Daveed Diggs Biography: In His Own Words – Video Exclusive, News, Photos
Daveed Daniele Diggs is an American actor, producer, rapper, singer and composer. He is best known for his roles as Thomas Jefferson and Marquis de Lafayette in the smash-hit musical Hamilton. In this biography, Diggs tells his story in his own words.
Daveed Diggs Bio: Early Life, Family, Education
Diggs was born on January 24, 1982 (Daveed Diggs age: 37) to Barbara Needell and Dountes Diggs. His mother wanted to honor her Jewish heritage by pronouncing her son’s name in the Hebrew form, which Dountes spelled as “Daveed” on the official birth certificate.
Diggs grew up with his brother Malcolm in Oakland, California and graduated from Berkeley High School in 2000. He was recruited there for the track team at Brown University, where he broke a number of athletic records. He graduated in 2004 with a Bachelor’s degree in theatre arts and went on to work as a substitute teacher.
Daveed Diggs Bio: Acting Career
Diggs’ theatrical debut came in 2005 with a Custom Made Theatre Company production of Temptation. He played Dr. Henry Foustka in this Czech play and received praise for his performance. The next year, Diggs appeared in the Custom Made rendition of Two Rooms, also performing in The Tempest at the San Francisco Shakespeare Playhouse. Diggs continued to act in San Francisco throughout 2007, appearing in Jesus Hopped the A Train and Six Degrees of Separation. In 2008, he starred as Troilus in Troilus and Cressida with the Pacifuc Repertory Theatre.
After a two-year hiatus, Diggs returned to the stage as Matt in Custom Made’s Red Light Winter. Also that year, he acted in Mirrors in Every Corner and In the Red and Brown Water. Diggs appeared onscreen for the first time later in 2010 in the short film Rock Hard: The Rise and Fall of Sexual Detergent.
In 2011, Diggs played Flow Barnes Calles in the play Fabulation, or the Re-Education of Undine. The following year, he acted in the short film Yoga Boner and performed his last minor stage role in A Behanding in Spokane.
2012 was a pivotal year in Diggs’ career. Lin-Manuel Miranda approached him for an early read of Hamilton, the historical rap musical. Diggs was struck by Miranda’s vision and agreed to play both Thomas Jefferson and Marquis de Lafayette in the show. He garnered attention from the second Hamilton hit smaller stages in 2015 and became a true celebrity the next year when it opened on Broadway. Hamilton was nominated for a record-breaking 16 awards and won 11, of which Diggs won five. These included a Grammy for Best Musical Theater Album and a Tony for Best Featured Musical Actor. Diggs received five additional nominations for his work in Hamilton and left the show in July 2016.
Diggs acted on-screen prior to and during his Hamilton career. In 2014, he played the character Hobbes in eight episodes of the web series Hobbes and Me. Between 2015 and 2016, he appeared in two episodes of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit and narrated the documentary Growing Up Wild. Later in 2016, Diggs made his Hollywood debut in the animated children’s film Zootopia, for which he wrote and performed the song “Parlez-Vous Rap.”
Diggs’ career showed no signs of slowing down post-Hamilton. Over the next two years, he acted in ten episodes each of Black-ish and The Get Down, which collectively received 51 awards and 163 nominations.
2017 was a particularly busy year for Diggs. He guest-starred in one episode of Sesame Street and three of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. He also voiced the character Dos in the movie Ferdinand and acted in the TV movie Tour de Pharmacy. Diggs received an honorary degree from his alma mater, Brown University, in May 2017 for his contributions to the entertainment industry. Also that year, Diggs executive-produced the series The Mayor, also composing music for two episodes and starring in 13.
Daveed Diggs Bio: Exclusive Interview on ‘Wonder’
Another 2017 milestone for Diggs’ was the movie Wonder. He starred in this Oscar-nominated family drama alongside Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson and Jacob Tremblay. In November 2017, Diggs sat down with uInterview to discuss the film and its message.
