Q: I was looking at some old-school R&B music videos, and I saw one particular video by a female artist whose name I forget. Did my eyes deceive me when I thought I saw famous actor Don Cheadle as a dancer?

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No, your eyes were showing you "the Real Thing." The video you saw was for Angela Winbush's 1989 hit "It's the Real Thing," in which Cheadle appears as one of a team of orange jumpsuit-clad backup dancers who are washing Winbush's sportscar.

The great irony is that, of the many dancers in her troupe, Cheadle is given the least amount of acting work. A few others get to ham it up while wiping down the car while one even gets a line, saying, "Hot wax?"

Cheadle does, however, get the most dancing work. He's at the front of the group for all of the dance sequences, and his high-kicking moves, while they may seem a little dated now, are unarguably impressive.

Bear in mind, this was in the early stages of Cheadle's slow rise to fame. It was, for example, two years before he got fourth billing in the short-lived "Golden Girls" spinoff "The Golden Palace," and six years before he first made waves in the movie biz with his award-winning role in the 1995 Denzel Washington picture "Devil in a Blue Dress."

Cheadle turned up in a number of surprising bit parts in this period, including a role as Will's friend Ice Tray in a 1990 episode of "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" and a role as a 16-year-old offender in a 1988 episode of "Night Court" (when he was, in fact, 23).

Cheadle has now returned to television with the hit Showtime series "House of Lies," in which he plays a cut-throat management consultant. The series, just now finishing up its first season, has already been renewed for a second.

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