© 2021 WFAE
90.7 Charlotte 93.7 Southern Pines 90.3 Hickory 106.1 Laurinburg
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
NPR Arts & Life

'True Blood' Actor Nelsan Ellis Dies At 39

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Actor Nelsan Ellis died this past Saturday. He was 39 years old. Ellis was best known for his role as Lafayette Reynolds on the HBO vampire soap opera "True Blood."

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

All right, his character was a flamboyant short-order cook and vampire blood dealer who quickly became a fan favorite.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "TRUE BLOOD")

KRISTIN BAUER VAN STRATEN: (As Pam) You're too good at keeping secrets.

NELSAN ELLIS: (As Lafayette Reynolds) Oh, don't get it twisted, honeycone. I'm a survivor first, a capitalist second and a whole bunch of other [expletive] after that - but a hooker dead last.

KELLY: He also appeared as Martin Luther King Jr. in "The Butler" and Bobby Byrd in the James Brown biopic "Get On Up."

MARTIN: Ellis was born in Illinois, and he and his mother moved to Alabama after his parents' divorce. Here he describes his childhood in a PSA for The Trevor Project, a suicide prevention hotline for LGBTQ youth.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

ELLIS: I was the odd kid. I was strange in my family. And later in life, I learned to embrace who I was and all of my differences because I realize they make me beautiful. Being different makes me beautiful.

KELLY: The actor Nelsan Ellis, who died this weekend at 39. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.