Everybody remembers Fortune from "Rudy". The grounds crewman at Notre Dame with the cold, hard exterior, but a heart of gold on the inside.
In real life, the actor who portrayed him is named Charles S. Dutton.
You may also remember him as the star of the popular sitcom “Roc”. He also appeared in many films such as Alien 3, A Time to Kill, Cookie’s Fortune, and Gothika. Charles was born on the east side of Baltimore on January 30, 1951 and raised in Baltimore’s Latrobe housing project. He dropped out of school before finishing middle school. When he was just 16 years old, he pleaded guilty to manslaughter after a knife fight and was sentenced to five years in prison. Out on parole, he was arrested again for robbery and handgun charges and was sentenced to three years in prison.
While in prison, he got into a fight with a guard, and eight years was added to his sentence. Several months into his second prison term, Charles was sentenced to six days in solitary confinement for refusing to clean toilets. Prisoners were allowed to take one book into solitary confinement and Charles grabbed the wrong book by mistake, an anthology of black playwrights. He enjoyed the book so much that upon his release from solitary confinement he petitioned the warden to start a drama group for the winter talent show. The warden agreed under the condition that Charles goes back to school and get his GED. Not only did Charles accomplish that goal, he also completed a two-year college program at Hagerstown Junior College (now Hagerstown Community College) graduating with an Associate of Arts degree in 1976.
Charles was paroled on August 20, 1976. After his release, he enrolled as a drama major at Towson State University (now Towson University) in Towson, Maryland, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1978. After his time at Towson, Charles earned a master’s degree in acting from the Yale School of Drama in 1983, where two of his classmates were Angela Bassett and Courtney B. Vance.
The moral of the story- it does not matter where you start, it's where you finish that defines you. It's never too late.
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