Date of Birth : Dec 7th 1965
He graduated from St. Albans School for Boys and attended Amherst College, receiving a bachelor’s degree in political science and planning to continue on to law school; however, he decided to study acting instead. After receiving an acting scholarship from New York University and attending the school for two months, he decided to leave and become a full time actor.
He began appearing off-Broadway in New York City and Washington, D.C., and in 1990 appeared in his first major film as an attorney in Presumed Innocent, which starred Harrison Ford. In 1991, Wright joined John Houseman’s national touring repertory company The Acting Company with productions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Athol Fugard’s Blood Knot. Wright continued with his stage performances and in 1994 was cast as Norman ‘Belize’ Arriaga in Tony Kushner’s award-winning play Angels in America. His portrayal of a gay nurse forced to take care of a homophobic Roy Cohn as he lay dying from AIDS won him the Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play.
In 1996, Wright had another breakthrough performance on the big screen, portraying painter Jean-Michel Basquiat in the film Basquiat. The film depicts the real-life tribulations of a young artist who gained tremendous success in the white-dominated New York art scene until he died of heroin overdose at the age of 27. Wright’s performance was again critically acclaimed and the movie gave him the chance to work alongside veterans such as Gary Oldman, Willem Dafoe, Dennis Hopper and Christopher Walken.
His most notable film role was as the Washington attorney Bennett Holiday in Stephen Gaghan’s Syriana (2005), where he was the co-lead along with George Clooney and Matt Damon. The same year he played Bill Murray’s eccentric Ethiopian neighbor Winston in Jim Jarmusch’s existential road movie, Broken Flowers.
In 2005, he starred in the play This Is How It Goes, along side Ben Stiller and Amanda Peet. In 2006, Wright appeared as one of the tenants in Lady in the Water and as Felix Leiter in the 21st James Bond movie Casino Royale. This makes him the first African-American man to play the character in an official Bond film (Bernie Casey played Leiter in the unofficial Never Say Never Again).
Wright married Carmen Ejogo in August 2000. They have a young son named Elijah and live in Brooklyn, New York. In 2004, Wright received an honorary degree from his alma mater Amherst College.