Birth Name: Jeffrey Charles Wright
Place of Birth: Washington, D.C., U.S.
Date of Birth: December 7, 1965
Jeffrey Wright is an American film, television, and stage actor. His IMDB biography describes him as “quite possibly the most underrated and underexposed actor of his caliber and generation.” His roles include the films Basquiat, Ride with the Devil, Hamlet, Shaft (2000), Ali, D-Tox, The Manchurian Candidate (2004), Broken Flowers, Syriana, Lady in the Water, Casino Royale (2006), The Invasion (2007), W. (2008), Quantum of Solace, Cadillac Records, Source Code, The Ides of March, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, A Single Shot, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, and its sequels; The Inevitable Defeat of Mister & Pete, Only Lovers Left Alive, The Good Dinosaur, in voice-over; Monster (2018), Hold the Dark, The Laundromat, The Goldfinch, No Time to Die, The French Dispatch of the Liberty, Kansas Evening Sun; The Batman (2022), Asteroid City, Rustin, and American Fiction; television’s Angels in America, Boardwalk Empire, Westworld, and, in voice performance, What If…?; the video game The Last of Us Part II; and many acclaimed works on stage.
He is the son of Barbara Evon (Whiting), a customs lawyer, and James Charles Wright, Jr. Jeffrey has two children with his former wife, British actress Carmen Ejogo.
Many of his mother’s ancestors were free persons of colour during slavery in York County, Virginia.
Jeffrey’s paternal grandfather was James Charles Wright, Sr. (the son of Charles Wright and Lucille “Lucy” Mack/Davis). James was born in South Carolina, likely in Amelia, Orangeburg. Jeffrey’s great-grandfather Charles was the son of Lucy Clay.
Jeffrey’s paternal grandmother was Mary Lois Potts (the daughter of William/Will “Willie” Potts and Bessie McDowell). Mary was born in Statesville, Iredell, North Carolina. William was the son of Henderson G. Potts and Sylvannia/Sylvaina/Sylvania Crist. Bessie was the daughter of Frederick “Fred” McDowell and Mary Davidson.
Jeffrey’s maternal grandfather was William Henry “Boo White” Whiting (the son of Robert Henry Whiting and Georgia Missouri Williams). William was born in Seaford, York, Virginia, and was a bootlegger and oyster fisherman, and baseball player in the Negro leagues, among other occupations. Robert was the son of Beverly Whiting, who was a free person of colour, and of Martha Ellen Walker. Georgia was the daughter of Oliver Williams and Matilda Dixon.
Jeffrey’s maternal grandmother was Mary Ellen “Mamie” Banks (the daughter of John Sidney Banks and Zilla Ann “Annie” Hopson). Jeffrey’s grandmother Mary Ellen was born in Poquoson, York, Virginia. Zilla was the daughter of Isaiah Hopson and Mary Ellen Banks.
Sources: Genealogy of Jeffrey Wright (focusing on his father’s side) – https://www.geni.com
Marriage record of Jeffrey’s paternal grandparents, James Charles Wright and Mary Lois Potts – https://www.familysearch.org
Marriage record of Jeffrey’s paternal great-grandparents, William/Will “Willie” Potts and Bessie McDowell – https://www.familysearch.org
Jeffrey’s paternal great-grandfather, William/Will “Willie” Potts, on the 1900 U.S. Census – https://www.familysearch.org