Elvis actor Shonka Dukureh dies a month after his big screen debut | Film

Actress Shonka Dukureh, who recently made her big screen debut as Big Mama Thornton in Baz Luhrmann’s new Elvis movie, has died aged 44.

Dukureh was found dead Thursday in a bedroom of her Nashville home, which she shared with her two young children, the Metro Nashville Police Department said.

One of the children found her unconscious and drove to a neighbor’s apartment, who called 911. Police said there were no signs of foul play. Autopsy results are pending from the medical examiner.

Dukureh portrayed blues singer Big Mama Thornton in the Elvis Presley biopic, which premiered worldwide in June.

Dukureh’s rendition of the song Hound Dog, which Thornton recorded in 1952, four years before Presley, went viral online after the film’s release.

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The actor and singer, who also shared the stage at Coachella this year with Doja Cat, had a degree in theater from Fisk University and a degree in education from Trevecca Nazarene, radio station WPLN-FM reported.

In an interview with the station last month, Dukureh said she previously worked as a second-grade teacher and worked with inner-city youth in after-school and summer programs.

She said those students reached out after seeing her in Elvis.

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