Denzel Washington paid for Chadwick Boseman’s acting program

Chadwick Boseman, who starred in “Black Panther,” “Marshall,” and “42,” and appeared in many other films and TV shows, died this week at the age of 43.

The South Carolina born actor was battling colon cancer while filming many of his projects.

Boseman won Favorite Male Movie Star at the 2018 People’s Choice Awards, Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture at the 2019 NAACP Image Awards and Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture at the 2019 Screen Actor’s Guild Awards for his portrayal of King T’Challa in “Black Panther.” He’s been nominated for a number of other awards and was chosen to speak during the presentation of the American Film Institute’s Life Achievement Award for actor Denzel Washington in June 2019.

During his speech, Boseman thanked Washington for paying for his tuition for a summer program Boseman completed during his time at Howard University. Phylicia Rashad, of “The Cosby Show,” was one of Boseman’s professors, and she reached out to celebrity friends including Washington, to ask them to sponsor students who wished to participate in the program at the British American Drama Academy.

“He graciously and privately agreed to contribute,” Boseman said. “Imagine receiving a letter that your tuition for that summer was paid for and that your benefactor was none other than the dopest actor on the planet.”

“There is no Black Panther without Denzel Washington,” Boseman continued. “And not just because of me. My whole cast, that generation, stands on your shoulders.”

Watch the full speech below.

In a March 2018 interview with Jimmy Fallon, Boseman said he had kept Washington’s donation a secret for years.

Boseman said he first detailed Washington’s contribution in a Rolling Stone article, but his goal was to meet Washington and thank him before the public found out about his significant gift.

In a July 2018 interview with Stephen Colbert, Washington said he joked with Boseman and told him he expected to be paid back.

“I didn’t know him. Phylicia Rashad ... was helping kids ... and she called me. And I said, ’I’ll sponsor whoever,’” Washington said. “I went to the premiere for ’Black Panther’ in New York and I saw ... Chad, and he said, ’Oh, I just wanted to thank you,’ and I said, ’Yeah, that’s why I’m here. I’m not here to see -- I like the movie, Black Panther, yeah, Wakanda forever, but where’s my money?’”

Since Boseman’s death was announced Friday, dozens of actors have spoken out, praising him and offering condolences.