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Djimon Hounsou

Djimon Hounsou
Hounsou at Final DipCon Opening Reception in 2013.
Born Djimon Gaston Hounsou
(1964-04-24) April 24, 1964
Cotonou, Benin
Occupation Actor, model
Years active 1989–present
Partner(s) Kimora Lee Simmons
Children 1

Djimon Gaston Hounsou (US ;[1][2][3] French: ; born April 24, 1964)[4] is an actor, model, and Beninese expatriate in the United States. Hounsou began his career appearing in music videos. He made his film debut in the Sandra Bernhard film Without You I'm Nothing (1990) and gained widespread recognition for his role as Cinqué in the Steven Spielberg film Amistad (1997). He gained further recognition for his roles in Gladiator (2000), In America (2004) and Blood Diamond (2006). He has been nominated for a Golden Globe Award, three Screen Actors Guild Awards and two Academy Awards.


  • Early life 1
  • Career 2
    • Acting 2.1
    • Modeling 2.2
    • Other work 2.3
  • Personal life 3
  • Filmography 4
  • Television 5
  • Awards and nominations 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9

Early life

Hounsou was born in Cotonou, Bénin, to Albertine and Pierre Hounsou, a cook.[5] He immigrated to Lyon in France at the age of thirteen with his brother, Edmond. Soon after arriving in France, Hounsou dropped out of school and became homeless for a time. A chance meeting with a photographer led to Hounsou being introduced to fashion designer Thierry Mugler, who encouraged Hounsou to pursue a modeling career.[4] In 1987, Hounsou became a model and established a career in Paris. He moved to the United States in 1990.[5][6]



Hounsou arrives at the premiere of Push, Mann Theater, Westwood, USA 2009

Between 1989 and 1991, Hounsou appeared in the music videos for "Straight Up" by Paula Abdul and "Love Will Never Do (Without You)" by Janet Jackson, as well as Madonna's "Express Yourself".[7][8]

Hounsou's film debut was in the 1990 Sandra Bernhard film Without You I'm Nothing. He had television parts on Beverly Hills, 90210 and ER and a guest starring role on Alias. Hounsou captured a larger role in the science fiction film Stargate.[4]

Hounsou received wide critical acclaim and a Golden Globe Award nomination for his role as Cinqué in the 1997 Steven Spielberg film Amistad. He gained further notice as Juba in the 2000 film Gladiator.[4] In 2004, Hounsou was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for In America, making him the fourth African male to be nominated for an Oscar. In 2006, he won the National Board of Review Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Blood Diamond; he received Broadcast Film Critics Association, Screen Actors Guild Award, and Academy Award nominations for this performance.[4][9]

Hounsou also acted in a supporting role in the 2009 science fiction film Push, as Agent Henry Carver.[10] In 2011, he starred as a French commando in the French film Forces spéciales.[11]

Director Tim Story told IGN that if he were to do a third Fantastic Four movie, he would like to have Hounsou as the Black Panther.[12] In November 2008, it was announced that Hounsou would be providing the voice of the Black Panther in the television series of the same name.[13] Hounsou had signed on to play Abdiel in the film version of John Milton's Paradise Lost with Benjamin Walker and Bradley Cooper. The film however was scrapped in early February 2012.[14]

In 2013, he appeared in the comedy film Baggage Claim alongside Paula Patton. He also voiced Drago Bludvist in How to Train Your Dragon 2 and portrayed Korath the Pursuer in the Marvel Studios film Guardians of the Galaxy, both in 2014.[15] He played villains in two 2015 films, Seventh Son and Furious 7, the seventh installment of The Fast and the Furious film series.[16]


On February 24, 2007, it was announced that Hounsou would be the new Calvin Klein underwear model.[17]

Other work

In 2010, Hounsou was featured as the narrator in ESPN's running series of "32 teams, 1 dream" commercials for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Hounsou spoke at the Summit on Climate Change at the United Nations on Tuesday, September 22, 2009.[18] On Tuesday, December 1, 2009, Hounsou told French media that developed countries “need to be held accountable” for their contribution to climate change.[19]

Personal life

In 2007, Hounsou began dating model Kimora Lee Simmons.[20] On May 30, 2009, Simmons gave birth to their son, Kenzo Lee Hounsou, reportedly named because "Kenzo" means "three" (Kimora's third child). Hounsou and Simmons visited Hounsou's family in his native Benin in the summer of 2008, where the two participated in a traditional commitment ceremony. The couple were adorned in traditional clothing and used the ceremony, in the presence of Hounsou's family, to solidify that they are "dedicated to each other 100%." The two, however, emphasized that the ceremony was not a wedding. In the début of Kimora Lee Simmons' show, Kimora: Life in the Fab Lane, he was billed as her husband.[21] Hounsou and Simmons, who were never legally married in the United States, announced their separation in November 2012.[22]


