KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Hollywood, as well as Kansas City, paused on Saturday, remembering the celebrated career of actor Chadwick Boseman.
Five years before he became known for the movie “Black Panther,” he rose to notoriety in the baseball film “42,” where he played legend Jackie Robinson. Robinson is known for breaking baseball’s color barrier as a Brooklyn Dodger in 1947.
Robinson cut his professional baseball teeth in Kansas City, having played first base for the Monarchs of the Negro Baseball Leagues in 1945. The Monarchs jersey Boseman wore in “42” hangs in the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum at 18th and Vine.
“We’re proud it was ’42’ that started this incredible ascent from him, and he deserved it,” said Bob Kendrick, the president of the museum. “He was great as Jackie Robinson. When Rachel Robinson gave him two thumbs up, and she fell in love with Chadwick, you know he did justice to her late husband.”
In April 2013, Boseman, along with Hollywood legend Harrison Ford, took part in a special screening of “42” in Kansas City’s Jazz District. It drew many big names in the movie industry to Kansas City, and exposed them to the Negro League’s history and racial injustices.
Boseman died from colorectal cancer, a condition that kills millions of Americans every year.
Stacie Moody, a Kansas City-based spokesperson for the non-profit, Get Your Rear in Gear, encourages people to get checked for the cancer. Moody says research shows it takes ten years for rectal tumors to form, meaning Boseman likely had colon cancer years before he was diagnosed.
“Colon cancer doesn’t discriminate. Colon cancer has no problem taking a great actor, a legend and even a superhero. Everyone can get cancer. It doesn’t matter,” Moody told FOX4 News on Saturday.
Moody also cited oncology statistics that show colorectal cancer affects people born in the 1990s more so than those born in the 1950s. Moody says researchers aren’t sure what causes that anomaly.
“That really is being missed in diagnosis of younger people. They’re not getting the chances they should be because it’s getting misdiagnosed,” Moody added.
Boseman’s final film, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” is already complete. Netflix has delayed its release until a suitable tribute to Boseman can be produced.
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