Nelsan Ellis: Read This Heartfelt Tribute from Ex-True Blood Co-Star
As previously and tragically reported, Nelsan Ellis is dead at the age of 39.
The actor, best known for having played Lafayette Reynolds throughout the run of True Blood on HBO, died on Saturday due to complications from heart failure.
In response to this awful news, countless actors and actresses who worked with Ellis took to social media over the weekend to express their shock and condolences.
We’ve included many of their reactions in the slideshow below.
But Stephen Moyer has stood out for the extra considerate tribute he posted to Facebook on Sunday.
Moyer played lead vampire Bill Compton on the former HBO drama, starring opposite Ellis from the very first day of filming.
He shared a photo of the late star behind the scenes on his Facebook page yesterday, writing a lengthy caption along with the image.
“One of the first places we shot on the pilot of True Blood was Sam Merlotte’s Bar,” wrote Moyer, adding:
“The kitchen Suzuki Ingerslev built in Merlotte’s had a walk in freezer & working gas burners.
“It remained my favourite set throughout all 7 seasons – when shooting in Louisiana many months later she took us to the actual bar she had used as inspiration.
“It was almost as amazing as our Merlotte’s, but not quite – They didn’t have a Lafayette.”
Moyer then expounded in emotional fashion.
We can’t do his words justice and we want the actor to speak for himself… so we’ll just post Moyer’s Facebook tribute in full below and we’ll continue to hope that Ellis is resting in peace:
In the scene that was being shot that day, Lafayette, a male cross-dressing short order cook in the show, was expounding on his theory of men’s fear of the female anatomy.. specifically, the vagina.
‘I know every man whether straight, gay or George MotherFuckin’ Bush is afraid of the pussy.
I’m not sure I have ever seen, before or since, people crowd around a monitor at video village with their hands clapped to their mouths from shock, sheer laughter and wonder as the actor playing Lafayette jiggled and shook and humped the butchers block to get his point across.
it was completely original, funny, sardonic, risqué and brilliant.
That was Nelsan Ellis. All of the above.
I turned to Alan Ball when the scene was finished and whispered… ‘you can’t kill him!’ (Lafayette’s death at the of the first book is the cliffhanger that leads to Book 2… )
Nelsan Ellis was the only actor in the 7 years of True Blood whom Alan allowed to improvise. Actually, I’m going to take that back.
It wasn’t that Alan allowed him to do it, it was more that when Nelsan inhabited the world of Lafayette, he quite literally COULDN’T STOP himself. It was like he was possessed.
In actuality Nelsan was quiet, smart, thoughtful, warm and kind. A published playwright himself.
I think it would be fair to say that he taught all of us that intent and courage and fearlessness and freedom are the aspects of playing make-believe that spark the corners of the room where the dark is most impenetrable…
To shine a light on those corners within ourselves is the very reason we go back time and again to Movies, TV shows and Theatre. To see that spark ignited.
Nelsan had that electricity in an abundance I have rarely seen. I can’t believe he’s gone.
Ellis leaves behind a son, along with an array of awe-inspired former co-stars and friends.
We’ll provide more information on his death when it becomes available.