What's Come Out About Chadwick Boseman Since His Death

The death of Chadwick Boseman was one of the most shocking events in pop culture and Hollywood over the past year. Millions of fans remembered where they were when they heard the news that the 43-year-old actor had died from colon cancer. In his decade in the spotlight, Boseman had become one of the most recognizable faces in films and a celebrated blockbuster and critical acclaim actor.

He obtained rave reviews for starring roles in biopics telling the stories of individuals like Jackie Robinson, James Brown, and Thurgood Marshall. However, the role he will forever be remembered for will be a T'Challa/The Black Panther, the superhero and king of the futuristic and fictional African kingdom of Wakanda in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. His starring debut in the role in 2018's Black Panther set records at the box office and turned Boseman into a national, A-List star, and fans hoped to see him revive the role in future Black Panther films and other projects in the MCU.

All this and more made his sudden death as confusing as it was shocking and sad. Boseman seemed to go from a picture of health and fame to no longer here. What happened and what has been learned since his passing last August? Here is what has come out about Chadwick Boseman since his death.

Chadwick Boseman hid his illness

It is astonishing that in a day and age where celebrities are documented seemingly 24/7 that one of the most famous actors in Hollywood would be able to hide a cancer diagnosis. However, the entire world was shocked to learn of Chadwick Boseman's death on Aug. 28, 2020, was from colon cancer. Boseman's agent, Michael Greene, told the Hollywood Reporter the reason why the star actor kept his diagnosis a secret outside of a select group of people. "Chadwick did not want to have people fuss over him. He was a very private person."

Among the people outside of his family that knew of his disease was Greene, his producing partner Logan Coles, his trainer Addison Henderson, and 42 director Brian Helgeland, though they did not know to the degree of the illness. Boseman himself did not know how sick he was until the final days of his life. Another story from the Hollywood Reporter said the actor was readying a workout plan for the sequel to Black Panther set to begin filming in March 2021. Boseman was convinced of these plans until his final week when the disease became too much for him.

Henderson (whose father is also battling cancer) said this of Boseman's secret to the New York Daily News"He was just living his artistic life to the fullest and using his time and his moment to really affect people."

Chadwick Boseman's final films

When Chadwick Boseman passed away in August, it came less than three months after the release of the Spike Lee-directed film, Da 5 Bloods. The war film told the story of four older black soldiers returning to Vietnam to find the treasure buried by their departed captain, played by Boseman. Spike Lee told Vanity he did not know of Boseman's illness, and while he noticed he looked ill, he did not assume it was cancer. Lee recalled in Thailand (where the film was shot) it being 100 degrees with terrible air pollution.

The film was met with critical applause. Boseman's character, according to The Guardian, played the leader of the group of Vietnam veterans in flashback sequences, when they were young soldiers, who expressed the contradiction between fighting for the United States in Vietnam and fighting racism at home.

Boseman's final performance came out four months after his passing, co-starring with Viola Davis in the August Wilson play adaptation, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom. According to The Atlantic, Davis played the title character as a person with "calculated swagger" and one who "delivers her monologues with rawness and precision." Boseman played an overconfident trumpeter who clashes with the rest of the band and Rainey.

Director George C. Wolfe said of Boseman to ABC, "day after day, take after take, Chadwick more than delivered. His work was brilliant." Boseman's performance was rewarded with a posthumous Golden Globe award for Best Actor in a Motion Picture Drama, accepted by his wife.

Marriage to Taylor Simone Ledward

Similar to how he kept his fight with cancer private, Chadwick Boseman also kept his love life almost just as private. According to the Independent, Boseman met and began dating singer Taylor Simone Ledward in 2015, and in the final months of his life, the pair tied the knot.

As reported by Today, the couple was only married a few months before Boseman's death. However, the pair had been joined at the hip since their relationship began. Though they both stayed out of the public spotlight, the pair could be spotted at some events. When accepting the 2019 NAACP Image Awards that March, Boseman thanked his soon-to-be fiancee at the event. Seven months later, the couple was engaged, as told by Stylecaster.

Ledward graduated from Cal Polytechnic University Pomona in 2014. She majored in music industry studies and sang lead in the school's jazz band. Originally, the pair kept their relationship private and vague. According to InTouch, Boseman would speak of "a lady" in his life but never used Ledward's name. After the pair was spotted at the NBA All-Star Game in 2018, it was Ledward's grandmother who confirmed their relationship. She said of the couple, "she's very happy, and he is, too."

Their last public appearance together was at the NBA All-Star Game in February 2020. Unfortunately, because Boseman died without a will, Ledward is battling in court to protect her husband's assets that range in millions.

