Actor Michael K. Williams, known fondly from his role on HBO’s “The Wire” was reportedly found dead in his New York apartment on Monday afternoon (September 6). His rep confirmed his death to the Hollywoord Reporter. He was 54.
Law enforcement sources told the New York Post that drug paraphernalia was found in the apartment, suggesting a possible overdose. He was repordely found dead in the living room of his Brooklyn penthouse by his nephew, sources told the NY Post.
Williams has been public in the past about his problems with addiction. He told NJ.com in a 2019 interview, “I was playing with fire,” Williams says. “It was just a matter of time before I got caught and my business ended up on the cover of a tabloid or I went to jail or, worse, I ended up dead. When I look back on it now, I don’t know how I didn’t end up in a body bag.”
Marianna Shafran, his long-time-rep, told the Hollywood Reporter, that his family asks for privacy.
“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 unsurmountable loss,” said Shafran.
Williams is survived by his mother.
Williams received an Emmy nomination earlier this year for outstanding supporting actor in a drama series for his role as Montrose Freeman in HBO’s Lovecraft Country and for his role as Bobby McCray, the father of Antron McCray in When They See Us.
HBO provided a statement to THR about Williams’ sudden passing. “We are devastated to learn of the passing of Michael Kenneth Williams, a member of the HBO family for more than 20 years. While the world is aware of his immense talents as an artist, we knew Michael as a dear friend who was beloved by all who had the privilege to work with him. We send our deepest condolences to his family for this immeasurable loss.”
Born in Brooklyn on Nov. 22, 1966, Williams grew up in the Vanderveer housing projects in East Flatbush, Brooklyn and attended the George Westinghouse Career and Technical Education High School. He eventually got jobs as a dancer working with heavyweights such as George Michael and Madonna before pursuing his acting with the National Black Theatre in New York City. his first professional acting role was in 1996’s Bullet opposite Mickey Rourke and Tupac Shakur. Williams became most famous for his role as Omar Little in the Baltimore-based TV series The Wire and as Chalky White in Boardwalk Empire.
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