Leslie Odom, Jr.

11/02/2017 – Leslie Odom Jr. – “Murder on the Orient Express” World Premiere – Arrivals – Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore – London, UK – Photo Credit: Landmark / PR Photos

Birth Name: Leslie Lloyd Odom, Jr.

Place of Birth: Queens, New York City, New York, U.S.

Date of Birth: August 6, 1981

Ethnicity: African-American, some South African, Barbadian, and English, remote Irish and Swiss-German

Leslie Odom, Jr. is an American actor and singer. He is known for his Tony-winning performance in the musical Hamilton, and its filmed production; and for his roles in the films Red Tails, Murder on the Orient Express (2017), Only, Harriet (2019), One Night in Miami…, for which he wrote the song “Speak Now;” Music (2021), The Many Saints of Newark, Needle in a Timestack, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, and The Exorcist: Believer, and on the shows CSI: Miami, Vanished, Big Day, Smash, Person of Interest, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, One Dollar, Central Park, in voice role; Love in the Time of Corona, and The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder.

He was raised in the East Oak Lane section of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Leslie Lloyd Odom, Sr., who worked in sales. Leslie is married to actress Nicolette Robinson, with whom he has two children.

A DNA test whose results were displayed on the show Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (2022) stated that Leslie’s genetic ancestry is:

*85% Sub-Saharan African
*15% European

Leslie’s paternal grandfather was Lenell Odom (the son of Leroy Odom and Nettie Mae Dowling). Nettie was the daughter of Loloie Bliss “Loly” Dowling, a landowner, and of Laura “Larry” Holman. Loloie’s father, Alex Dowling, was born in Barnwell County, South Carolina, into slavery, the son of his white owner, Elijah Henry Dowling, and a black slave, Rachel.

Leslie’s paternal grandmother was named Eva Mae Smalls.

Leslie’s maternal grandfather was named Benjamin “Ben” Nichson (the son of Ben/Benjamin Nichson). Leslie’s great-grandfather Ben was born in South Africa.

One of Leslie’s maternal great-great-grandfathers was Samuel Whitfield “S.W.” Taylor. Samuel was born in Bridgetown, Barbados, then in the British West Indies, the son of Samuel Taylor and Mary Louisa Inniss. Mary Louisa’s mother Clementina Outtrum was born into slavery, the daughter of a white slaveowner father and a black slave mother.

2 Responses

  1. transemacabre says:

    It was his maternal *great* grandfather Ben Nichson who was born about 1900 in South Africa.

    Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., State Census, 1925 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012.

  2. cdonorab says:

    Correction. According to a tree done buy his uncle Elijah Henry Dowling can also be be traced back to Ireland. They also have a bit of Swiss German as well.


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