Don Cheadle is an American actor best known for his roles in the television series Picket Fences (1993-1995) and in the feature films Traffic, Hotel Rwanda and Crash.
He also stars as self-loathing management consultant Marty Kaan in the dark comedy television series House of Lies.
Cheadle was born in Kansas City, Missouri, the son of Betty, a bank manager and a teacher, and Donald Cheadle, a child psychologist. He has a sister, Cindy, and a brother, Colin.
He graduated in 1982 from East High School in Denver, Colorado and went on to graduate from the California Institute of the Arts.
Cheadle got his film breakthrough playing the role of 'Rocket' in the 1988 movie Colors. He can be seen in the opening minutes of the film when he shoots a rival gang member.
In 1989, he appeared in a video for Angela Winbush's #2 hit single "It's The Real Thing", performing dance moves in an orange jump suit, working at a car wash.
Cheadle first received widespread notice for his portrayal of Mouse Alexander in the film Devil in a Blue Dress, for which he won Best Supporting Actor awards from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and the National Society of Film Critics, and was nominated for similar awards from the Screen Actors Guild and the NAACP Image Awards.
His fame spread with a recurring role as the district attorney on the television series Picket Fences.
Since then he has appeared in films including Rosewood, The Family Man, Boogie Nights, a cameo appearance in the film Abby Singer, Out of Sight, Traffic, and Ocean's Eleven (2001). These last three were directed by Steven Soderbergh.
In 2005, Cheadle was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of Paul Rusesabagina in Hotel Rwanda, a story about a Hutu hotel manager in Rwanda who sheltered hundreds of Tutsis and other refugees from murderous militias during the Rwandan genocide in mid-1994.
He also starred in, and was one of the producers of Crash, which won the 2005 Academy Award for Best Picture.
Cheadle also appeared in NFL commercials promoting the Super Bowl from 2002-2005.
Although he loves acting, Cheadle struggles with balancing his career with his family life. Ideally he would want a less time-consuming career, such as writing or producing, until after his children turn 18.
Cheadle has been in a relationship with actress Bridgid Coulter, now his wife, since the early 1990s. They have two daughters, Ayana and Imani.
In 2007 the book Not On Our Watch: The Mission to End Genocide in Darfur and Beyond was published, which Cheadle co-wrote with John Prendergast, a humanitarian with much experience in Africa with the International Crisis Group.
Cheadle is also behind Not On Our Watch, an organisation that focuses global attention and resources to stop and prevent mass atrocities as in Darfur, along with George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, and Jerry Weintraub.
According to Brett Ratner, director of the film After the Sunset, Cheadle is an expert player of the game of Go, and advised Pierce Brosnan and Salma Hayek for a scene in the film in which they play it.
According to the episode of the "National Heads-Up Poker Championship" aired on NBC on 15 April 2007, Cheadle defeated noted poker champion Phil Ivey in the first round of the tournament. The two met in the "Hearts & Diamonds" bracket.
Cheadle, as an amateur player, was considered a significant underdog against the professional Ivey, notorious for his stone-cold "poker face".
On the episode aired April 29, 2007, in the second round of the tournament, Cheadle was defeated and knocked out of the tournament by Vegas poker pro Scott Fischman.