Nelsan Ellis (born c. 1978) is an award-winning American film and television actor and playwright, perhaps best known as Lafayette Reynolds on HBO's True Blood. Ellis was born in Harvey, Illinois. Following his parents' divorce, Ellis and his mother moved to Alabama. He moved back to Illinois as a teenager, and graduated from Thornridge High School in Dolton, Illinois, in 1997. Ellis attended Juilliard and, while there, wrote a semi-autobiographical play titled Ugly that was performed at the school and later won the Lincoln Center's Martin E. Segal Award. Ellis won a 2008 Satellite Award from the International Press Academy for best supporting actor in a television series for his role as Lafayette Reynolds in HBO's True Blood. Ellis won the "Brink of Fame: Actor" award at the 2009 NewNowNext Awards.
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