What is Danai Gurira’s Net Worth and Salary?
Danai Gurira is a Zimbabwean-American actress who has a net worth of $5 million. Danai Gurira is best known for her roles in “The Walking Dead” and various films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Danai began her professional career onstage, winning numerous awards for her work in the 2005 production of “In the Continuum”, an Off-Broadway play that she also wrote. From there, she began adding film and television credits to her resume. She has since appeared in such projects as “Law & Order: Criminal Intent”, “The Visitor”, “Ghost Town”, “Life on Mars”, “American Experience”, “Lie to Me”, “3 Backyards”, “My Soul to Take”, and “Restless City”. She also had a recurring role on “Treme” and has continued to work in the theater, appearing in “The Convert”, which she also wrote. In 2017 she appeared in the biopic about Tupac “All Eyez on Me” as Tupac’s mother, Afeni Shakur.
Gurira was born on February 14, 1978 in Grinnell, Iowa to parents Josephine and Roger Gurira. His mother worked as a college librarian and her father worked as a tenured professor in the Department of Chemistry at Grinnell College. They both later joined the staff of the University of Wisconsin – Platteville. Her parents had moved from what was at the time Southern Rhodesia to the United States in 1964. She was raised with her three older siblings. The family lived in Grinnell until December 1983, after which the family moved back to Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe, after Robert Mugabe rose to power in 1979.
She attended Dominican Convent High School in Zimbabwe. Afterward, she returned to the United States to study at Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota. She also got involved in theater acting during her time there. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology. She later earned a Master of Fine Arts in acting from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.
Gurira began her career by teaching playwriting and acting in Liberia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa. She has said that she began writing plays in an effort to better understand how to be a good actress and tell stories. In her capacity as a playwright, she has been commissioned by Yale Repertory Theatre, Center Theatre Group, Playwrights Horizons, and the Royal Court.
In terms of her theatre career, Gurira co-wrote and co-starred in “In the Continuum” first at Wooly Mammoth Theatre Company and later Off-Broadway. She won an Obie Award, an Outer Critics Circle Award, and a Helen Hayes Award for Best Lead Actress. It was also performed at Harare’s Theatre in Zimbabwe and it tells the story of two women who had contracted HIV.
In 2009, Gurira made her acting debut on Broadway in August Wilson’s play, “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone,” in which she played Martha Pentecost. In 2012, her play “The Convert” was premiered as a co-production between the Goodman Theatre in Chicago and the McCarter Theatre in New Jersey. The same year, she received the Whiting Award, which is annually presented to ten emerging writers, poets, and playwrights.
In January of 2015, a play written by Gurira, “Familiar,” opened at the Yale Repertory Theatre and it later premiered Off-Broadway in New York at Playwrights Horizons. The play is about family, cultural identity, and life as a first-generation American. In 2015, Gurira’s 2009 play, “Eclipsed,” was staged at The Public Theater. It starred Lupita Nyong, It was later announced that the play would move to Broadway in 2016. It was the first play to premiere on Broadway that featured an all female and black cast and creative team. The play is set in Liberia and focuses on three women who are living as sex slaves during the war. To write the play, Gurira had taken a research trip to Liberia in 2007 where she interviewed over 30 women affected by the war. In 2016, she received the Sam Norkin Award for “Eclipsed” and “Familiar.” “Eclipsed” was also nominated for the Tony Award for Best Play and won the Tony Award for Best Costume Design in a Play.
Film and Television
In addition to her work in writing and acting in theatre, she also has had an impression film and television career. In 2007, she starred in the drama film “The Visitor.” She won the Award for Best Supporting Actress at the Method Fest Independent Film Festival. She later appeared in the 2008 film “Ghost Town” and the 2010 films “3 Backyards,” “My Soul to Take,” and “Restless City.” In 2011, she appeared in the HBO drama series “Treme.”
In March of 2012, AMC announced that Gurira would join the cast of their horror-drama series, “The Walking Dead” in its third season. She plays the character of Michonne. For the role, she learned how to ride horses. She remained on the show through the tenth season, after which it was announced that she would be leaving. Her final episode aired in March of 2020.
While on “The Walking Dead,” she continued taking other acting roles as well. She played the lead role in the film “Mother of George” in 2013. The film premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. For her role, Gurira received critical acclaim. In June of that year, she won the Jean-Claude Gahd Dam Award at the Guys Choice Awards.
In 2017, she played the role of rapper Tupac Shakur’s mother in “All Eyez on Me,” the biopic about the rapper. She then landed a starring role in the Marvel film, “Black Panther,” which was released in February of 2018. In the film, she played the character of Okoye, the head of the personal bodyguards of the Black Panther. She again received critical acclaim for her performance. She reprised the role in “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Avengers: Endgame,” which were released in 2018 and 2019.
Gurira is a Christian and lives in Los Angeles. She often spends time in New York City as well. She speaks four languages – French, Shona, basic Xhosa, and English. She enjoys practicing Pilates and doing cross training.