Michael R. by Sisak and Andrew Dalton
NEW YORK (AP) – Actor Michael Kay Williams, who created one of the most beloved and enduring characters in a major era of television as the evil outlaw of drug dealers Omar Little on “The Wire,” died Monday. Gaya.
New York City police said Williams was found dead Monday afternoon in a Brooklyn penthouse apartment by family members. He was 54 years old.
The NYPD said his death was being investigated as a possible drug overdose. Doctors were investigating the cause of death.
Little, a “stick-up boy” based on real Baltimore figures, was probably the most popular character among devoted fans of “The Wire”, the HBO show that ran from 2002 to 2008 and is frequently seen in streaming.
Williams was also a ubiquitous character actor in other shows and movies for more than two decades, creating another classic character as Chalky White in HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire” from 2010 to 2014, and “12 Years a Slave” and Appeared in the films “Assassins”. Accept. She is up for an Emmy for her role in HBO’s “Lovecraft Country.” The September 19 win ceremony will be her first of four nominations.
As Little, he played a criminal with a strict moral code, who was known to take advantage of a reputation for cruelty that was not always genuine.
Williams, who had worked in small TV roles and as a backup dancer for hip-hop before landing the role, had said that the prestige in real life had begun to stick with her.
“Omar’s character put me in the spotlight,” he told Stephen Colbert on “The Late Show” in 2016. So all of a sudden, I think, Omar, yo, I’m getting respect from people who might have taken my lunch money as a kid. “
With his cigarette smoke often waiting through the darkness, the character became known to American children as “The Farmer in the Dell” and to British children as “A Hunting We Will Go” to announce his arrival. Can go
And he talked about many of the show’s most memorable lines, including “A man’s gotta have a code” and “Yo in all games, in all games.”
The character also broke TV ground as an openly gay man whose sexuality was not central to his role.
Williams appeared in all five seasons of “The Wire” from 2002 to 2008, his character growing in prominence with each season.
Instantly recognizable with a distinctive mark running the length of his face, Williams said that most people who saw him on the street called him “Omar,” but he didn’t really resemble the character.
“I can never be Omar,” he told Colbert with a laugh. “I didn’t have the ball that man had.”
His ‘Wire’ co-stars and many others paid tribute to him on Monday afternoon.
Wendell Pierce, who played Detective William “Bunk” Moreland and had several memorable scenes with Williams, said on Twitter: “The depth of my love for this brother was matched only by the depth of my pain learning about his loss. can.” “An immensely gifted man who has the ability to voice the human condition, portray the lives of those whose humanity is seldom advanced until he sings their truth.”
David Simon, who created the show and Williams’ character, said on Twitter that he was “so sad to have to say whatever needs to be said right now. Michael was a good man and a rare talent and on our journey together he was always the best.” Words deserved. And today those words will not come.”
Isiah Whitlock Jr., who played devious politician Clay Davis on “The Wire,” tweeted that Williams was “one of the coolest brothers on the planet with the biggest heart. An amazing actor and soul.”
Actor John Cusack tweeted that his portrayal of Little was “one of the greatest TV and film performances ever.”
Williams was born in 1966 in Brooklyn, the son of a mother from Nassau, Bahamas, and a father from South Carolina. He was raised at VanderVeer Projects in East Flatbush, Brooklyn, and went to George Westinghouse Career and Technical Education High School.
Her first foray into entertainment was as a dancer for artists including Missy Elliot, Genuine, Crystal Waters and Technotronic.
“I was angry and I had a lot of energy,” he told the Associated Press in 2018. “It was such an outlet. I wasn’t the best dancer I’ve ever been, you know, but I was definitely the most passionate. I always had this energy. You always made me feel like I was in sync with other people.” whether I’m sitting or not.”
Williams was working with a New Jersey charity to facilitate travel for former prison inmates seeking to re-enter society, and was working on a documentary on the subject.
He spoke in an Associated Press story about his tough times growing up in 2020, and said he struggled with drug addiction, which he’s talked about openly in interviews in recent years.
He said, “This Hollywood thing in which you see me, I’m going through there.” “Because I believe that’s where my passion, my purpose, should be.”
Associated Press writer Tom Hays contributed from New York. Dalton reported from Los Angeles.