The late Chadwick Boseman kept most of his life private from Hollywood. But Denzel Washington caught a glimpse of the love between the Black Panther star and his then-girlfriend and suggested Boseman marry her.
Boseman and Simone Ledward did marry, just before Boseman died Aug. 28. His fans didn’t even know he was sick until they learned he died. But Boseman, 43, had been dealing with colon cancer for four years. His marriage to Ledward was revealed in the social media post announcing Boseman’s death.
Washington, the two-time Academy-Award winner, talked about Boseman on CBS Sunday Morning. Washington is promoting the Netflix movie “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” Washington produced the movie. It stars Viola Davis and Boseman. And it was Boseman’s final appearance.
Washington said he watched Ledward take care of Boseman on set. He told his friend, marry her. The couple got engaged in October, 2019.
“Certain members of his team knew,” Washington said of Boseman’s cancer diagnosis. “His wife was there (on the set of the movie). They weren’t even married yet.
“And I used to watch how she took care of him, and I actually said to him, I said, ‘Man, you know, you need to put a ring on that finger,’ cause she kept her eye on him and she watched him. And I’m like, ‘Man, she loves that guy.’ You know, but I didn’t know what we know now.”
Boseman and Ledward began dating in 2015, but they kept their romance off social media. Boseman spoke of his love for her during a speech at the NAACP Image Awards.
“Simone, you’re with me every day,” Boseman said. “I have to acknowledge you right now. Love you.”
Chadwick Boseman Diagnosed With Cancer in 2016, The Same Year He Became The Black Panther
Boseman was diagnosed with stage 3 cancer in 2016, but he continued to act. He never spoke publicly about his illness. But it proves how life can be so fickle. He was diagnosed in the same year when he first played the role that propelled him to his greatest career achievement.
In 2016, he became T’Challa, the Black Panther, playing the super hero in “Captain America: Civil War.” In 2018, he starred in “Black Panther,” which introduced the world to Wakanda.
Boseman played a musician named Levee in Ma Rainey, his final movie. He played the trumpet and wanted to form his own band. Ma Rainey is a real-life legend and described as the “Mother of the blues.” The movie is set in Chicago in the 1920s. Rainey died in 1939.
Filming began for the Ma Rainey movie in the summer of 2019. You can watch it Netflix, Saturday.
Denzel Washington Played Significant Role in Boseman’s Acting Career
Washington had a significant impact on Chadwick Boseman’s career. Here’s how. Boseman graduated from Howard University. He and a group of other students auditioned for the British American Drama Academy’s Midsummer program. They earned spots in the program, but couldn’t afford to pay for it. Actress Phylicia Rashad, who taught the students, called Washington, her friend, to ask if he could foot the cost. Washington happily did so.
Boseman revealed that detail in 2019. The American Film Institute honored Washington with a lifetime achievement award. Boseman gave one of the speeches, honoring his friend.
“As fate would have it, I was one of the students that he paid for,” Boseman said. “Imagine receiving the letter that your tuition for that summer was paid for and that your benefactor was none other than the dopest actor on the planet.”
On Sunday. Denzel Washington had more kind words for Chadwick Boseman.
“He did all he could do with what he had, Washington said. “He left it here for us to enjoy.”