Nelsan Ellis, who played Lafayette Reynolds on ‘True Blood,’ is dead at 39 – Los Angeles Times

Nelsan Ellis, the actor best known for his portrayal of Lafayette Reynolds on HBO’s “True Blood,” has died at 39. The reported cause was complications due to heart failure.

Ellis burst into popular consciousness with the show’s debut in 2008. Introduced almost immediately, Lafayette was a flamboyant and outspoken short-order cook at Merlotte’s Bar and Grill in the fictional town of Bon Temps, La. The character, who was gay, brought pointed humor to Alan Ball’s acclaimed vampire drama, which many considered an analogy for the gay rights struggle.

Lafayette and Ellis became instant fan favorites. Lafayette was a key character through the seventh and final season of the series, which was based on novels by Charlaine Harris.

As news of Ellis’ death quickly spread, a scene in which Lafayette he marches out from behind the griddle to confront a trio of homophobic diners was widely circulated on Twitter. In a statement, Ball called Ellis “a singular talent whose creativity never ceased to amaze me. Working with him was a privilege.”


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