Denzel Washington paid for ‘Black Panther’ star to study acting in England

Chadwick Boseman has been in the spotlight lately thanks to his starring role in the hit Marvel movie “Black Panther.” In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, the 40-year-old actor revealed that he has a Hollywood legend to thank for helping him at the start of his career.

While Boseman was in college, Phylicia Rashad, star of “The Cosby Show,” became his mentor. Boseman applied to a summer program to study theater at England’s prestigious University of Oxford. Although he was accepted, he didn’t have the money to attend. Rashad used her connections in the entertainment industry to finance Boseman’s participation.

Later, Boseman learned that it was none other than Oscar-winning actor Denzel Washington who was responsible for him being able to attend the program.

'Flight' Japan Premiere
Getty Images | Keith Tsuji

“After we got back, we got a benefactor letter,” he told Rolling Stone. “Denzel paid for me. I’m sure he has no idea. It was random.” Although Boseman wrote him a thank you letter at the time, he’s hoping to one day meet Washington so he can thank him again in person.

Boseman later added that he was initially reluctant to name Washington publicly for fear that the star would think he expected more help. “You never want to make someone feel like they owe you something else. They’ve already given you whatever it is they were supposed to give you. But I realized this morning that I’ve gotten to a point where nobody would think that. I don’t need any more help,” he said.

chadwick boseman photo
Getty Images | Neilson Barnard

Boseman is definitely right about not needing any more help in his career. After breaking out as MLB legend Jackie Robinson in 2013’s “42,” he’s played iconic figures like James Brown (“Get on Up”) and Thurgood Marshall (“Marshall”) on the big screen in recent years. Now, with his blockbuster role as King T’Challa, he’s becoming a household name.

And Boseman isn’t the only star Rashad and Washington have helped build a career. During an appearance on “Live with Kelly and Ryan,” “This Is Us” star Susan Kelechi Watson also revealed the two stars helped her as an up-and-coming actress and that she was able to thank Washington in person at an event years ago.

susan watson horizontal photo
Getty Images | Christopher Polk

Now that he’s a star in his own right, Boseman is paying it forward. On Feb. 17, he bought tickets for 312 kids from an underprivileged neighborhood to see “Black Panther” at a movie theater in the actor’s hometown of Anderson, South Carolina.

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Kate Streit
Kate Streit lives in Chicago. She enjoys stand-up comedy, mystery novels, memoirs, summer and pumpkin spice anything. Visit Scripps News to see more of Kate's work.

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