Meet X-Men Star You Didn't Know Was Kenyan

Kenya is famous for numerous personalities who have flown the country’s flag high. From athletes like Eliud Kipchoge to football stars like Victor Wanyama to music personalities such as Sauti Sol who have set the entire continent alight with their music.

Little is, however, known of international actors who have made it on the international stage and were born in the country. Lupita Nyong’o the obvious name that comes to mind. The next should be X-Men star Edi Gathegi.

The Kenyan-American actor has been featured in several Hollywood films. He was born in 1979 in Umoja Estate, located in the Eastlands area of Nairobi County. He moved to the United States with his family to the city of Albany in California when he was just three years old.

He went to the University of California in Santa Barbara, California, USA where he played basketball. However, he suffered a knee injury which ended his basketball career.

Edi Gathegi starring as Laurent in the Twilight Saga

This setback resulted in him taking acting classes and moving to New York University's Graduate Acting Program at the Tisch School of the Arts in 2002 and graduating in the year 2005. 

The following year he scored his first major role, appearing alongside English actor Jason Statham and American actress Amy Smart in the 2006 action film Crank. He quickly earned roles alongside Hollywood aces Kevin Bacon in Sentence and as character Cheese in Ben Affleck’s Gone Baby Gone.

He was not only gaining success in film, but he also was turning heads on television.

He appeared on CSI: Miami, and earned much recognition and popularity for his recurring role as Dr. Jeffery “Big Love” Cole on House M.D. He also got a role in a popular TV show, The Blacklist Season 3, Mr. Solomon (Gathegi’s character) acting behalf of The Cabal, an alliance made up of some of the most powerful people in the world.

Kenyan born Hollywood actor Edi Gathegi

Other roles include Kalume Ungara in an episode of Nikita, Iggy as well as various characters in two episodes of animation series Phineas and Ferb as well as Jacobee in two episodes of Into the Badlands.

Gathegi’s career was gaining momentum and he received a suggestion from a casting director about auditioning for a role as a vampire in The Twilight Saga.

He auditioned for the film and landed the role of Laurent in the fantasy film. Twilight became an international success and he retained his role for the franchise’s second film. He earned another high profile role as Armando Muñoz/Darwin in the Marvel Comics superhero film X-Men: First Class.

Edi loves ugali as well as potatoes and is a fan of the Sauti Sol band. He spends his time travelling, playing sports, reading and watching movies, and prefers to spend his time in New York.

He is currently starring as Ronald Dacey, one of the main characters in the television drama series StartUp.