Nelsan Ellis (born November 30, 1978) is an award-winning American film and television actor and playwright, perhaps best known as Lafayette Reynolds on HBO's True Blood. He was part of the initial starring cast and remains a starring cast member for the fifth season.
Ellis was born in Harvey, Illinois. Following his parents' divorce, Ellis and his mother moved to Bessemer, Alabama, where he attended Jess Lanier High School for a year, then transferred to McAdory High School. He moved back to Illinois at 15, and graduated from Thornridge High School in Dolton, Illinois, in 1997. Ellis is a graduate of Juilliard.