Several of the most famous stories involving Chadwick Boseman date back to his days as a student at Howard University. His Black Panther co-star Angela Bassett recalled that when she was receiving an honorary doctorate from Howard, a young Boseman was her chaperone around campus, before the two of them ended up playing mother and son in one of the biggest box office success stories in history years later.
Another well-known anecdote is that when Boseman had been accepted to a summer acting program at the British Academy of Dramatic Acting, he didn’t have the funds to cover the costs, only for a mysterious benefactor to provide the tuition fees. This was none other than A-list star Denzel Washington, who had helped him realize his dream, with Boseman thanking Washington for his contributions on several occasions since.
While the two never got the chance to star opposite each other in the same project, Boseman freely admitted that a huge factor in his success was down to Washington secretly funding his tuition, while the two-time Academy Award winner revealed that a screening of Black Panther had brought him to tears once he realized the $200 million blockbuster possessed the sort of cultural impact that he’d never experienced in his own highly successful career.
Over the weekend, the 65 year-old released a brief statement mourning Boseman’s tragic passing, and even in very few words it encapsulates what made the actor such an important figure despite his short time on this Earth.
“He was a gentle soul and a brilliant artist, who will stay with us for eternity through his iconic performances over his short yet illustrious career. God bless Chadwick Boseman.”
Washington is one of the producers of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, the Netflix adaptation of the August Wilson play that marks the final completed role of Chadwick Boseman‘s career, but the connection between the two clearly ran much deeper than simply collaborating on a movie together.