On CBS’s “Sunday Morning,” Washington remembered observing the younger actor on the set of the upcoming Netflix film “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” and telling the then-unmarried Boseman that he should wed Ledward.
“I used to watch how she took care of him, and I actually said to him … ‘Man, you need to put a ring on that finger,’” the Oscar-winning actor recalled during an interview with correspondent Tracy Smith. “She kept her eye on him and she watched him. … I was like ‘Man, she loves that guy.’”
Boseman, who made his final movie appearance in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” died in August after a yearslong battle with colon cancer. He was 43.
Washington, a producer on the film, said he didn’t know at the time that Boseman had cancer. The “Black Panther” star did not speak publicly about his diagnosis.
Boseman and Ledward had been romantically linked together for years. He gave her a sweet shoutout during a 2019 NAACP Image Awards acceptance speech, when he won Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture.
“Simone, you’re with me every day. I have to acknowledge you right now. … I love you,” he said on stage.
Boseman portrays trumpet player Levee in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” an adaptation of August Wilson’s 1982 play about the famed blues singer. Viola Davis stars as the titular character in the film, which is set for release Dec. 18.
Washington praised Boseman’s performance, saying on “Sunday Morning” that “he delivered.”
“Chad will live forever, period,” Washington said, nodding to Boseman’s many notable roles over the years.
The two men had publicly applauded each other in the past. In 2019, when Washington received the 47th American Film Institute Life Achievement Award, Boseman delivered a speech at the ceremony, sharing how Washington had helped boost his career.
When he was a theater student at Howard University, Boseman said he became the beneficiary of a donation from Washington, which paid his way to attend a summer theater program at the University of Oxford.
“Imagine receiving the letter that your tuition for that summer was paid for and that your benefactor was none other than the dopest actor on the planet,” Boseman said.
He later added, “There is no Black Panther without Denzel Washington.”
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