Funeral services for actor Nelsan Ellis, the Harvey, Ill., native and star of “True Blood” and “Elementary” who passed away last Saturday, will be held in south suburban Country Club Hills and open to the public, his family announced Friday.
According to the statement, a public viewing is scheduled from 6 to 9 p.m. July 21 at AR Leak and Son’s Funeral Home, 18400 S. Pulaski, Country Club Hills. The funeral will be held at 11 a.m. July 22 at Holy Temple Cathedral, 15912 Lincoln Ave. in Harvey. Memorial donations may be made to Restoration Ministries, C/O Nelsan Ellis Foundation, 6043 Holman Ave,. Hammond, IN, 46320.
Ellis graduated from Thornridge High School in Dolton and attended Illinois State University and New York’s prestigious Juilliard School, where he studied acting. He often credited his teachers at Thornridge with helping to shape his adult life.
According to a statement issued by his family last week, Mr. Ellis died of complications related to alcohol addiction withdrawal: “Nelsan has suffered with drug and alcohol abuse for years. After many stints in rehab, Nelsan attempted to withdraw from alcohol on his own. According to his father, during his withdrawal from alcohol he had a blood infection, his kidneys shut down, his liver was swollen, his blood pressure plummeted, and his dear sweet heart raced out of control. Ellis’ heart stopped on Saturday.”
Mr. Ellis’ film roles included “The Soloist,” “Secretariat” and “Little Boxes.” He also portrayed the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in Lee Daniels’ “The Butler” and Bobby Byrd in the James Brown biopic “Get On Up.”