Taking a pay cut for Sienna Miller

At the end of 2019, Chadwick Boseman starred and produced a film called 21 Bridges with actress Sienna Miller. According to Empire, Boseman pushed hard to cast Miller, being a fan of her work. Boseman went even further than just help Miller with the role. He also went above and beyond to make sure she was paid properly for her performance.

Miller said at the time, she had "been working non-stop" but decided to join the film in order to work with Boseman. The combination of exhaustion and her child starting up school led Miller to worry about the production, though her co-star/producer in Boseman told her that he would take care of everything, including getting her fair pay.

Miller said that he took a cut of his own salary in order to pay her the salary she had wanted for her work. This is what Miller had to say to the Hollywood Reporter about her co-star. "It's just unfathomable to imagine another man in [Hollywood] behaving that graciously or respectfully. In the aftermath of this, I've told other male actor friends of mine that story, and they all go very, very quiet and go home and probably have to sit and think about things for a while."

During a press tour for the film, Boseman also revealed that Miller's character was originally supposed to be played by a man, but he and director Brian Kirk changed the character for an actress.

Connection to Denzel Washington

In the past, Denzel Washington has discussed his relationship with actor Sidney Poitier, calling the elder black actor a "mentor" and taking his advice when he was an up-an-comer, as told by the Huffington Post. Washington, now the elder black actor, has passed on his knowledge to others, especially Chadwick Boseman, who spoke in 2019 at the AFI Life Achievement Awards honoring Washington.

During a special honoring the late actor, CNN reports, famed actress and Howard University professor Phylicia Rashad told of a time when a group of her students, which included Boseman, auditioned for and was accepted into the British American Drama Academy's Midsummer program. She called multiple friends and asked to help pay their way. One of the friends who gave money was Washington.

Though the duo never appeared on the big screen together, according to Cinema Blend, Washington served as a producer for Boseman's final movie and said this while being interviewed for his most recent film, The Little Things. "There's a whole crop of these younger actors, and it's fascinating to watch them coming up behind me. Unfortunately, we lost one with Chad Boseman."

Washington said of Boseman that he was a "gentle soul" and that "he didn't get cheated. We did. I pray for his poor wife and his family. They got cheated, but he lived a full life," as told by the Hollywood Reporter. He also recalled watching Black Panther at its premiere with a tear in his eye.

Illness while portraying iconic individuals

ALS ended Lou Gehrig's consecutive games streak in Major League Baseball, ending his career and life prematurely. For Chadwick Boseman, he had no intentions to stop being an actor and acted in seven films following his diagnosis, including other films where he played his iconic role of T'Challa.

According to Men's Journal, in order to train to play T'Challa, Boseman went through four hours of training and exercise daily. Because of the decision to shoot the Black Panther film back-to-back with Avengers: Infinity War, this intense training regiment was practiced for a year. His trainer, Addison Henderson, said the two went to comic book stores and bought as many comics featuring his character as they could. Henderson said the regiment that they practiced made sure Boseman did not get so muscled up that it would look non-believable when his character had fight scenes.

Aside from T'Challa, Boseman took on other roles after his 2016 cancer diagnosis. He gave a critically acclaimed performance as Thurgood Marshall in the biopic, Marshall, cementing his reputation as the "king of biopics" along with his previous leading roles as singer James Brown and baseball star/activist Jackie Robinson.

Boseman also took a starring role as the lead detective investigating a double homicide in 21 Bridges and, in the final year, gave his final two performances in Da 5 Bloods and Ma Rainey's Black Bottom. Each Boseman performance was met with critical acclaim.

Conversation with Kobe Bryant

2020 began with a tragic bang with the death of Kobe Bryant in January. Separated by only two years, both men became icons in acting and athletics. As told by Sportscasting, following Bryant's death in January 2020, Chadwick Boseman recalled a conversation with the retired Bryant about working together in 2020, the year that both men died.

The pair met and spoke for the first time at an Oscar party in 2018. That year, Bryant won for his short film, Dear Basketball. At an Oscar party, as Boseman told on HBO's The Shop: Uninterrupted, the two spoke about philosophy and poetry, and Boseman proposed they work on a project together. Boseman recalled Bryant's reaction to his offer (via People), "He looked at me and I saw his eyes go in like he was meditating. He looked up to me and he said, 'Two years.' It's like he saw the whole thing unfold and he was like, 'I need two years.' And I walked away and I said to my fiancé, 'Yo, he is who they say he is.'"

In 2014, Bryant, two years before retiring from the NBA, formed his own company, Kobe Inc. The company produced his Oscar-winning short film, launched a sports drink, and according to Bryant, had many other projects including a series of novels. After his death, along with his daughter and seven others, in a helicopter accident, Boseman tweeted that Bryant was, "Husband, Father, Strategist, Philosopher-Poet, Warrior-Athlete, Filmmaker."

