Michael Okay. Williams, the mesmerizing actor and five-time Emmy nominee greatest recognized for his function as Baltimore stick-up man Omar Little on HBO’s The Wire, has died, his rep informed The Hollywood Reporter. He was 54.
“It is with deep sorrow that the household declares the passing of Emmy-nominated actor Michael Kenneth Williams. They ask in your privateness whereas grieving this insurmountable loss,” his longtime rep, Marianna Shafran of Shafran PR, stated.
Williams was present in his Brooklyn residence on Monday afternoon, a New York Police Department rep informed THR. No reason for dying was instantly out there.
More just lately, Williams portrayed Montrose Freeman on HBO’s Lovecraft Country, for which he acquired a 2021 Emmy nomination for excellent supporting actor in a drama collection — the awards are Sept. 19 — and was Bobby McCray, the daddy of Antron McCray (Caleel Harris), who satisfied his son to signal a false confession, on Ava DuVernay’s 2019 Netflix miniseries When They See Us.
The frequent HBO star additionally performed racketeer Chalky White on Boardwalk Empire from 2010-14 and the inmate Freddy Knight on the 2016 miniseries The Night Of.
“We are devastated to be taught of the passing of Michael Kenneth Williams, a member of the HBO household for greater than 20 years,” an announcement from the community stated. “While the world is conscious of his immense skills as an artist, we knew Michael as an expensive good friend 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.”
And the gravelly-voiced Williams starred as offended Vietnam veteran Leonard Pine for 3 seasons (2016-18) on the SundanceTV drama Hap and Leonard.
Williams was born in Brooklyn on Nov. 22, 1966. His mom was from the Bahamas and his father was from South Carolina. He was raised within the Vanderveer housing tasks in East Flatbush and attended George Westinghouse Career and Technical Education High School within the borough.
“Growing up, I acquired picked on quite a bit,” he informed Time journal in 2017. “I used to be the corny one. I used to be not fashionable with the women. In a really alpha-male group, being delicate shouldn’t be thought-about a top quality.”
He excelled in road dancing and danced on excursions fronted by the likes of George Michael and Madonna earlier than pursuing performing with the National Black Theatre in New York City, and he made his onscreen debut in Bullet (1996), starring Mickey Rourke and Tupac Shakur.
The rapper had seen a photograph of Williams — who by then had a distinguished facial scar on account of a combat on his twenty fifth birthday — and helped him get employed to play his brother.
Williams guest-starred on episodes of such reveals as The Sopranos, Alias and Boston Legal earlier than touchdown on David Simon’s The Wire in 2002. He would seem on 42 episodes earlier than Omar met his finish within the fifth and last season.
“Omar grew to become an alter ego,” he stated. “A homosexual man who doesn’t like fancy garments or fancy automobiles, doesn’t do medicine, doesn’t even curse and robs probably the most gangster drug sellers locally. He’s an outcast, and I recognized with that immensely. Instead of utilizing it as a instrument to perhaps heal myself, I hid behind that. Nobody was calling Michael within the streets. Everything was Omar, Omar, Omar. I mistook that admiration. It felt good. But it wasn’t for me. It was for a fictional character. When that present ended, together with that character, I used to be clueless about learn how to cope with that. I crumbled.”
In 2008, then-Sen. Barack Obama known as The Wire his favourite TV collection and Omar his favourite character. “That’s not an endorsement. He’s not my favourite individual, however he’s an enchanting character,” Obama stated.
Williams responded in a 2012 interview with The Guardian, saying, “Doing one thing that warrants the eye of the president of the United States is super-cool” earlier than acknowledging that his most well-known character was “a typical dude” who lived by codes. “That was one of many issues that Obama beloved about him, that he lives by his codes.”
Wrote Simon on Twitter: “Too gutted proper now to say all that should be stated. Michael was a effective man and a uncommon expertise and on our journey collectively he at all times deserved the most effective phrases. And in the present day these phrases gained’t come.”
Williams additionally acquired Emmy noms for his work within the 2015 telefilm Bessie, The Night Of, Vice — he explored the problem of younger folks in jail in 2018 — and DuVernay’s When They See Us.
He performed convict-turned biology professor Marshall Kane on NBC’s Community in 2011-12.
His big-screen résumé included Gone Baby Gone (2007), Antoine Fuqua’s Brooklyn’s Finest (2009), The Road (2009), Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave (2013), The Gambler (2014), Assassin’s Creed (2016), SuperFly (2018) and Motherless Brooklyn (2019).
Working on Lovecraft Country, he informed co-star Jonathan Majors in a dialog organized by THR, “modified me for the higher.”
“I perceive now the significance of remedy, which I’m in,” he continued. “I perceive that I’ve trauma, that we’ve got trauma that impacts us that we weren’t even alive to see — blood trauma. I used to be clueless to all of that previous to the Lovecraft journey.”
In a 2011 interview with soon-to-be THR awards analyst Scott Feinberg, Williams was requested how he want to be remembered.
“Man, I simply need folks to recollect me as one cool-ass dude, you already know? Someone who cared,” he replied. “And I might by no means need anybody to say, ‘Oh, he overlook the place he got here from.’ That would damage me probably the most.”
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