In dying of colon cancer last month at the age of 43, Chadwick Boseman left behind one of the most unusual careers of any modern movie star. At age 35 he was a minor television actor and part-time playwright, with lots of one-off roles on CSI-type shows and zero public recognition. Then he won the part of Jackie Robinson in the film 42, and over the next seven years he played three of the most famous African-American figures of the 20th century — Robinson, Thurgood Marshall in Marshall, and James Brown in Get On Up — plus a comic-book figure …
This article appears as “What Might Have Been” in the September 21, 2020, print edition of National Review.
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