12 Actors Who Have Portrayed Iconic Activist Martin Luther King Jr.

Sydney Scott Apr, 04, 2018

On April 4, 1968, civil rights leader and icon Martin Luther King Jr. was murdered just one day after delivering his legendary “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” address at Mason Temple in Memphis, Tennessee. 

On that day, the world lost a revered leader in the fight for equality, but King’s legacy lives on in history and pop culture.

A number of actors, including King’s son Dexter Scott King, have paid homage to the slain hero through pop culture, carrying on his legacy in film.

From David Oyelowo to Courtney B. Vance, here are 12 actors who have portrayed Martin Luther King Jr.

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The legendary actor portrayed the activist in the 1982 miniseries Freedom to Speak.

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Burton portrayed King in 2001's Ali.

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Wright brought King to the screen in the 2001 TV movie Boycott. 

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The late actor played King in Lee Daniels' The Butler

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King's son portrayed his father in 2002’s The Rosa Parks Story.

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Guillaume, who passed away in October, played King in 1985's Prince Jack.

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Oyelowo received praise for his portrayal of King in Ava DuVernay's Selma

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Jackson brought King to the stage in the Broadway hit The Mountaintop.

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Vance played King in the TV miniseries Parting the Waters.

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Yoba played the iconic activist in 2013's Betty & Coretta. 

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Powell portrayed King in ABC's Selma, Lord, Selma.

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The late actor portrayed King in NBC's Emmy-winning three-part series King.