Donald Glover, the actor who appeared in The Martian, Magic Mike XXL and the sitcom Community, and Childish Gambino, the rapper behind the hit album Because the Internet, are one in the same. The 32-year-old actor, who is not related to Lethal Weapon star Danny Glover, is also the Golden Globe-winning star of Atlanta.
On October 21, 2016, Glover was cast as Lando Calrissian in the Han Solo stand-alone Star Wars movie.
During his Golden Glboes acceptance speech, Glover thanked his son and the mother of his child. Their names have not been made public.
Here’s a look at the life and career of Glover.
1. Fans Really Wanted Donald Glover to Play the New Spider-Man, but He Did End Up With a Role in ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’
When news broke that Sony was planning a new Spider-Man movie, which ended up being 2012’s The Amazing Spider-Man, fans started an online movement on Twitter to get Glover the role after Glover randomly tweeted that he’d like to play the part. Marvel’s Stan Lee even voiced support for the movement. However, Glover didn’t even get an audition and the part went to Andrew Garfield.
In 2011, Brian Michael Bendis introduced Miles Morales in the Marvel Ultimate universe and Bendis admitted that Glover had inspired the character. He saw the episode of Community where Glover wore a Spider-Man costume as an inside joke and it inspired Bendis to create a half-African-American/half-Latino Spider-Man.
“He looked fantastic!” Bendis told USA Today in 2011. “I saw him in the costume and thought, ‘I would like to read that book.’ So I was glad I was writing that book.”
Later, Glover got a chance to play Morales, voicing the character last year in Ultimate Spider-Man. Glover then nabbed a role in the latest Spider-Man movie, Marvel and Sony’s Spider-Man: Homecoming. Although his role is still a mystery, Comic-Book.com reported that Glover enjoyed the shoot.
“It’s really great,” he said in August. “I had a really great time on that set. [Director Jon Watts is] doing a really good job as a director. It was really fun to be home.”
Glover will work with Disney again because he’s just been cast as Lando Calrissian in Phil Lord and Christopher Miller’s Young Han Solo movie. The directors said in a statement:
“We’re so lucky to have an artist as talented as Donald join us. These are big shoes to fill, and an even bigger cape, and this one fits him perfectly, which will save us money on alterations. Also, we’d like to publicly apologize to Donald for ruining Comic-Con for him forever.”
2. Glover Was Only 21 Years Old When Tina Fey Hired Him to Write for ’30 Rock’
Glover’s comedy talent was brought to television by Tina Fey. He was a member of the comedy troupe Derrick Comedy while at New York University and also a member of the Upright Citizens Brigade. As Time Magazine notes, Amy Poehler suggested to Fey that she hire him.
Fey picked him to write for 30 Rock. He was only 21 at the time. He also appeared in four various roles during the series and was behind the “Warewolf Bar Mitzvah” sketch.
In 2011, Rolling Stone put him on their list of eight comedians who would change the face of comedy. The magazine noted that he was voted “Most likely to write for The Simpsons” in high school, but his mother only let him watch The Muppets. After earning fame, he also got a cameo role in the 2011 Muppets movie.
In 2009, Glover’s life really changed when he was cast as Troy Barnes in NBC’s Community. The show was always on the brink of cancellation, but somehow made it to six seasons. Glover left the show during season five to focus on developing Atlanta.
3. Glover Said He Was Once Racially Profiled by Police When He Was in Las Vegas to Perform
In a 2013 interview with the Huffington Post, Glover revealed that he was once racially profiled by police when he was in Las Vegas to perform at the Life Is Beautiful festival. He was with his parents when he was refused entry to the venue, even though he was on the bill.
Basically what happened was I was standing there, and a police officer came up and was like, ‘Uh, are you lost or something?’ And I was like, ‘Oh great, he’ll help.’ So I was like, ‘Yeah, I’m performing in two seconds, my parents are here–‘ and he just cuts me off and is like, ‘Get off the street, get on the sidewalk.’ And I get on the sidewalk and he drives away. They don’t wanna help me.
Glover said that a second officer showed up and yelled at them to get out of the street. When Glover’s friend told the police to chill, the officer screamed in fear, Glover said. Glover added that he was really disappointed because he was trying to do something nice for his parents, but the officer had embarrassed him.
“He didn’t want to help. He was just afraid,” Glover said of the police officer. “I felt like that was the essence of a lot of things.”
In the same interview, Glover stressed that the shooting death of Trayvon Martin was not an isolated incident. He added that just because he had a good upbringing in Stone Mountain, Georgia, it doesn’t mean he’s looked at any differently. “People I guess assume, because I’m me, they think that I’m some black kid who is really lucky and has rich parents,” he said. “I grew up in Stone Mountain, [Georgia] but even if I was rich, I’m still a black guy.”
4. Glover Got the Name Childish Gambino From a Wu-Tang Clan Name Generator
The name Childish Gambino has a funny origin. In 2011, Glover told Jimmy Fallon that the name came from a Wu-Tang Clan name generator. He put in his name and “Childish Gambino” came up. As Glover explained:
We were all hanging out, chilling and drinking and then we were like, “oh, Wu-Tang name generator, let’s put our name in.” And we’re putting them all in, and they’re all funny and stuff, and then mine came up and I was like, ‘you guys, it’s not funny anymore. This is something big.’ I just really liked it.
Childish Gambino made his debut with March 2011’s EP, which was followed by the full-length album Camp in November 2011. Glover recorded several mixtapes before then, dating back to 2008’s Sick Boi.
In 2013, he released his acclaimed second album, Because the Internet, which debuted at No. 7 on the Billboard album chart with 96,000 copies sold in its first week. The album was certified Gold by the RIAA.
Glover has an estimated net worth of $8 million, Celebrity Net Worth estimates.
5. Glover Hopes ‘Atlanta’ Becomes ‘Iconic’ & Vows That Season Two Will Be a ‘Classic’
Although Glover had roles in Ridley Scott’s The Martian and Magic Mike XXL alongside Channing Tatum, Glover is hoping that Atlanta becomes what he is really known for. The series centers on two cousins who plan to break into the music scene. But Glover has much higher aspirations.
“I studied a lot of black iconography. The show is me trying to make something iconic,” Glover told Time Magazine.
He also explained the show’s thesis:
The thesis was: How do we make people feel black?. It turned into something more attainable than that, but that was the idea. I was like, ‘Let’s make something that shouldn’t be on the air, something controversial.’ If it’s canceled in 10 episodes, I’ll be happy with those episodes.
In his Vulture interview, he said he makes his music and Atlanta with the goal of making them classics that can stand the test of time.
“With this show, with this music, I’m just trying to make classics,” Glover explained. “The second season of Atlanta will be a classic.”