One of the best-known stories about Chadwick Boseman hails from his days as a student at Howard University, where the future Marvel Cinematic Universe icon was strapped for cash.
Unable to cover the costs of attending a summer program at the British Academy of Dramatic Acting, a mysterious benefactor stepped in to financially assist the ambitious Boseman by covering the tuition fees. As it turns out, that person was none other than Denzel Washington.
Boseman would thank the legendary star on numerous occasions for his generosity, and there was a deep sense of mutual respect and admiration between the two. That being said, Washington wasn’t above poking fun at the situation during his recent appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert to promote upcoming awards season contender The Tragedy of Macbeth.
“Phylicia Rashad was helping kids and she called different people. She called me and I said, ‘Yeah, I’ll sponsor whoever,’ and he called to thank me. That’s how I found out it was him. You’re sponsoring this kid, this Chadwick Boseman guy. And I said, ‘Yeah, OK Chad, I want my money back.’ So I went to the premiere for Black Panther here in New York. And I saw Ryan Coogler and Chad. He said, ‘Oh I just wanted to thank you for paying.’ I said, ‘Yeah, that’s why I’m here. I’m not here to see the movie. I like the movie, Black Panther, Wakanda Forever, but where’s my money?’”
The Black Panther star credited Washington as a huge factor in his subsequent success, while the two-time Academy Award winner admitted that he was overawed by the cultural impact of the MCU blockbuster, to the extent that he was brought to tears by the realization that it was going to be so important to so many people, but at least he can still laugh about his roundabout involvement.