Movies & TV / News

The Wire Star Michael K. Williams Found Dead

September 6, 2021 | Posted by Ashish
Michael K. Williams Omar Wire

Michael K. Williams, best known for his iconic performance as Omar Little in The Wire as well as Chalky White in Boardwalk Empire, was found dead in his apartment in Brooklyn today, reports The New York Post.

According to the Post, drug paraphernalia was found in his apartment. They also report that Williams was found in the living room by his nephew.

Williams was 54 years old. A statement from the family’s representative (per Deadline) read:

“It is with deep sorrow that the family announces the passing of Emmy nominated actor Michael Kenneth Williams. They ask for your privacy while grieving this insurmountable loss.”

Williams was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York and got into acting when he enrolled at the National Black Theater in New York City. He actually began his professional entertainment career as a dancer, leaving school and quitting his job to pursue the path. He danced for the likes of George Michael and Madonna and choreographed the music video for Crystal Waters’ “100% Pure Love” in 1994.

His first major acting role came when Tupac Shakur found him and he was cast in the late rapper’s 1996 film Bullet as High Top. He appeared in episodes of Law & Order and in films like Bringing Out the Dead and Doing Hard Time before he was cast in the role of Omar Little in The Wire, which would become his signature role. Williams sought out the role and became an instantly recognizable actor due to his performance. Omar became an acclaimed character and helped propel the David Simon-created series into being a cultural touchstone of the era. Williams was nominated for two NAACP awards for his work in the role.

During his time as Omar, Williams worked on other shows including a small run on J.J. Abrams’ Alias and guest appearances in Boston Legal, Law & Order: SVU, and more. He also continued to work in film and appeared in Gone Baby Gone, The Incredible Hulk, and Spike Lee’s Miracle at St. Anna among other films.

Following the end of The Wire, Williams appeared in a host of major roles in film and television from 12 Years a Slave and The Purge: Anarchy to 2016’s Assassin’s Creed and a lengthy run on HBO’s Boardwalk Empire as Chalky White. His work for HBO also included an Emmy-nominated role in The Night Of and most recently as Montrose Freeman in Lovecraft Country. Elsewhere on TV, he starred in ABC’s queer rights docudrama When We Rise and the Netflix drama about the Central Park 5 When They See Us, which eared him another Emmy nomination.

On behalf of 411, our condolences to the family, friends, and many fans of Mr. Williams. He will most certainly be missed.

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Michael K. Williams, The Wire, Ashish