Tony-nominated actor Anthony Chisholm, known for his work in venerated playwright August Wilson’s final installment of the “Pittsburgh Cycle,” has died, his talent management company confirmed. He was 77.
“The Katz Company is saddened to announce the passing of our longtime friend and client, Tony-Nominee, Anthony Chisholm,” president Jeremy Katz said. “Affectionately called ‘Chiz,’ he was an actor and storyteller like none-other, embodying loyalty, devotion, and compassion to his artistry.”
Chisholm met Wilson in 1990 while auditioning for “Two Trains Running,” and was cast in the role of Wolf, which paved the way for a lifelong collaboration between the two. After appearing in the first run of the play at Yale Repertory Theatre, he went on a cross-country tour with the production to various theaters including Boston’s Huntington Theatre, Los Angeles’ Doolittle Theatre and the Kennedy Center. Chisholm later reprised the role in the Broadway production in 1992. Four years later, he became part of the main cast for Wilson’s “Jitney,” which appeared off-Broadway at New York City’s Second Stage Theatre in 2000.
In addition to his stage roles, Chisholm depicted prisoner Burr Redding in the HBO crime drama series “Oz.” He also appeared in numerous television shows and films including “Going in Style,” alongside Morgan Freeman, Christopher Lloyd and Michael Caine, Spike Lee’s “Chi-Raq,” “Premium Rush” and “Beloved,” a movie adaptation of Toni Morrison’s acclaimed novel. His television credits include “Wu-Tang: An American Saga,” “Random Acts of Flyness,” “High Maintenance,” “Shades of Blue,” and “New York Undercover,” among other series.
In 2004, Chisholm acted in Wilson’s “Gem of the Ocean,” alongside Phylicia Rashad, Ruben Santiago-Hudson and John Earl Jelks. Beginning in 2007, Chisholm played Elder Joseph Barlow in the final installment of Wilson’s “Pittsburgh Cycle” — his 10-part play series tracing the Black American experience through each decade of the 20th century — “Radio Golf.” He garnered a Tony award nomination for his portrayal.
Chisholm returned to Broadway in Manhattan Theatre Club’s 2017 Broadway revival of “Jitney,” directed by Santiago-Hudson, which won the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play. He remained with the production on its national tour, which ran from September 2019 through February 2020.
Prior to his acting career, Chisholm was drafted by the United States Army and served as a platoon leader in the Vietnam War. Upon his return, he performed in George Abbott’s musical “The Boys from Syracuse” and “The Threepenny Opera” at his hometown in Cleveland, Ohio.
Chisholm appeared in several films in the late 1960s and early 1970s, including his debut in 1968’s “Uptight.” In 1987, Chisholm’s Vietnam War experiences served as the inspiration for the HBO anthology series “Vietnam War Story.” He also joined the Vietnam Veterans Ensemble Theater Company.
Throughout his career, he received the NAACP Theatre Award, AUDELCO Award, Ovation Award, and IRNE Award.
Chisholm is survived by his son Alexander, his daughter Che, his son-in-law Peter Vietro-Hannum and grandchildren, Ravi and Avani.
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