Idris Akuna Elba (born 6 September 1972) is a British television, theatre, and film actor who has starred in both British and American productions. Idris Elba grew up in Canning Town, East London. One of his first acting roles was in the soap opera Family Affairs. He has worked in a variety of TV roles including Ultraviolet and The Inspector Lynley Mysteries. He is also known for playing Russell "Stringer" Bell, the drug dealer who aspired to become a high powered businessman, in HBO's The Wire. Elba is also a DJ under the moniker DJ Big Driis / Big Driis the Londoner, and a hip-hop soul recording artist.
In 2009, Elba began playing a character in NBC's television hit series The Office. He was in six episodes playing Charles Miner, Michael Scott's new boss. In 2010, he appeared in Dark Castle Entertainment's adaptation of DC/Vertigo’s The Losers, under the direction of Sylvain White in the role of Roque, the second-in-command of a black-ops team out for revenge against a government that did them wrong. The same year, he will also appear in the thriller Takers starring Hayden Christensen, T.I., Chris Brown, and Paul Walker. In September 2009, Elba took the lead in a 6-part BBC television show called Luther aired from May 4, 2010 on BBC One.
Elba, an only child, was born Idrissa Akuna Elba, and shortened his first name at school in Canning Town, where he first became involved in acting. His father is Sierra Leonean and his mother is Ghanaian. Elba grew up in East Ham. He began helping an uncle with his wedding-DJ business at age 14, and within a year had started his own DJ company with some friends. He left school at 16 and won a place in the National Youth Music Theatre—thanks to a £1,500 Prince’s Trust grant – but then ended up having to do everything from tire-fitting to cold-call advertising sales to pay the rent between roles in Crimewatch murder reconstructions. He was working in nightclubs under the DJ nickname Big Driis by the age of 19, but began auditioning for television parts in his early twenties. After a stint in the National Youth Music Theatre, Elba worked the night shift at a Ford factory in Dagenham, London in 1989 and '90. Elba started acting in secondary school (Trinity Comprehensive, Barking Road, Canning Town) with encouragement from his drama teacher(Susan McPhee).