Black Panther: Wakanda Tribe Actress Dorothy Steel Passes Away

By Richard Nebens Updated:
Black Panther, Dorothy Steel

One of Marvel Studios’ biggest projects on the way in 2022 is Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, a movie that will expand on the still mysterious hidden African nation and its people.

Featuring beloved characters like Danai Gurira’s Okoye and Letitia Wright’s Shuri, this sequel will be just the start of a Wakandan revolution of sorts within the MCU. The country made its mark on The Falcon and the Winter Soldier in flashbacks with Bucky Barnes and epic fights against Zemo, all before more Wakanda-centric Disney+ entries come into play later in Phase 4.

This all started with Marvel Studios’ first Academy Award-winning movie, Black Panther, which left a monumental impact on the comic book movie world in 2018.

That film featured Chadwick Boseman as its leading man, although the world is still mourning his unexpected passing more than a year after he lost his battle with cancer. Now, the Marvel world is learning of another star from the original movie that's moved on to the great beyond.

A Wakandan Tribe Leader Passes Away

Dorothy Steel, Black Panther

Hollywood agent Cindy Butler reported on Facebook that actress Dorothy Steel has passed away at the age of 95. Steel played the role of Wakandan Merchant Tribe Leader in 2018's Black Panther. This was perhaps the most notable role of her acting career, which began when she was 88 years old.

Butler closed out her statement by thanking Steel for the opportunity, paying tribute to the casting directors who hired her and her fans worldwide:

"Thank you Ms. Dorothy for giving me the opportunity to ride this wave with you. Thank you for all the Casting Directors who hired Ms. Dorothy. Thank you to the world for loving on her from afar. I received calls from all over the world wanting to interview or do a Bio pic of her life. She was very selective.

Per Ms. Dorothy, she told me to tell everyone that arrangements and flowers where to send will be posted via facebook. She was still telling me what to do. That was my Ms.Dorothy.............WAKANDA FOREVER"

Steel made another impact in pop culture by making a viral video shortly after the release of Black Panther, one that landed her a guest appearance on Steve Harvey's talk show:

A Fast and Furious Career for Dorothy Steel

Dorothy Steel took quite the unusual path into an acting career, taking her first role in Hollywood when she was already 88 years old.

Her death came after 11 credits on her resume, including a role in 2019's Jumanji: The Next Level, although her biggest mark came as the Merchant Tribe Leader in 2018's Black Panther. Showing strength and force of will that rivaled any character in the highly-praised solo movie, Steel's appearance was a memorable one in only a few minutes of screen time.

It was unclear if Steel was set to reprise her role in 2022's Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, but if she only had the chance to star in one MCU movie, it was certainly a memorable one.

Our condolences go out to Dorothy Steel's family and loved ones, including those at Marvel Studios.

- About The Author: Richard Nebens
Richard Nebens joined The Direct in March 2020, now serving as the site's Senior Writer and also working as an assistant editor and content creator. He started his journalism career as a hobby in 2019 and is passionate about sharing news and stories from the entertainment industry, especially comic book movies, comedy, and sci-fi. Richard looks to expand his knowledge about movies and TV every day, and he is eager to stay locked into the latest releases and breaking news at every opportunity.