared in David Fincher's "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button."

2004

Featured on USA's "The 4400"

2001

Made TV debut on NBC's "Crossing Jordan"

Bonus Trivia

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Became interested in acting while in his senior year at California's St. Mary's College, and eventually earned his MFA from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts.

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Was raised Christian but converted to Ahmadiyya Islam as an adult.

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Has played the father of children with aging issues in two different projects: David Fincher's "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" and USA's "The 4400."

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