New details have emerged on Chadwick Boseman’s tragic death from colon cancer. The acclaimed actor passed away last week at the age of 43, and his death came as a shock to many who weren’t even aware that he was even sick. THR reports that this privacy was by design as “Only a handful of non-family members knew that Boseman was sick, including producing partner Logan Coles, longtime agent Michael Greene, trainer Addison Henderson and 42 director Brian Helgeland — with varying degrees of knowledge about the severity of the actor’s condition.” No one involved with Black Panther knew Boseman was battling cancer.
While some have speculated that a major film like Black Panther would need a medical examination for insurance purposes, film finance attorney Schuyler Moore tells THR that completion bonds are more prevalent in the indie filmmaking world. “Sometimes, the big studios will look to insure for a particular actor, but they usually have a particular reason for doing so,” said Moore. “Otherwise, studios will just shoulder the risk [of sickness or death].”
I’m glad that Boseman was able to keep his diagnosis private because that was clearly his wish. While we like to believe that celebrities owe us the details of their personal lives, they don’t. And honestly, they don’t even really owe it to their employers. Boseman was hired to do a job, and he did it remarkably. And he really thought he was going to beat his cancer diagnosis and continue playing Black Panther. It’s remarkable he was able to fight cancer while also filming movies since 2016, but that’s only a testament to his strength and character.
Although some will speculate what this means going forward for the industry and if actors will now be forced to take medical examinations, I think the larger lesson should be that people are entitled to their privacy, especially because they may be fighting battles we know nothing about.