Keith Jefferson (1970-2023)


By Charisma Madarang | Rolling Stone

KEITH JEFFERSON, THE actor who appeared in Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained, The Hateful Eight and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, has died at the age of 53.

Jamie Foxx, a longtime friend of the actor, shared news of Jefferson’s death on Instagram, writing that “this one hurts.”

“Keith, you’ve been nothing but absolute grace, your whole life your heart is pure your love is immeasurable you were an amazing soul,” Foxx wrote alongside an image of him and Jefferson. “We will all miss you dearly. It’s gonna take a long time for this to heal. Goodbye, my friend. I love you.”

In August, Jefferson had announced that he had been diagnosed with cancer. “Every now and then God will give you a challenge and leave it up to you to fix it. When I was first diagnosed with cancer I had to stop, pause , and didn’t want to share with anyone. Not my family nor extended family,” he said at the time. “Today I’m finally at a place to share because my faith is getting stronger. I have a loving family and the best friends in the entire world. You know who you are.”

He addressed his mother and Foxx, writing, “From my Mom to J Foxx and everybody in between. I love you whole heartedly. We are cut from the same cloth and that cloth is the human condition.”

Jefferson was born on April 7, 1970, in Houston, and graduated with a BFA in musical theater from U.S. International in San Diego and an MFA in acting from the University of Arizona. In 2012, he appeared as Pudgy Ralph in Django Unchained with Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio and Samuel L. Jackson. He also featured in Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight as Charly and as Land Pirate Keith in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and Foxx’s 2022 film Day Shift.

Last month, the actor shared a trailer for The Burial, which releases in select theaters Friday, on his Instagram. “It’s finally here and what a blessing it was to work on this film with an amazing group of actors,” he said in the caption. “Foxx and Tommy Lee Jones along with an all star cast and my most important role to date.”