Wire actor Michael Kenneth Williams has died at the age of 54

Michael K. Williams, actor Omar Little, brought a tough sophisticated charisma to the role of the pruning-off-shot gun-welding stickup man. HBO Series The Wire, He was found dead Monday at his home in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, police said. He is 54 years old.

Her longtime spokeswoman, Marianna Shaffron, confirmed the death in a statement and said the family was “deeply saddened” by the “immense loss”.

According to the New York City Police Department, Williams was found at 2 p.m. The overdose of the drug is being investigated, and the cause will be determined by the city medical examiner.

Like Omar Little on the Wire, David Simon explores the five-season epic corruption, drugs and police brutality underground on HBO, while Williams played perhaps the most memorable role in the series considered by many to be one of the best shows in television history.

Michael Kenneth Williams Omar Little in The Wire. (Photo: HBO)

In a story about a lone wolf who is largely defined by continuing fights between police and various crime bosses and staff, Omar is one of the leading antiheroes of the prime era in a TV era. He is a homosexual and openly portrays the black masculinity of television on television, in the gay world of murder and drugs.

“I saw a lot of homosexuality in my community,” Williams told the New York Times in 2019. “Omar definitely helped to undermine homosexuality in my community and it definitely opened up a conversation.”

Williams grew up in the eastern Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn, where he said he never imagined life outside the borough. But before he was 30, he starred in dance roles with singers George Michael and Madonna, and choreographed the video for the Crystal Waters hit single, 100% Pure Love. He got his first acting opportunity when he caught the attention of Tupak Shakur.

At the age of 25, Williams got the scar, which became his signature physical feature and it helped define him as an actor. As he was spending his birthday at a bar in Queens, a man slashed his face with a razor blade during an altercation. After that, the directors no longer wanted him as a backup dancer; They wanted him in “Thug Rolls”, he told NPR in 2014.

After seeing his Polaroid in the Topeka production office, the rapper decided to play his brother in the 1996 film Bullet, opposite Gunner Mickey Rourke.

Michael Kenneth is dead Williams’ work as Omar Little Stickup Man in “The Wire” made him one of the most memorable characters in the history of television. (Demetrius Freeman / New York Times)

After starring as a drug dealer in Martin Scorsese’s 1999 film Bringing Out the Dead, Williams played a minor role in an episode of “The Sopranos”, a loving father who agrees to help hide the son of a dead mafia boss. With that job, he felt like he had come to be an actor, he told Vanity Fair‌ in an interview last year. He’s not lost on being one of the few people on the show, and in general, those characters end up “floating with fish”. But he felt it was a monument to act as a “killed pawn” as a black man on the show.

Then came The Wire. Before he could play this role, Williams was indebted to himself for being “lost” and took money from his family to live on. He was watching television in the living room when his episode was over The Sopranos Come and look at himself on the screen and realize that he is sitting around wasting his talent.

“I went back to our mom and I said, ‘You know what, I think I need to give the show business another shot,’ he told Vanity Fair.

Williams founded The Wire as one of the best actors in television and he starred in acclaimed series such as Boardwalk Empire, The Night Off and When We Rise. He has received five Emmy Award nominations, one of the upcoming Primetime Emmy Awards this month. He was nominated this year for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for his role as Montrose Freeman. HBO Show Lovecraft Country.

He also appeared in several films, including 12 Years a Slave and The Road. He recently starred as Doc Broads, Boxer Trainer and Mentor in the George Foreman biopic.

Off-camera, however, Williams battled drug addiction in some cases, a battle he openly discussed in interviews. He spent most of his earnings on drugs from The Wire, which led him out of a suitcase on the floor of a house in Newark, New Jersey, in an article he described with experience in nj.com in 2012.

Michael Kenneth Williams was born on November 22, 1966. His mother immigrated from the Bahamas, worked as a seamstress and later operated a daycare center from the Wandereweer Estates, now living in Brooklyn, a public housing complex known as Flatbush Gardens. His parents separated when he was a child.

When Williams starred as Omar in The Wire, he returned to Vanderweir Estates to improve his character, drawing up increased figures and experiences, he told the Times in 2017.

“As most of us see it from the neighborhood, Mike is like a prophet of projects,” Darrell Wilde, 50, who grew up with Williams in Vanderweir, told the Times. “He represents the people of this environment to the world.”

Williams used his prominent position to support a number of causes in the United States and the Bahamas, especially criminal justice reform, and he was the ACLU’s ambassador for ending mass imprisonment, appearing in a related advertising campaign.

He told the New Yorker in 2014, “Arresting people for a small, non-violent charge, such as marijuana, drug addiction or mental illness, or destroying people’s lives is not the way to go.” He said: “They are health issues, not criminal issues.”

Michael Kenneth Michael K. Williams hanged with old friends on June 2, 2017 on a basketball court in Brooklyn. (Demetrius Freeman / New York Times)

On and off screen, Williams engages in discussions about systemic racism between the Black Lives Matter movement. He followed in the footsteps of America’s racist history while studying for his roles as the father of Anton McCrae, one of the teenagers who raped a woman in Central Park, in Duvernay’s miniseries “When They See Us”. History is not remote to him: in 1989, when the so-called Central Park Five – then teenagers – prosecution began, Williams was living in New York City in his 20s, afraid of what it would mean as a black man.

“You, brother, have touched many,” Duvernay wrote in an Instagram post on Monday. “Through your personal interactions big and small, through your community activism, through your struggles, through your successes, through your amazing work. You moved a lot of people. You moved me.”

Simon, who wrote and directed The Wire, posted a photo of Williams on Twitter on Monday, saying it was “too hard” to say more about “a good man and a rare talent who always deserves good words”.

Williams, until the very end, emphasized to his characters that they had their own power, just as they had their own personalities.

“He doesn’t care what anyone thinks of him,” Williams said of Omar from The Wire in a 2020 interview with GQ. “He has a huge moral compass and he is not afraid to express it. I’m the opposite of the full pole. I was scared many times when I was growing up. I have very low self – esteem and need to admit a lot. The only thing I share with Omar is his sensitivity and ability to love and his ability to love deeply. .I know it’s in me. “

Williams is survived by his mother, Paula Williams, his brother Paul Carrie and his nephew, Dominic Dupont.


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