Denzel Washington remembered Chadwick Boseman fondly more than two decades after he paid for the late actor’s study abroad tuition at the British American Drama Academy.
“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,” Washington, 65, said in a statement after Boseman’s death was announced to the public on Friday. “God bless Chadwick Boseman.”
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Boseman passed away at the age of 43 to stage IV colon cancer. He was first diagnosed with stage III in 2016, according to a statement his family released.
As an undergraduate enrolled in Howard University, Boseman and eight other students were accepted into the BADA’s prestigious Oxford Mid-Summer Program. Actress Phylicia Rashad, who was a teacher at the Howard at the time, reached out to Washington for assistance in the covering tuition fees.
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Boseman publicly thanked Washington for his generosity in June 2019 at the American Film Institute Awards, where Washington received the 47th AFI Life Achievement Award.
“Many of you already know the story that Mr. Washington, when asked by Phylicia Rashad to join her in assisting nine theater students from Howard University who had been accepted to a summer acting program at the British Academy of Dramatic Acting in Oxford. He gracefully and privately agreed to contribute,” Boseman said. “As fate would have it, I was one of the students that he paid for.”
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“Imagine receiving the letter that your tuition for that summer was paid for and that your benefactor was none other than the dopest actor on the planet,” he continued. “I have no doubt there are similar stories at Boys and Girls Clubs and theaters and churches across the country where I know you have also inspired and motivated others.”
“An offering from a sage and a king is more than silver and gold. It is a seed of hope, a bud of faith,” Boseman added. “There is no Black Panther without Denzel Washington.”
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The two actors collaborated on Boseman’s last film, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” in which Washington served as a producer.
Based on the 1982 Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same name that was written by August Wilson, the upcoming Netflix movie features Boseman and Viola Davis. It is set to release at some point in 2020, according to People. A date has not been revealed.