Leading Men: Idris Elba Defied Odds To Achieve World-Class Stardom

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"Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom" Premiere - Arrivals - 2013 Toronto International Film Festival

Many know actor Idris Elba for his dashing good looks, immense acting talent, and alluring accent. However, many don’t know how Elba had to pick himself up by the bootstraps to make his dream of becoming a world-famous actor come to fruition. Not only were the odds stacked against Elba and his dreams, but there were many roadblocks and obstacles he had to overcome to be the superstar he is today.

SEE ALSO: Idris Elba Discusses Baby-Daddy Deception In GQ

Idris Elba was born to blue-collar African immigrant parents. His father made ends meet by working at the Ford motor factory while his mother had a clerical job. Despite pushing for him to get his education, Idris dropped out of high school in 1988 when he won a spot in the National Youth Music Theatre. While participating in the theatre was prestigious, it didn’t pay the bills, so to supplement his income, he began helping his uncle run his wedding-DJ business. As he continued to hone his acting craft in the National Youth Music Theatre, he was so poor he had to work a plethora of odd jobs to keep his head above water, including tire fitting and cold call advertising sales.

Idris’ big break came in 1992 when he got his first speaking role on a British medical drama titled “Bramwell.” He played a petty crook who lost his wife during childbirth and had to figure out how to raise and provide for a newborn daughter. Once Elba’s talent was seen by a television viewing audience, the roles never stopped rolling in.  After racking up several acting credits on British soap operas, Idris made one of the biggest decisions in his life and moved to New York City in 1999. In just three short years after his transatlantic trek, Elba landed the role that launched his American career. He won the role of Stringer Bell on HBO’s “The Wire” which he played until 2004.

SEE ALSO: Who Is Idris Elba’s Girlfriend?

Since he left the hit drama, he’s gone on to see success on the big screen in films such as “Prometheus,” “Obsessed,” and “Thor” to name a few. While acting has become Idris Elba’s main occupation, he still has the same interests and passion he had as a teen in London. He still finds time to DJ various events around the world while raising his daughter Isan. Not bad for a one time high-school dropout. Stories like his make it seem as if nothing is impossible. And technically, nothing is impossible if a blue-collar worker from London can become the first Black man to play a Norse god.

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