Actor Michael K. Williams, Omar on ‘The Wire,’ dead at 54

NEW YORK – Actor Michael K. Williams, who as the rogue robber of drug sellers Omar Very little on “The Wire” created one particular of the most beloved and enduring figures in a prime period of television, died Monday.

Williams was discovered useless Monday afternoon by loved ones users in his Brooklyn penthouse apartment, New York Town law enforcement mentioned. He was 54.

His dying was becoming investigated as a achievable drug overdose, the NYPD claimed. The health-related examiner was investigating the induce of dying.

Minor, a “stick-up boy” dependent on genuine figures from Baltimore, was possibly the most popular character amid the devoted followers of “The Wire,” the HBO show that ran from 2002 to 2008 and is re-viewed consistently in streaming.

Williams was also a ubiquitous character actor in other reveals and films for far more than two a long time, building yet another common character as Chalky White in HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire” from 2010 to 2014, and showing in the movies “12 Yrs a Slave” and “Assassin’s Creed.” He is up for an Emmy for his position in HBO’s “Lovecraft Region.” A get at the Sept. 19 ceremony would be his initial in four nominations.


As Tiny, he played a legal with a rigorous ethical code, recognized for using gain of a reputation for brutality that was not normally real.

Williams, who had labored in little Television set roles and as a backup dancer for hip-hop acts prior to landing the job, had claimed that standing began to stick to him in true life.

“The character of Omar thrusted me into the limelight,” he instructed Stephen Colbert on “The Late Show” in 2016. “I had pretty small self esteem developing up, a large require to be accepted, a corny kid from the initiatives. So all of a sudden, I’m like, Omar, yo, I’m having regard from folks who possibly would have took my lunch revenue as a child.”

With smoke from his cigarette usually wafting by the darkness, the character would whistle the melody identified to American youngsters as “The Farmer in the Dell” and British youngsters as “A Looking We Will Go” to ominously announce his arrival.

And he spoke numerous of the show’s most unforgettable strains, like, “a guy gotta have a code” and “all in the recreation yo, all in the video game.”


The character also broke Television ground as an overtly gay person whose sexuality wasn’t central to his role.

Williams appeared in all five seasons of “The Wire” from 2002 to 2008, his character increasing in prominence with each individual season.

Instantly recognizable with a distinct scar that ran the duration of his facial area, Williams explained most individuals who noticed him on the avenue identified as him “Omar,” but he hardly ever really resembled the character.

“I could never ever be Omar,” he advised Colbert with a laugh. “I did not have the balls that dude experienced.”

His “Wire” co-stars, and several other people, paid him tribute Monday afternoon.

“The depth of my like for this brother, can only be matched by the depth of my discomfort studying of his reduction,” Wendell Pierce, who played Detective William “Bunk” Moreland and had several memorable scenes with Williams, explained on Twitter. “An immensely gifted person with the ability to give voice to the human situation portraying the life of those people whose humanity is seldom elevated until he sings their reality.”


David Simon, who produced the exhibit and Williams’ character, reported on Twitter that he was “Too gutted suitable now to say all that ought to be reported. Michael was a wonderful guy and a scarce expertise and on our journey collectively he always deserved the most effective phrases. And these days individuals phrases will not occur.”

Isiah Whitlock Jr., who played crooked politician Clay Davis on “The Wire,” tweeted that Williams was “One of the nicest brothers on the world with the most significant coronary heart. An wonderful actor and soul.”

Actor John Cusack tweeted that his portrayal of Small was “Among the finest performances television and movie has ever observed.”

Williams was born in 1966 in Brooklyn, the son of a mom from Nassau, Bahamas, and a father from South Carolina. He was raised in the Vanderveer Tasks in East Flatbush, Brooklyn, and went to George Westinghouse Career and Technical Schooling Large Faculty.


His initially forays into leisure have been as a dancer for artists which include Missy Elliot, Ginuwine, Crystal Waters and Technotronic.

“I was offended and I experienced a great deal of electrical power,” he told The Linked Push in 2018. “It was these an outlet. I was not the ideal dancer, you know, by much, but I was certainly the most passionate. I generally experienced this power. You normally felt me whether or not I was in sync or not with the other men.”

Williams had been operating with a New Jersey charity to sleek the journey for previous prison inmates searching for to reenter modern society, and was performing on a documentary on the matter.

He spoke in an Involved Press tale in 2020 of his tough time expanding up, and explained he had struggled with drug addiction, which he had spoken frankly about in interviews in recent decades.


“This Hollywood issue that you see me in, I’m passing via,” he mentioned. “Because I consider this is where my passion, my intent is supposed to be.”


Affiliated Push Writer Tom Hays contributed from New York. Dalton reported from Los Angeles.


Stick to AP Amusement Writer Andrew Dalton on Twitter:

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‘The Wire’ actor Michael K. Williams dead at 54

Tue Sep 7 , 2021
Michael Kenneth Williams, a solid member in the HBO series “The Night Of,” poses for a portrait throughout the 2016 Tv Critics Affiliation Summer season Press Tour at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, Calif. Williams, who played the beloved character Omar Little on The Wire, has died. New York […]