Year Title Role Notes
1990 Without You I’m Nothing Ex-boyfriend
1992 Unlawful Entry Prisoner on bench
1993 Killing Zoe Moïse (voice)
1994 Stargate Horus
1997 Ill Gotten Gains Fyah
1997 Amistad Cinqué
1998 Deep Rising Vivo
2000 Gladiator Juba
2000 The Middle Passage Narrator Documentary; US version
2001 The Tag Marshall Short film
2002 Le Boulet Detective Youssouf
2002 The Four Feathers Abou Fatma
2002 In America Mateo
2002 Heroes Mystery Man Short film
2003 Biker Boyz Motherland
2003 Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life Kosa
2004 Blueberry Woodhead
2005 Constantine Midnite
2005 Beauty Shop Joe
2005 The Island Albert Laurent
2006 Blood Diamond Solomon Vandy
2006 Eragon Ajihad
2008 Never Back Down Jean Roqua
2009 Push Henry Carver
2010 The Tempest Caliban
2011 Elephant White Curtie Church
2011 Special Forces Kovax
2013 Baggage Claim Quinton Jamison
2014 How to Train Your Dragon 2 Drago Bludvist (voice)
2014 Guardians of the Galaxy Korath[23]
2014 Seventh Son Radu
2015 Furious 7 Mose Jakande
2015 The Vatican Tapes Vicar Imani
2015 Air Cartwright
2016 Same Kind of Different as Me Denver Post-production
2016 Knights of the Roundtable: King Arthur Bedivere Filming
2016 Tarzan Chief Mbonga Filming


Year Title Role Notes
1990 Beverly Hills, 90210 Doorman Episode: "Class of Beverly Hills"
1999 ER Mobalage Ikabo 6 episodes
2000 The Wild Thornberrys Villager (voice) Episode: "Luck Be an Aye-Aye"
2001 Soul Food Victor Onuka Episode: "Games People Play"
2003–2004 Alias Kazari Bomani 3 episodes
2010 Black Panther Black Panther (voice) 6 episodes

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Work Result
2004 Academy Awards Best Supporting Actor In America Nominated
2007 Academy Awards Best Supporting Actor Blood Diamond Nominated
2004 Black Reel Awards Best Supporting Actor In America Won
2007 Black Reel Awards Best Supporting Actor Blood Diamond Won
2007 Broadcast Film Critics Best Supporting Actor Blood Diamond Nominated
1998 Golden Globes Awards Best Actor-Drama Amistad Nominated
2004 Independent Spirit Awards Best Supporting Male In America Won
1998 NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture Amistad Won
2004 NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Supporting Actor In America Nominated
2007 NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Supporting Actor Blood Diamond Won
2006 National Board of Review Best Supporting Actor Blood Diamond Won[24]
2001 Screen Actors Guild Outstanding Cast in a Motion Picture Gladiator Nominated
2004 Screen Actors Guild Outstanding Cast in a Motion Picture In America Nominated
2007 Screen Actors Guild Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role Blood Diamond Nominated[25]

See also


  1. ^ "Djimon Hounsou pronunciation". 14 December 2009. Retrieved 24 November 2012. 
  2. ^ See co-star's pronunciation at approximately 7:32 and 7:47. - Interviews..."Never Back Down". YouTube. 20 September 2010. Retrieved 24 November 2012. 
  3. ^ See the interviewer and DiCaprio's pronunciations at approximately 3:57 and 4:04. Leonardo DiCaprio interview"Blood Diamond". YouTube. 29 September 2006. Retrieved 24 November 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c d e "Djimon Hounsou: Biography". TV Guide. Retrieved 22 November 2012. 
  5. ^ a b "Djimon Hounsou Biography (1964-)". Retrieved 2012-11-15. 
  6. ^ Djimon Hounsou Biography - Yahoo! Movies
  7. ^ "Straight Up". Retrieved 2012-11-15. 
  8. ^ "Love Will Never Do Without You". Retrieved 2012-12-20. 
  9. ^ "Djimon Hounsou Awards". imdb. Retrieved 13 November 2013. 
  10. ^ "Push Djimon Hounsou Interview".  
  11. ^ "Djimon Hounsou and Diane Kruger’s SPECIAL FORCES Explodes onto Blu-ray & DVD in February". January 17, 2013. Retrieved 13 November 2013. 
  12. ^ "Story talks black panther". 8 May 2007. Retrieved 19 September 2015. 
  13. ^ "Djimon Hounsou Roars as the Black Panther". 
  14. ^ "'"Legendary Pulls Plug on Bradley Cooper's 'Paradise Lost. Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 19 September 2015. 
  15. ^ "Alan Taylor Offers New ‘Thor 2′ Details; Djimon Hounsou on ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’". Retrieved 13 November 2013. 
  16. ^ "Djimon Hounsou Joins Fast & Furious 7". 12 September 2013. Retrieved 13 November 2013. 
  17. ^ "Calvin Klein's New Brief Boy". February 23, 2007. Retrieved 13 November 2013. 
  18. ^ [2]
  19. ^ "Developed countries need to be held accountable". 2009-12-02. Retrieved 2012-11-15. 
  20. ^ Slonim, Jeffrey. "". Retrieved 2012-11-15. 
  21. ^ "Kimora Lee Simmons, Djimon Hounsou Had Commitment Ceremony". 2009-03-09. Retrieved 2012-11-15. 
  22. ^ Jordan, Julie (2012-11-21). "Kimora Lee Simmons and Djimon Hounsou Separate". People. Retrieved 22 November 2012. 
  23. ^ "Marvel Studios Begins Production on Guardians of the Galaxy". July 20, 2013. Retrieved July 20, 2013. 
  24. ^ "Winners: National Board Of Review". cbs news. Retrieved 19 September 2015. 
  25. ^ "Screen Actors Guild: The nominees". Retrieved 19 September 2015. 

External links

  • Djimon Hounsou at the Internet Movie Database
  • Punching Up His Career (March 10, 2008)
  • Djimon Hounsou: The Push Interview with Kam Williams
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