Often referred as the “next Denzel Washington,” Chadwick Boseman’s relationship with the famed actor was closer than many knew.
During the Sunday night (Aug. 30) ABC special “Chadwick Boseman: A Tribute For A King” which followed a commercial-free airing of Black Panther, actress Phylicia Rashad looked back on mentoring Boseman while teaching the future star at Howard University.
Rashad told the story that she received exciting news that some of her students had been accepted into the British American Drama Academy’s Midsummer program but they would not be able to attend due to lack of funds.
"I made a phone call to a friend of mine, and he called me back and we talked about it for about five minutes, and he said, 'Okay, I got this money," Rashad remembered.
That phone call made to her friend was none other than Denzel Washington.
In 2019, Washington received the American Film Institute’s Lifetime Achievement Award and Boseman humbly re-told the story of his Midsummer program tuition being paid during a speech honoring Washington.
"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."
"There is no Black Panther without Denzel Washington," Boseman said. "And not just because of me, but my whole cast -- that generation -- stands on your shoulders."
Paying tribute to Boseman, Washington released a statement to CNN remembering the late actor as a “gentle soul.”
"He was a gentle soul and a brilliant artist, who will stay with us for eternity through his iconic performances over his short yet illustrious career," Washington said in his statement. "God bless Chadwick Boseman."
The South Carolina native left his mark by playing some of the most iconic Black figures in history, including Jackie Robinson in 42 and James Brown in Get On Up. He cemented his legacy playing the Black Panther in the Ryan Coogler-directed film and the Avengers franchise.
He died at 43 after a four year battle with colon cancer on Friday (Aug. 28).