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Elba, Idrissa Akuna “Idris” (1972– )

Idrissa Akuna “Idris” Elba is a British actor best known for his roles in The Wire and Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. He has been nominated four times for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in miniseries or Television Film which he won one and was nominated five times for a Primetime Emmy Award.

Elba was born in London, England, on September 6, 1972. His father, Winston, was a Sierra Leonean who worked in the Ford Motor Factory at Dagenham, and his mother, Eve, was Ghanaian who worked in various clerical jobs. Elba was raised in East Ham, a suburb of London. In 1986 he began to help in his uncle’s disk jockey (DJ) business, but within a year Elba started his own DJ company. In 1988 after graduating from school, Elba won a place in the National Youth Music Theatre after receiving a £1,500 Prince Trust grant.

Elba landed a number of minor British television roles while working with his father at the Ford Motor factory. In 1995 he got his first significant role on the British series Bramwell, a medical drama set in the 1890s England. Elba also landed roles on other British television series, including Absolutely Fabulous, The Bill, The Ruth Rendell Mysteries, Family Affairs, Ultraviolet, and Dangerfield. Elba came to the United States and lived in New York City, New York and New Jersey but still returned to England occasionally for television roles.

Elba’s big break in U.S. television came when he starred as a Baltimore, Maryland drug crime boss named Russell “Stringer” Bell on HBO drama series The Wire for three seasons from 2002 to 2004. In 2005 he portrayed Captain Augustin Muganza in the HBO film Sometimes in April, which depicted the Rwandan genocide. Elba had a lead role in Tyler Perry’s film Daddy"s Little Girls (2007), playing the character Monty, a blue collar mechanic who falls in love with the attorney who helps him get custody of his kids from his former wife. He also appeared in 28 Weeks Later (2007), This Christmas (2007), RocknRolla (2008), and Obsessed (2009) with Beyoncé Knowles.  Elba continued

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