December 12, 1978
Washington D.C., United States
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Gbenga Akinnagbe was a film and TV character actor who was best known for his role as a murderous Baltimore drug dealer named Chris Partlow on HBO's "The Wire" (2002-08). The son of Nigerian parents, Akinnagbe was the first of his siblings to be born in the United States. He was born in Washington, D.C. on December 12, 1978, but grew up in the D.C. suburb of Silver Spring, Maryland. Although he always dreamt of being an actor, Akinnagbe spent the better part of his teens and early 20s as a star wrestler. He earned a wrestling scholarship to Bucknell University in Pennsylvania, where he studied Political Science and English. After graduating, however, Akinnagbe came to the realization that in order to pursue his dream of acting, he'd have to hang up his wrestling shoes for good. He then started acting in plays in and around Maryland, where he honed his craft while learning to perform in front of an audience. His true passion, however, was to act in film and on television. Then in 2003, Akinnagbe was granted the opportunity of a lifetime when he was asked to audition for the role of Chris Partlow on a new TV drama called "The Wire." Akinnagbe nailed the role and from seasons one to four he was one of the best-known recurring characters on the show. In 2008, as "The Wire" entered its fifth and final season, Akinnagbe was bumped up to series regular, which would prove to be the biggest break of his career. After his bump up to series regular on "The Wire," the roles started pouring in. Over the next few years, Akinnagbe landed supporting roles in "The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3" (2009), "Edge of Darkness" (2010), and "Red & Blue Marbles" (2011), to name a few. He also landed recurring parts on several television shows, like "Nurse Jackie" (Showtime, 2009-2015), "The Good Wife" (CBS, 2009-16), and "The Following" (Fox, 2013-15). Returning to movies in 2015, Akinnagbe landed a supporting part in the crime thriller "Phantom Halo." The film was the directorial debut of Antonia Bogdanovich, daughter of Oscar-nominated director Peter Bogdanovich.
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