Chadwick Boseman, who passed away Friday of colon cancer at age 43, was one of the many celebrities to honour Oscar-winning actor Denzel Washington at an American Film Institute Tribute last year.
Boseman, however, had a very special connection to Washington.
As he explained in an interview with Rolling Stone, the future “Black Panther” star was a drama student at Howard University when his acting instructor, “Cosby Show” star Phylicia Rashad, encouraged him to apply to the prestigious summer program at the drama department of London’s Oxford University.
When he and some of is fellow students were accepted, they lamented to Rashad that they weren’t able to afford to go; as a result, she “essentially got some celebrity friends to pay for us to go,” he told the magazine.
During an appearance on “The Tonight Show”, host Jimmy Fallon grilled Boseman to reveal the identity of the celebrity who paid for him. Initially reluctant to name the person — insisting only that it wasn’t Bill Cosby — Fallon finally wore Boseman down, revealing that “Denzel paid for me.”
Boseman told Fallon he was finally able to thank Washington in person when he invited him to the New York premiere of “Black Panther”.
When Boseman thanked Washington for this generosity, his benefactor quipped, “Oh, so that’s why I’m here — you owe me money!”
Upon news of Boseman’s passing, Washington paid tribute.
“He was a gentle soul and a brilliant artist, who will stay with us for eternity through his iconic performances over his short yet illustrious career,” said Washington in a statement to ET Canada. “God bless Chadwick Boseman.”