Michael K. Williams, Star of ‘The Wire’ and ‘Boardwalk Empire,’ Found Dead at 54


Michael Okay. Williams, who memorably portrayed Omar Little in “The Wire” and Chalky White in “Boardwalk Empire,” has died at age 54. The New York Police Division confirmed to Selection that the actor was discovered lifeless on Monday at 2 p.m. inside his Brooklyn residence.

Williams was an everyday on many acclaimed HBO collection, together with “The Wire,” “Boardwalk Empire,” “The Evening Of” and “Lovecraft Nation,” performed Leonard on SundanceTV crime collection “Hap and Leonard” and had a recurring function on J.J. Abrams’ “Alias.” He additionally acted in acclaimed movies together with “Inherent Vice,” “12 Years a Slave,” “Gone Child Gone” and “The Street.”

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The actor’s work typically attracted awards consideration, together with three Emmy nods for excellent supporting actor in a restricted collection or film for his work in “When They See Us,” “The Evening Of” and “Bessie.” He’s presently in Emmy rivalry for excellent supporting actor in a drama collection for his work on “Lovecraft Nation.”

He was additionally recognized for his comedy roles, together with biology professor Marshall Kane on “Group.” Although he shot a small function in “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” his function was minimize after reshoots would have required he minimize brief filming on the Netflix function “The Purple Sea Diving Resort.”

HBO stated in a press release, “We’re devastated to be taught of the passing of Michael Kenneth Williams, a member of the HBO household for greater than 20 years. Whereas the world is conscious of his immense abilities as an artist, we knew Michael as a pricey pal who was beloved by all who had the privilege to work with him. We ship our deepest condolences to his household for this immeasurable loss.”

Williams landed his career-making function in 2002 as Omar Little in “The Wire,” David Simon’s critically-acclaimed crime collection. One of many collection’ most memorable characters, Omar Little was a sawed-off shotgun-toting Baltimore stickup man. “Omar is that this dark-skinned outspoken man within the hood who didn’t care what anybody considered him,” Williams instructed the New York Instances in 2017. “He’s the whole lot I wanted I may very well be.”

The depth of his roles typically exacerbated his struggles with medication, he defined in a number of interviews, and he stated he was utilizing cocaine each throughout taking pictures of “The Wire” and “The Evening Of.” “The characters that imply probably the most to me are those that rattling close to kill me. It’s a sacrifice I’ve chosen to make,” he instructed the NY Instances.

Along with his appearing, Williams had additionally branched out to nonfiction storytelling, notably internet hosting and govt producing a 2016 docuseries for Viceland known as “Black Market With Michael Okay. Williams.” A lot of Season 2 of the present had been accomplished previous to his demise.

Williams was born in Brooklyn; his mom was from the Bahamas and his father from South Carolina. Raised within the Vanderveer housing tasks in East Flatbush, he had already developed a drug drawback as a teen. After getting knifed when he tried to intervene in a battle exterior a bar on his 25th birthday, Williams ended up with a big scar throughout his face. He started getting jobs dancing in music movies for acts together with George Michael and Madonna earlier than getting forged in his first movie function as Tupac Shakur’s brother within the 1996 movie “Bullet.”

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