'Black Panther' Actress Dorothy Steel, Who Started Acting At 88, Dies
The actress got her start in Hollywood back in 2015.
October 18, 2021 at 6:24 pm
Black Panther actress Dorothy Steel passed away on Friday at the age of 95.
Steel, who played Merchant Tribe Elder on the Marvel film, died while at her Detroit home, her agent Cindy Butler confirmed, according to People. A cause of death was not shared.
“It’s with a heavy heart I announce this morning Dorothy Steel transitioned this morning in her hometown of Detroit. That is what she wanted to be home,” Butler wrote. “Thank you Ms. Dorothy for giving me the opportunity to ride this wave with you. Thank you for all the Casting Directors who hired Ms. Dorothy. Thank you to the world for loving on her from afar.”
"She went out strong," her publicist said of the actress, who got started acting at 88 years old.
The actress was filming her "last role" in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and was in Detroit to spend time with her family prior to her death. Just in 2018, Steel acted in Black Panther.
She previously shared that she was hesitant to star in a "comic strip at my age," but was encouraged to audition by 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 during an interview on Steve Harvey. "He said, 'Either you're gonna step out there or you're gonna shut up.'"
She added that after submitting her audition tape, she heard back from the production team just an hour later. The actress proved her dedication by sitting down at a computer every day and practicing Nelson Mandela's speech patterns to find her pitch.
Steel added that the experience made her "feel really good to be a part of something ... Black."
“It was just amazing, it truly was,” Steel said in 2018, WSB reports. “If anyone would have told me I would be an actor, I would’ve said you got to be out of your mind.”
Steel's character in the Black Panther film advised the king of Wakanda, played by the late Chadwick Boseman. She said whenever she was on set "he would come by and make sure he gave me a big old hug and kiss."
She started her career in Hollywood in 2015 with the YouTube series The Trouble With Going Somewhere, Deadline reports.
The actress has also starred in Daisy Winters, Poms and Jumanji: The Next Level.