July 29, 1972
Schenectady, New York, United States
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Imagine going online and finding out that, according to the Internet, Leonardo DiCaprio had requested that you be eaten alive by dogs. Well, for Ato Essandoh, that was a very real event, as rumors circulated in early 2014 that DiCaprio, deep in character as a vicious slave holder, demanded that the almost-unknown actor be killed as the cameras rolled during a scene for Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained" (2012). Essandoh played the urban legend off as a lark that for the first time made his name better known, albeit for odd reasons. Essandoh was born in New York to two emigrants from Ghana. He grew up with acting being the farthest thought from his mind, as he went to Cornell University to study chemical engineering. However, after a girlfriend convinced to try out for a school play, Essandoh was bit by the acting bug. It took him a while to become a professional actor, though, as he first debuted in a bit role on the drama "Third Watch" (WB 1999-2005) at the age of 29 in 2001. After a number of small roles, he was featured in Zach Braff's "Garden State" (2004) in the memorable role of Titembay. He continued playing small roles throughout the rest of the decade, including parts in "Hitch" (2005) and "Blood Diamond" (2006). Following his work on "Django Unchained," he guest starred on several TV shows, including the historical drama "Copper" (BBC 2012-13), the Sherlock Holmes reboot "Elementary" (CBS 2012- ), and the procedural drama "Blue Bloods" (CBS 2010- ).