American actor Mahershala Ali is one of the fresh and demanding faces in the film industry. He has an extraordinarily diverse skill set and a wide-ranging background in film, television, and theater which has seen him establish a name for himself in the film industry.

His role in the Netflix series “House of Cards" further established an already well-known name. He is the first Muslim actor to win an Oscar for the film “Moonlight.”

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Mahershala Ali Could Have Been Basketball Player If Not For Acting; Bio

Ali was born on February 16, 1974, in Oakland, California. He was raised nearby Hayward where he grew up to be a talented athlete, particularly in basketball. His father was working out of New York City as an actor and Ali was somehow exposed to theater and film through summertime visits to his father. 

Ali in his early age wanted to pursue a career in basketball rather than in acting. That is why he attended college with a basketball scholarship. He completed his bachelor of arts degree in mass communications from St. Mary's College in Moraga, California.

Meet His Talented Wife, A Mother, & Artist Sami Karim

Along with his successful professional career, Ali has a successful married life. His wife, Sami Karim, is not only a wife, a mother but is also an artist with a wide range of artistic pursuits, including music (EP - Broken Compass), composition, and music videos.  

He first met his wife, Sami-Karim, at the Tisch School of the Arts and soon after, the two started dating. They later got married in 2013.

Shared Love: Actor Mahershala Ali shares a photo with his Sami-Karim.(Photo: Mahershala Ali's Instagram)

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Together, the two share not only love but also share a beautiful daughter named Bari Najma Ali. 

Stand Out Performances, An Oscar, Movies, and TV Shows

In 1997 Ali successfully auditioned for New York University’s graduate acting program. Being in his final year of NYU’s graduate program in 2000, Ali got the lead in the independent film “Making Revolution” and the play The Great White Hope which began his acting career. Along with films, he has also played in various TV series some of which include Crossing Jordan(2001), Haunted(2002), NYPD Blue(2002), CSI(2003), The 4400(2004), and the list goes on. His performance in  “The Wronged Man” in 2010 garnered a large heap of praise from the audiences and critics alike.

In 2008, Ali got his first major film, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button which can be considered as the movie that propelled him to stardom and opened the door for other big-screen opportunities in movies like Crossing Over, Predators and The Place Beyond the Pines.

In 2013, Mahershala got the breakthrough role of Remy Danton on the popular Netflix series, House of Cards. The series is which based on political drama proved to be a lucky charm for Ali. After that, the flood gates just opened up for him. He was cast in top performing movies like The Hunger Games, Moonlight and most recently Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. His outstanding performance in the film Moonlight won him an Oscar in 2018.

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His emergence in the film industry has seen his fan following increase by a mile. However, he seems to be interested a lot more in getting involved in television shows but has not completely stepped aside from the film industry.

Stand-Out Performance: Actor Mahershala Ali as his character Wayne Hays in Series True Detective (

Ali, through his outstanding performances and his undying dedication towards his passion, has made a name for himself as one of the top actors in operation today. However, he has not let his fame get to his head as he remains humble as he has always been.