True Blood star Stephen Moyer wrote a heartfelt tribute to his former costar Nelsan Ellis, who died from heart complications at the age of 39 on Saturday.
Moyer appeared alongside Ellis on HBO’s long-running fantasy horror series and remembered Ellis as a quiet and thoughtful man who “was the only actor in the seven years of True Blood whom Alan allowed to improvise,” he wrote on Facebook.
“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,” Moyer added.
Here’s his tribute.
Ellis recently appeared on CBS’ Elementary as Shinwell Johnson, who featured throughout season 5. The character died on the show in May. The actor also landed TV roles on Veronica Mars and Without a Trace, as well as in films like The Soloist, Secretariat, Lee Daniels’ The Butler, and The Reluctant Fundamentalist.
“We were extremely saddened to hear of the passing of Nelsan Ellis,” HBO said in a statement following Ellis’ death. “Nelsan was a long-time member of the HBO family whose groundbreaking portrayal of Lafayette will be remembered fondly within the overall legacy of True Blood. Nelsan will be dearly missed by his fans and all of us at HBO.”
True Blood creator Alan Ball, who called working with Ellis a “privilege,” added in his own statement, “Nelsan was a singular talent whose creativity never ceased to amaze me.”