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Dorothy Steel, ‘Black Panther’ Actress Who Began Acting at 88, Dead at 95

Black Panther” actress Dorothy Steel, who rose to fame for beginning her acting career at the age of 88, has died at 95.

Steel made headlines for landing the role at age 92 of a Wakandan tribe leader in the 2018 hit film, and was in the middle of filming the upcoming sequel when she died on Oct. 15, according to her publicist. “She went out strong,” a spokesperson told WSB-TV Atlanta.

Dorothy Steel in “Black Panther” Photo Credit: “Black Panther” screenshot

The Marvel franchise covered expenses to fly her home to Detroit so that she could be surrounded by friends and family in her final days.

The actress was cast in her first role in the 2015 TV series “The Trouble with Going Somewhere,” and throughout her time acting appeared in “Saints and Sinners,” “Jumanji: The Next Level” and “Poms,” among other projects.

Steel previously spoke in interviews about her own surprise at her late-in-life career change and initial hesitation being cast in the “Black Panther.” “If anyone would have told me I would be an actor, I would’ve said you got to be out of your mind,” Steel previously told WSB-TV.

“There is no way I’m going to be in no comic strip at my age,” she recounted telling her agent Cindy Butler, during an interview with Steve Harvey. “She was very persistent. I really have to give her credit, because she said, ‘Ms. Dorothy, you can do this.’ ” Her grandson also convinced her to seize the opportunity with a little tough love, telling her “Grandma you always talk about stepping out on nothing; let your faith take you there. Either you’re going to step out there, or you gon’ shut up.”

According to Steel, the Marvel team reached out to her an hour after she submitted her audition tape to offer her the part.

Butler confirmed the news of Steel’s death on her Facebook page and shared a heartfelt tribute to “my Ms. Dorothy.”

“Thank you Ms. Dorothy for giving me the opportunity to ride this wave with you. Thank you for all the Casting Directors who hired Ms. Dorothy. Thank you to the world for loving on her from afar,” she wrote. “I received calls from all over the world wanting to interview or do a Biopic of her life. She was very selective. Per Ms. Dorothy, she told me to tell everyone that arrangements and flowers where to send will be posted via facebook. She was still telling me what to do. That was my Ms.Dorothy…………. WAKANDAFOREVER”

Steel previously said that her “Black Panther 2” appearance would be her final role.

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