Chadwick Boseman's brother also had cancer

Unfortunately for the Boseman family, Chadwick Boseman was not the only member who suffered from cancer. His older brother, Kevin Boseman, was diagnosed with cancer in 2018, two years after his brother. According to Yahoo, less than two months after his brother's passing, Kevin took to Instagram to celebrate his two-year anniversary of his cancer being in remission, revealing he also suffers from the disease.

Despite his family being known for keeping personal issues private, Kevin said he wanted to share his story because of how challenging 2020 had been. "I wanted to share because while it's been a year of profound loss and tragedy for so many of us, this is good news. Something to smile about. Something to shout about."

Speaking to the The New York Times, Kevin, five years older than his late brother, looked back on his brother's life. "You have to start sharing that person with the world; I always endeavored to just treat him like my brother." He also said he was trying to remember Chad and not Chadwick.

Kevin works as a dancer, writer, and actor. As Chadwick recalled in a 2019 interview, their family was originally not supportive of his brother's ambitions. Kevin moved to New York City and danced his way to the Martha Graham and Alvin Ailey troupes and on Broadway in the cast of The Lion King. Eventually, Chadwick would follow his brother to New York to begin his career.

Chadwick Boseman's emotions during final film

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom was the final film featuring Chadwick Boseman. Based on the August Wilson play, the film co-stars Boseman as an overconfident but talented trumpeter named Levee who feuds with singer Ma Rainey, played by Viola Davis. His co-star, Coleman Domingo, recalled an emotional scene between Boseman and his character Cutler.

Speaking to Collider, Domingo recalled the scene where he and Boseman's character came to blows in the film. Domingo, playing a veteran band member who had acted as a mediator between Levee and Rainey, strikes him after he insulted his religion. Levee attempts to attack Cutler with a knife before turning his anger and knife towards the sky, insulting and demanding God to show his presence. Domingo recalled pushing Boseman in the scene, saying, "I yelled at him, 'Tell me, tell me, tell me.' I refused to let him get out of the scene. Whatever was going on with him, I wanted it in this action."

After the director ended the scene, the two men embraced and cried. Domingo, like the rest of the set, did not know of his co-star's illness. Director George C. Wolfe also remembered the scene, as told by Cinema Blend. "We were doing it in a very casual way, and I assumed that when Levee got to the big speech that Chadwick was going to stop. But he didn't stop. He kept going, and Levee took over — it was raw and explosive."

Tributes from co-stars

Following the news of his passing, Chadwick Boseman's co-stars reflected on their experiences with him on movie sets. It does not come as a surprise that the superhero and gentleman on screen was the same in real life if these stories are to be believed.

Insider reports that many of his co-stars in the Marvel Cinematic Universe took to social media to offer their prayers, thoughts, and memories of the times they spent with the former king of Wakanda. Angela Bassett, who played T'Challa's mother in the MCU, recalled Boseman being the student who escorted her the day she was given an honorary degree from his alma mater Howard University. His co-star, Danai Gurira, said of Boseman, "he was the epitome of kindness, elegance, diligence and grace."

As told on NPR, director Spike Lee remembered re-watching Da 5 Bloods the day after Boseman's passing. "That light there was not man-made, that was a heavenly light that was shining down though the trees in the jungle on our brother Chadwick."

Children, especially Black children, fell in love with the character of T'Challa and honored the actor by posing with their arms crossed over their chest making an "X," a salute practiced by Wakanda citizens. Writer Clint Smith's tweet illustrated the sense of loss. "I keep thinking about my 3-year-old in his Black Panther costume. How he wore it almost every day when he got it, refused to take it off. The way he walked around saying "I'm the Black Panther."

Finances at the end of his life

According to Celebrity Net Worth, Chadwick Boseman was worth $12 million at the time of his death. This comes with little surprise as, from his films as T'Challa in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, each grossed over a billion dollars, including a record of $2.8 billion for 2019's Avengers: Endgame.

His salary for the first Black Panther film was $2 million, according to the Hollywood Reporter, and it was expected to go up even higher had he filmed a sequel. By comparison, this was four times more than Robert Downey, Jr.'s, salary for 2008's Iron Man, which began the MCU. By the time of 2012's Avengers, Downey, Jr., made about $50 million. Stylecaster also reports Boseman's salary was higher than fellow MCU stars' Chris Evans and Chris Hemsworth's first films. Like Downey, Jr., their salaries took a massive increase by the time of their sequels and team group-ups in the Avengers movies.

Unfortunately, Boseman did not leave a will for his wife and family. Because of this, Boseman's widow, Taylor Simone Ledward, had to file probate documents to have access over part of Boseman's estate. The estate is estimated to be worth $939,000, though this does not take into account his assets, life insurance, and 401k plans or other retirement accounts.

Boseman's career was short but left an eternal mark on cinema and pop culture with a series of spectacular performances and iconic characters.