Obituary: Anthony Chisholm
Tony-nominated actor and longtime Montclair resident Anthony Chisholm died on Oct. 15, 2020. He was 77.
Affectionately called “Chiz,” Mr. Chisholm was born on April 9, 1943, in Cleveland to Edith Amilia and Victor Chisholm.
Drafted by the U.S. Army, he served as platoon leader for the 4th Armored Cavalry, 1st Infantry Division, in the Vietnam War.Upon returning from the war, Mr. Chisholm performed in “The Boys From Syracuse” and “The Threepenny Opera” at Karamu House in Cleveland.
In 1968, he made his film debut in “Uptight” and began studying with Lloyd Richards in the Negro Ensemble Company’s master class.
Mr. Chisholm appeared in a number of films in the late 1960s and early 1970s, including “Putney Swope” and “Cotton Comes to Harlem.”
In 1987, his Vietnam War experiences served as the inspiration for the HBO television series “Vietnam War Story.” He also joined the Vietnam Veterans Ensemble Theater Company, where he acted in several productions, including “Back in the World” in 1988 and “The Strike” in 1990.
Mr. Chisholm met the playwright August Wilson in 1990 while auditioning for “Two Trains Running” and was cast in the role of Wolf. This led to a lifelong collaboration between him and Wilson. After appearing in the first run at Yale Repertory Theatre, he went on tour with the production to Boston’s Huntington Theatre, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Los Angeles’ Doolittle Theatre, the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and San Diego’s Old Globe Theatre.
Mr. Chisholm reprised the role in the Broadway production, which ran at the Walter Kerr Theatre in New York City in 1992.
In 1996, he became part of the core cast for Wilson’s “Jitney,” which appeared off-Broadway at New York City’s Second Stage Theatre in 2000.
Between 2001 and 2003, Chisholm portrayed prisoner Burr Redding in the HBO crime drama series “Oz.” He then acted in Wilson’s “Gem of the Ocean” in 2004, alongside Phylicia Rashad, Ruben Santiago-Hudson and John Earl Jelks.
Beginning in 2007, Mr. Chisholm portrayed Elder Joseph Barlow in the final installment of Wilson’s “Pittsburgh Cycle,” “Radio Golf.”
He earned a Tony Award nomination for his portrayal.
Mr. Chisholm returned to Broadway in Manhattan Theatre Club’s 2017 Broadway revival of “Jitney,” directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson, which went on to win the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play.
He continued on with “Jitney” for its national tour, which ran from September 2019 through February 2020.
In addition to his stage roles, Mr. Chisholm appeared in numerous television shows and films, including “Going in Style,” Spike Lee’s “Chiraq,” “My Bakery in Brooklyn,” “Condemned,” “Nasty Baby,” “Newlyweeds,” “Premium Rush,” “13” “Black Out,” “Reign Over Me” and “Beloved.”
Television credits include “Wu-Tang: An American Saga,” “Random Acts of Flyness,” “High Maintenance,” “Shades of Blue,” “Detroit 187,” “Law & Order: SVU,” “Third Watch,” “NY Undercover” and “The Handler.”
He was the recipient of the NAACP Theatre Award, the AUDELCO Award, the Ovation Award and the I.R.N.E. Award. He also received nominations for the Drama Desk, Drama League, Joseph Jefferson, Ovation, NAACP Theatre and AUDELCO awards.
He was an actor and storyteller like no other, embodying loyalty, devotion and compassion to his artistry, said a statement from the Katz Company, of which he was a client.
Mr. Chisholm is survived by his son, Alexander Chisholm; daughter, Che Chisholm; son-in law, Peter Vietro-Hannum, and two grandchildren, Ravi and Avani Vietro.
A private service will be held at a later date.