‘True Blood’ Star Nelsan Ellis’s Funeral Will Be Open to the Public

Nelsan Ellis
Courtesy Emily Gerson Saines

A public funeral for “True Blood” star Nelsan Ellis will be held on Saturday, July 22 at Holy Temple Cathedral in Harvey, Ill., a suburb south of Chicago.

Prior to the funeral, there will be a public viewing on Friday, July 21 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Leak & Sons Funeral Home in Country Club Hills, Ill. Pastor Tyrone Gaston will officiate Saturday’s service, starting at 11 a.m.

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Ellis died July 8 from heart failure complications at age 39. His family issued a statement attributing the heart failure to longtime alcohol and drug abuse.

The actor was born in Harvey, Ill., and lived in Alabama with his aunt and siblings before moving back to Chicago at age 15. After joining the Marines for a short period of time, he studied at Illinois State University and went on to get a degree from Juilliard School. In addition to his fan-favorite role as Lafayette Reynolds on HBO’s “True Blood,” he also appeared in “The Soloist,” “The Butler,” “Elementary,” and “The Help.”

Ellis is survived by his grandmother, his father, and his son, Breon, as well as seven siblings.

Donations may be made to Restoration Ministries’ Nelsan Ellis Foundation.

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  1. Vanese says:

    I will truly miss you, Nelsan! I looked forward to watching True Blood every Sunday, without fail, because I knew you would be in it. There was never a dull moment watching you in that show. Lafayette Reynolds will always be my favorite character on the show. I will especially miss his richer-than-velvet voice. You brought so much joy to everyone watching the show. I went through some rough times in my own life, and I found comfort in some of the quotes that Lafayette would dish out. I, too, will binge watch the entire series in your honor. R.I.P., Sweet Nelsan. My condolences to your entire family. Gone but never ever forgotten!

  2. Bobby Freeman says:

    Rest in peace my brother, you was kist scratching the surface in regards to your gift. Despite whatever you may have done in your life will never take away from the the impact of your craft and how we appreciated it, god bless Brother Ellis.

  3. Jeanie De`Ann Sullivan says:

    Thank you Nelsan Ellis for your wonderful gift of superb acting that you shared with the world. It was an utter joy to watch you transform yourself into the lovable character you created and brought to life on the series True Blood. You always gave it your all and you were an absolute delight to watch as “Lafayette Reynolds”. I watched the show for seven years and I am binge watching it again in your honor. You gave so much joy to the world in your short time here on earth and we are thankful for all the love and laughter you shared with us. Your beautifully bright spirit will live on forever. Rest In peace sweet Nelsan. Love, Jeanie De`Ann Sullivan

  4. I thank you Nelsan,for your gifts me and my wife and kids love your talent,please continue to work your talent in your after life,Me and my family thank8 an award winning actor in our eyes heart and soul and we thank you for giving us your best, Love You

  5. Shirley cordes says:

    I loved him as Lafayette , he helped make that show….he was excellent, he was also good on Elementary. …..God bless and be with him, and his family. ..sorry to hear he is gone…..am glad we can still enjoy him on tv, so he will live on….

  6. I love. You and miss you very much you. Will not be forgotten god less you and we will meet again one say with God’s love you will always be important

  7. Marlitt Arnouville says:

    Nelson Ellis was a rare talent, he will be greatly missed RIP😥

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