Hollywood and fans continue to mourn the shocking and untimely death of beloved actor Michael K. Williams. On Monday, Sept. 6, news broke that the star, best known for his work in several hit television series — from HBO’s “The Wire” to most recently “Lovecraft Country,” was found dead by a family member in his Brooklyn, New York, penthouse apartment. He was just 54 years old.
For many television fans, perhaps their initial point of reference for the New York native may arguably have been his role as the fictional character Omar Little, a “criminal with a strict moral code” in the drama series based parts of Baltimore, Maryland — West Baltimore in particular — that had been plagued with drugs and violent crime.
Williams, who earned minor positions on television and worked as a backup dancer for hip- hop acts before landing the part as Omar, often expressed how the role changed the trajectory of his career and even joked that he got “respect from people who probably would have took my lunch money as a kid.”
Many of Williams’ former castmates took to their social media pages, offering their condolences and reflecting on their personal relationship with the Emmy-nominated actor. Wendell Pierce, who starred as Detective Bunk Moreland on the show, penned a touching tribute, writing, “The depth of my love for this brother, can only be matched by the depth of my pain learning of his loss.” He added, “A immensely talented man with the ability to give voice to the human condition portraying the lives of those whose humanity is seldom elevated until he sings their truth.”
Actor Clarke Peters, who recently appeared in Spike Lee’s “Da 5 Bloods” and starred as Lester Freamon on the “The Wire,” confessed to being “conflicted” over Williams’ death. He noted, “Angry because he could have reached out and didn’t, instead led us to believe he was alright. Sorry that another Brothers life has been wasted. We can do better than this. Talk to a brother! RIP.”
“I can’t…I’m crushed 💔 no words,” wrote Tray Chaney. “I love you bro. RIP to the legend Michael K Williams aka one of the dopest Actors/Brother in the world. #Omar #TheWIRE FOR LIFE. I’m off the grid for a while hard to process this one. I love you bro smh damn 🤦🏿♂️ 😥😥😥.”
The show’s creator, David Simon, wrote on Twitter that he was “Too gutted right now to say all that ought to be said.” But, he added, “Michael was a fine man and a rare talent and on our journey together he always deserved the best words. And today those words won’t come.”
Williams was found in his apartment Monday afternoon. The New York Police Department told The Associated Press that his death is currently being investigated as a possible drug overdose. Williams is currently nominated for an Emmy for his role in “Lovecraft Country.” A win at the Sept. 19 ceremony would be his first after five nominations — none of which were for the “The Wire.”