Here is a man who knows hard graft. It was not by mere chance that some agent haphazardly spotted him going about his everyday business. No, the 190cm tall specimen admirably took the scenic route to stardom. A mere newspaper advert in the early 90s gifted us this great actor, musician, DJ and more importantly, humble being. To many a casual observer his rise to stardom may seem abrupt. Many of us only came to notice him when Hollywood blockbusters he is credited with were thrust upon the viewing public. There is however an interesting body of his work that ought to be given a view. Here are a couple of fun facts about the British actor.
He was born Idrissa Akuna Elba in Hackney, London, England in 1972. Today is his 46th His father, Winston was from Sierra Leone and his mother, Eve was from Ghana. He is an only child. His parents moved to London after they married in Sierra Leone.
He was raised partly in East Ham and Hackney. He shortened his first name from Idrissa to Idris while still at school.
An advertisement for a play in a local newspaper for a stage play got him into acting. He met his first agent while performing in the role.
He is an accomplished DJ and began helping an uncle with his wedding DJ business in 1986. Elba also started his own company with some of his friends. He goes by the moniker, DJ Big Driis or Big Driis the Londoner and specialises in hip-hop and soul.
Before fame he various jobs, such as tyre-fitting and cold-call advertising sales.
He is a huge supported of Arsenal FC.
His first significant and serious role cam in 1995 in the period drama, Bramwell and gained moderate fame after that for his role as a gigolo on Absolutely Fabulous.
His major brake and fame came when he portrayed drug lord, Russell “Stringer” Bell on HBO’s The Wire. His role as Detective John Luther in the BBC One series Luther garnered him further acclaim before his big Hollywood roles.
Before his success in The Wire he appeared in music videos for Fat Joe, Angie Stone and English rapper Giggs.
He has been nominated for three Golden Globe Awards (one win), four Primetime Emmy Awards and one Satellite Award.
His major movie credits include films such as American Gangster, Takers, Thor, Prometheus, Pacific Rim, Thor: The Dark World, Beasts of No Nation and Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. He performed on the intro to Jay-Z’s 2007 album American Gangster – a concept album inspired by the film.
He has two children. A daughter with his ex-wife, Kim and a son with his girlfriend, Naiyana Garth.
He is also a bit of an adrenaline junkie. He has participated in multiple TV motoring specials and has professionally competed in a kickboxing bout against Lionel Graves – he won the fight.