‘The Wire’ actor Michael K Williams dead at 54

Michael K Williams

Actor Michael K Williams, best known for playing the character Omar Little in the TV show The Wire, has died aged 54.

The actor passed away in his Williamsburg Penthouse, his body was discovered by his nephew. No cause of death has been released at this time.

William’s character on The Wire was a fan favourite. Omar Little was a ‘Robin Hood’ type of character who inhabited the rough streets of Baltimore. A violent stick-up merchant who robs street level drug dealers with a shotgun. The character was also homosexual and displayed a tender nature with his partners in stark contrast to his life of crime. Critics hailed Williams’ performance, declaring Omar one of television’s greatest characters.

Raised in Brooklyn, Williams got his start at New York’s National Black Theatre. He cited the release of Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation album as an inspiration that sparked his desire to become a dancer. He went on to work with dance artist Kim Simms, and toured and appeared in music videos alongside many artists including Madonna, George Michael and Crystal Waters.

After appearing alongside Tupac Shakur in the movie Bullet, he landed his role on The Wire. Initially he was told he would be appearing on just seven episodes of the show, but Omar Little went on to be one of the show’s central characters appearing in all five seasons of the series.

He also appeared in many other TV series including Law and Order, The Sopranos, Boston Legal, Alias, Community and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. He also appeared in several feature film roles.

Michael K Williams had recently been nominated in the Best Supporting Actor category at the upcoming Emmy Awards for his role as Montrose Freeman in HBO’s Lovecraft Country.

OIP Staff

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