David Oyetokunbo Oyelowo was born on 1 April 1976 in Oxford, England to Yoruba parents. He is an English actor and producer.
He enrolled in theatre studies at City and Islington College, where his teacher suggested acting to him. Later on, he enrolled for a year in an acting foundation course, at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA). He finished his three-year training in 1998 and also spent time with the National Youth Theatre.
He began his stage career in 1999 with the Royal Shakespeare Company playing roles in Ben Jonson's Volpone, as the title character in Oroonoko and Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra (1999) alongside Guy Henry and Frances de la Tour. However, he is well known for his performance as King Henry VI in the Royal Shakespeare Company's 2001 productions of Shakespeare's trilogy of plays about the king as a part of its season This England: The Histories.
One of Oyelowo’s highest-profile role to date is as Martin Luther King Jr. in the 2014 biographical drama film Selma. He also took the lead role in A United Kingdom (2016) as well as playing the role of a chess coach in Queen of Katwe (2016). He has played supporting roles in the films Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011), Lincoln (2012), Jack Reacher (2012), and has been praised for portraying Louis Gaines in The Butler (2013). On television, he played MI5 officer Danny Hunter on the British drama series Spooks (2002–2004).
Honours and Awards
For his portrayal of Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma, he received in 2014 the Critics' Choice Movie Award for Best Actor and the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture. He received his first Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Actor in a Motion Picture, drama. He won the Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Actor in a Movie/Miniseries and was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie, Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film and NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Television Movie.
Oyelowo is married to actress Jessica Oyelowo, with whom he has four children. They live in Los Angeles, California.