‘The Wire’ Actor Michael K. Williams Dies at 54
Tragic news out of the world of television today, as multiple sources are reporting that Michael K. Williams, the prolific film and television actor best known for his role as Omar on The Wire, has died. His death was confirmed by his publicist to The Hollywood Reporter. Williams’ body was found in his Brooklyn apartment by his nephew on Monday. He was only 54 years old.
Williams was born in 1966 in Brooklyn and raised in East Flatbush. He got his distinctive facial scar during a bar fight on his 25th birthday when he was slashed with a knife. He worked as a dancer in music videos before he got his breakthrough role as Omar Little on The Wire. The character was initially only planned to appear in a handful of episodes in the series’ first season, but Williams was so electric in the role, that Omar wound up recurring on all five years of the series. Tough, resourceful, and bound by a rigid moral code, he became a fan favorite — even President Barack Obama cited him as his favorite character on The Wire.
Although Williams remained best known for playing Omar, he worked steadily in film and television in the 10-plus years since the show went off the air. On the big screen he appeared in films like Inherent Vice, 12 Years a Slave, Ghostbusters, Assassin’s Creed, Superfly, and Motherless Brooklyn. On television he starred on HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, The Night Of, and Lovecraft Country, along with Hap and Leonard, The Kill Point, and The Philanthropist.
Some alumni of The Wire have weighed in on Williams’ death:
Williams had created some of the most memorable characters on television over the last 25 years, and he was still a young man; she should have had decades of great performances ahead of him. This is just a terrible loss.