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Dorothy Steel Dies: ‘Black Panther’ Actress Who Launched Screen Career As Octogenarian Was 95

Deadline logo Deadline 10/16/2021 Matt Grobar
a hand holding a lit candle © AP

Dorothy Steel, the Black Panther actress who launched her screen career at age 88, died on Friday morning at her home in Detroit. She was 95.

While a cause of death has not been disclosed, her agent Cindy Butler confirmed the news in a post published to Facebook. “It’s with a Heavy heart I announce this morning Dorothy Steel transitioned this morning in her hometown of Detroit.  That is what she wanted  to be home,” Butler wrote. “Thank you Ms. Dorothy for giving me the opportunity to ride this wave with you.  Thank you for all the Casting Directors who hired Ms. Dorothy.  Thank you to the world for loving on her from afar.”

Steel was born in Detroit on February 23, 1926, portraying Merchant Tribe Elder in Ryan Coogler’s critically acclaimed and commercially triumphant Marvel pic, Black Panther. The actress kickstarted her Hollywood career in 2015, with a guest-starring role in an episode of YouTube series, The Trouble with Going Somewhere.

Steel would go on to find a recurring role in Bounce TV’s Saints & Sinners, also guest-starring in BET’s The Oval, and appearing in the holiday TV movies, Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses and Merry Christmas, Baby.

She also appeared on the film side in writer-director Zara Hayes’ sports comedy, Poms, writer-director Beth LaMure’s indie drama, Daisy Winters, and Sony Pictures’ Jumanji: The Next Level, along with the shorts Black Majick and The Refuge.

Plans for a memorial have not yet been disclosed. “Per Ms. Dorothy, she told me to tell everyone that arrangements and flowers where to send will be posted via facebook,” Butler added. “She was still telling me what to do.  That was my Ms.Dorothy………….WAKANDAFOREVER.”

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