Elvis Actor Found Dead

Shonka Dukureh dies in Nashville at age 44
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 22, 2022 7:00 AM CDT

Shonka Dukureh, who played Big Mama Thornton in this year's movie about Elvis Presley, was found dead Thursday in a bedroom at her home in Nashville, police say. She was 44. Nashville police say there were no signs of foul play, per the AP. Autopsy results are pending from the medical examiner. Dukureh, a Fisk University graduate and Nashville singer, shared the apartment with her two young children, police said. One of the children found her unresponsive and went to the apartment of a neighbor, who called 911 shortly before 9:30am, police said.

The actor—who appears on the Elvis soundtrack and in a music video with Doja Cat, with whom she shared the stage at Coachella this year—had a theater degree from Fisk and graduated from Trevecca Nazarene with an education degree, WPLN reports. In an interview with the station last month, Dukureh said she taught second grade for a while and then worked with inner city youth through after-school and summer programs. She said those students reached out after seeing her in Elvis. Last week on Instagram, she described how grateful she was for the opportunity.

(Read more obituary stories.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.