Actor Dorothy Steel, who appeared as a tribal elder in the hit 2018 film ‘Black Panther’ has died. She was 95 when she breathed her last.
Steel died on Friday morning at her home in Detroit, her agent, Cindy Butler of iSubmit Talent, confirmed the news to People magazine. The cause of death has not been revealed yet. Steel’s agent Butler also shared the news via an announcement on Facebook.
“Thank you Ms Dorothy for giving me the opportunity to ride this wave with you,” wrote Butler.
“Thank you for all the Casting Directors who hired Ms Dorothy. Thank you to the world for loving on her from afar. I received calls from all over the world wanting to interview or do a biopic of her life. She was very selective,” the late star’s agent added.
Prior to her death, Steel was in the middle of filming ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’, the highly anticipated sequel to the 2018 superhero flick that started production in Atlanta this June. She was flown back to Detroit to be with her family, Butler said.
Steel’s publicist told WSB-TV, who first reported news of the actor’s death, Steel had previously said that her part in the Marvel follow-up would be her “last role”.
“She went out strong,” the spokesperson said.
Steel was born in 1926 and did not begin to pursue acting until she was 88. Her early credits included an episode of the TV series ‘The Trouble With Going Somewhere’ and the TV movie ‘Merry Christmas, Baby’.
Steel’s role as an elder of the Merchant Tribe in ‘Black Panther’ was her feature film debut.
During a 2018 appearance on Steve Harvey, Steel said she was initially hesitant to appear in a “comic strip at my age,” but ended up auditioning for the part at the urging of her grandson.
“He said, ‘Grandma, you always talk about stepping out onto nothing, letting your faith take you there. Now how come you don’t do it yourself,’ ” she recalled. “He said, ‘Either you’re gonna step out there or you’re gonna shut up.’ “
Emboldened by her grandson, Steel told host Steve Harvey that she sat down at the computer every day and “practised” Nelson Mandela’s speech patterns to find the right tone. The actor said that she heard back from the ‘Black Panther’ production team an hour after sending off her audition tape.
Reflecting on the experience, Steel said it “makes me feel really good to be a part of something … Black,” adding, “Wakanda forever.”
Steel’s other movie credits include ‘Daisy Winters’, ‘Poms’, and ‘Jumanji: The Next Level’. Outside of the silver screen, she appeared on television shows such as Bounce TV’s ‘Saints & Sinners’ and BET’s ‘The Oval’.