Wonder follows the journey of Auggie Pullman (Tremblay), a young boy growing up with a craniofacial deformity. “This is the story of him going to public school for the first time; he’s been homeschooled his whole life up until now,” Diggs told uInterview exclusively. “And it is about sort of the way that the spirit of this young boy kind of radiates into the world around him and creates a better community.”
Regarding his own role in Wonder, Diggs told uInterview it was a “great pleasure” to play Pullman’s teacher. He described Mr. Browne as “the teacher that we all get to have at some point in our lives” and explained how his experience as a substitute teacher helped him feel “at home” with the role. According to Diggs, director Stephen Chbosky “created a space where [he] could sort of interact with the students in a way that was familiar to [him] and let him “play around in the desks and move kind of the way [he] would normally.”
Diggs had even higher praise for co-star Tremblay. “The thing I remember most about him is just how funny and how kind he is when the cameras aren’t rolling,” Diggs told uInterview exclusively. “He really creates sort of a wonderful atmosphere to be around, and that’s a lesson that I’ve been trying to take with me to other sets.”
Watch the full autobiographical interview at the top of this page. Check out the Wonder trailer below:
Daveed Diggs Bio: Recent Acting Projects
Diggs has taken on a number of projects since Wonder. In 2018, he voiced characters in single episodes of BoJack Horseman and Bob’s Burgers. He also co-wrote, co-produced and co-starred in the film Blindspotting alongside Rafael Casal. This movie premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, where it was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize. Blindspotting was nominated for 16 additional awards and won six, making Diggs a household name in the independent film sphere.
In 2019, Diggs starred in the thriller Velvet Buzzsaw and returned to the stage in The Public Theater’s rendition of White Noise. He starred in ten episodes of the series Snowpiercer and thirteen of Green Eggs and Ham, both of which are set to release later in 2019. It has also been announced that Diggs will voice a character in the forthcoming show Central Park.
Daveed Diggs Bio: Music Career
Though Diggs is primarily known for his acting, he has also established himself in the music industry. In 2009, he was featured on the tracks “Running Down” and “Wise Guys” on the album The Monster. The next year, he created an album called The BAY BOY Mixtape with Casal and joined the rap/hip-hop group Clipping. They released the EP Dball18 in 2012, the same year that Diggs released his first original album Small Things to a Giant. Later in 2012, he was featured on Casal’s EP Mean Ones. Clipping created their first mixtape midcity in 2013 and promoted it on tour from February 2013 to March 2014.
Also in 2013, Diggs became a member of the musical group True Neutral Crew, which released its first LP #MONSANTO that year. Their LP #POPPUNK came the following year, along with a short film of True Neutral Crew performing it live. The band promoted their music in three separate shows between the summers of 2014 and 2015.
Diggs worked simultaneously with Clipping to create the group’s self-titled album, which the record label Sub Pop released in 2014. The CLPPNG Tour featured 19 shows across the US and UK and spanned from July to November of 2014. Later in 2014, the band released a single called Something They Don’t Know b/w Mouth. A year later, Diggs was featured independently on the Busdriver song “Thumbs.”
2016 was a notable year in Diggs’ music career. In 2016, Clipping released two EPs – Wriggle and REMXNG – along with the albums Splendor & Misery and soft rules. Diggs was featured on Leslie Odom Jr.’s track “Good For You,” Sir Benedick the Moor’s “1200am” and Watsky’s “Exquisite Corpse.” The same year, Diggs wrote the Clipping songs “Taking Off” and “Work Work” and performed them on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. He also wrote “Air Em Out,” which served as the soundtrack to an episode of the TV series Conan.
In 2017, Clipping released the Hugo Award-nominated single “The Deep.” Diggs performed another original, “What’d I Miss?”, the next year on the show The Senior Journey. Also in 2018 came Blindspotting: The Collin EP, the album accompaniment to Diggs’ and Casal’s film. Currently, Diggs tours the nation as a member of Lin Manuel-Miranda’s rap group, FLS.