One of the most prominent faces on television, Idrissa Akuna Elba, was born in 1972 in London to African parents.
He became prominent for his roles in Stringer Bell in the HBO series, The Wire, BBC One series, Luther and Nelson Mandela in the biographical film, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom in 2013.
His journey to fame started on the back of a stage play he auditioned for in 1986. Although he won a £1,500 ($1,845) Prince’s Trust grant in 1988, Idris had to support himself between roles in his early years. In doing so, he worked odd jobs, including tire-fitting, cold-calling, and night shifts at Ford Dagenham.
Having recognized his talent in DJing, he began helping an uncle with his wedding DJ business and, within a year, he had started his own DJ company with some of his friends.
He has been nominated four times for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Miniseries of Television Film – winning one. He was also nominated five times for a primetime Emmy Award.
To celebrate his birthday, here are 7 facts you probably did not know about the award-winning actor: