Meet "The Last of Us" Actor Keivonn Woodard: Young Deaf Child Prodigy
Keivonn Woodard is a young actor. He is known for working on television shows such as Fractal and Seeds of Hope: The Andrew Jackson Foster Story.
Similarly, his most known role is Sam in the American post-apocalyptic HBO drama series The Last of Us, based on the 2013 video game developed by Naughty Dog.
He plays the role of a deaf, artistic child who is unnerved by "violent revolutionaries." His character was not deaf in the game, but for the television series, the production house made the character open to having a deaf person.
According to his sources, the child prodigy Woodard is the "first black deaf young actor ever to be featured in a TV series by a major studio."
So, what is his age? Who are his parents? What other roles has he taken on? All of the rising star's personal and professional information can be found here.
What Is The Age Of Keivonn Woodard?
Keivonn Woodard was born in 2013 in Bowie, Maryland, in the United States. As of now, he is nine years old.
There are no reports of his father; however, his mother's name is April Jackson-Woodard. She is also deaf and an actress.
She revealed in an interview that they are a sixth-generation black deaf family. She also discussed her acting journey, which was difficult as a black deaf girl.
“I had a major in acting, and I really hit a lot of barriers being deaf, Black. That's not what they were looking for."
April is now living the dream through her son and enjoying every moment with him. Currently, she works as his manager.
In an interview with the Daily Moth, the proud mother shared her experience of Keivonn being deaf and working in a huge studio.
She revealed that, despite her reluctance, the overall experience was very good and surreal.
The overall experience was incredible. It was important to me to always be discussing with him how he was feeling and how he felt working with his team.
"I had the expectations, of course, that him being Deaf, I was ready for barriers, and problems to happen, but that was not the case at all! I’m thankful we had such a great team that was receptive and motivated along with us. We were very fortunate to have that great team."
All of Keivonn's family members are very proud of him and his achievements.
Also see: Actor/Dancer & Last of Us Alum Kevin Sateri: Biography
Acting Career Highlights
Keivonn Woodard made his acting debut in 2018 with a small role in the movie Seeds of Hope: The Andrew Jackson Foster Story, written and directed by Gary Brooks.
The movie starred stars such as Kojo Amissah, Jason Antal, Evon Black, Juwan Blackwell, Charles Chuck Bowie, and Tyresha Collins.
As per IMDb:
The movie is about a person who was "the first deaf African American to graduate from Gallaudet College in 1954 and worked toward achieving his dream of establishing 32 deaf schools in Africa."
Similarly, his upcoming project is a short titled Fractal, directed by Anslem Richardson and written by Richardson.
He is in the lead role and is sharing the screen with Lurendran Hubbard and Carlease Burke. The film is currently in post-production and will be released in late 2023.
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Plays Sam In The Last of Us TV Series
Keivonn Woodard came into the limelight following his role as Sam in the American post-apocalyptic HBO drama series "The Last of Us," created by Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann.
The show is based on the 2013 video game developed by Naughty Dog. He plays the role of Sam, "a deaf, artistic child who is hunted by violent revolutionaries alongside his brother Henry (played by Lamar Johnson)".
The show is about a global pandemic of destruction. "After a global pandemic destroys civilization, a hardened survivor takes charge of a 14-year-old girl who may be humanity's last hope."
The series follows "Joel (Pedro Pascal), a smuggler tasked with escorting the teenage Ellie (Bella Ramsey) across the post-apocalyptic United States."
The Last of Us premiered on January 15, 2023, and received huge acclaim from both fans and critics. The pilot was watched by 4.7 million viewers on the first day—the second-biggest for HBO since 2010.
The series was renewed for a second season in January 2023.
Related content: Trans Actor Ari Rombough Wikipedia: Role In The Last Of Us
Who Voices Sam In The Last of Us Video Games?
In the video game "The Last of Us," American actor Nadji Jeter voiced the character Sam. He has also voiced other iconic characters such as Miles Morales in the animated series Spider-Man, the video games Spider-Man, Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order, and Spider-Man: Miles Morales.
Similarly, his other movie and TV roles include Grey's Anatomy, Everybody Hates Chris, Grown Ups, Grown Ups 2, Reed Between the Lines, and many more.
The Last of Us video game was released in 2013 by Naughty Dog and published by Sony Computer Entertainment.
Players control Joel, who uses firearms and improvised weapons "against hostile humans and cannibalistic creatures infected by a mutated fungus."
The game became one of the best-selling video games, selling over 1.3 million units in its first week and 17 million by April 2018.
It also won year-end accolades, including many Game of the Year awards, and is cited as one of the greatest video games ever made.
The game became a huge success and a phenomenon and "spawned a media franchise, including a comic book in 2013, a live show in 2014, a sequel in 2020, a television adaptation by HBO in 2023, a tabletop game by Themeborne in 2023, an untitled multiplayer game, and an upcoming tabletop game by CMON."
Keivonn Woodard Has Been Playing Hockey Since He Was Four
Apart from being an actor, Keivonn Woodard is also a professional hockey player. As per the sources, he has been playing the sport since he was four, and his dream is to become the first black deaf hockey player in the National Hockey League.
He currently plays for his local team in Bowie, and his coach, Chris Pozerski, gave an interview talking about his favorite players' acting careers.
"[We] gave him a nickname -- Hollywood -- a couple of weeks ago, just because when he scores a goal, everybody knows because he likes to celebrate".
He also said that Woodard is really good at hockey and is on his way to becoming a national player.
He also revealed how his teammates help him.
“Some of the kids are learning sign language to try to help him, or they just want to communicate more, and it's inspiring to see".
The coach continued:
"I mean, these are 9 and 10-year-olds that just want to include him in everything, and Keivonn just wants to play.”
The team develops and maintains a light system that helps him understand plays and referee calls during the game.
Pozerski then proceeded to talk about being proud of Keivonn and all his hard work and achievements.
"Just because you may be deaf, or have something else that might restrict you in other facets of life, it's not going to out here, and we'll do everything we can to be as inclusive as possible for that."
Earnings And Personal Life
Keivonn Woodard is still in the early stages of his career, so estimating his earnings and net worth is premature.
According to sources, an average child's earnings on TV shows can be up to $1000 per episode, $3000 per week; on Broadway, it can be up to $2000 per week; and on movie shows, it depends on the movie, but an average figure is $10k.
As per his personal life, Woodard is juggling his hockey and acting careers. He is also busy with his education and doing everything else that a nine-year-old would love to do.
He also has a message for other aspiring deaf actors. In an interview, he stated:
I would say, you don’t have to be afraid! Don’t be afraid to try it out. Because that’s what my parents told me – to not be afraid to try out. I was a bit afraid at first, but I went ahead and overcame that, auditioned, and got the role with The Last of Us! I was mind-blown.
Similarly, his mother, April, also shared a message for parents of deaf children who want to do something in the entertainment industry.
Just support your children, foster and nurture their dreams. We as parents have to make adjustments and some sacrifices too. To give up my job to take off for Canada for two months and two weeks… Would I do it all again? Yes, absolutely.
"I will do anything for my son Keivonn and his future and potential. My message to you parents, it’s crucial to support your child. You never know how they may bloom in the future when it comes to their skills and network. Encourage them in whoever they want to be."
They surely are an inspiring mother-son duo.