Happy Birthday, Djimon Hounsou
Today we celebrate the birthday of Beninese actor, Djimon Hounsou. This highly underrated and underused actor was born in the unlikeliest place for one to attain fame in Hollywood. Benin is not exactly famed for its famed within the acting spheres, but Djimon attained success despite early hardships in his life. One would not think that his early life would catapult him into stardom, but a chance meeting with a photographer changed all of that. He has been starring in films since 1990, but it was not until 2006’s critically acclaimed Blood Diamond alongside Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Connelly that he attained both praise and fame. Here are a couple of facts you might not have know about it.
- He was born Djimon Gaston Hounsou on April 24 in Cotonou, Republic of Dahomey (now Benin).
- Today is his 52nd
- He was born to Albertine and Pierre Hounsou and he has a brother named Edmond.
- He spent his early life in Benin before he emigrated to France with his brother at the age of 13.
- His move to France had not been the greatest as he dropped out of school and became homeless for quite some time.
- Djimon luckily had looks on his side. A photographer soon discovered him who then introduced him to fashion designer, Thierry Mugler.
- He was a Calvin Klein underwear model for a number of years.
- He soon made the move to the United States where he began his career starring in music videos between 1989 and 1990. The more popular of these were Madonna’s Express Yourself, Paula Abdul’s Straight Up and Janet Jackson’s Love Will Never Do (Without You).
- He made his feature film debut in 1990 in Without You I’m Nothing, but his first major appearance came in 1994 when he starred in the science fiction film, Stargate.
- His early TV roles include parts on Beverly Hills, 90210, ER an Alias.
- The first recognition he received for his acting prowess came in 1997 when he starred in the role of Cinqué in the Steven Spielberg directed Amistad. He received a Golden Globe Award for his performance.
- Hounsou has also twice been nominated for an Academy Award. These came in 2004 for his role in In America and in 2006’s Blood Diamond.
- Other major Hollywood features he has starred in include Gladiator, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider – The Cradle of Life, Constantine, The Island, How to Train Your Dragon 2, Guardians of the Galaxy and Furious 7.
- He dated American model, Kimora Lee Simmons from 2007 to 2012. He starred in her show Kimora: Life in the Fab Lane where he was billed as her husband, but they were never legally married. They did however attend a commitment ceremony in his native Benin in 2008.
- They have a son together. Kenzo Lee Hounsou was born on May 30, 2009.