Michael K. Williams has passed away Deadline is reporting. The actor was pronounced dead in his New York City home on Monday with the cause unknown at the time of this writing. He was 54 years old and will leave a legacy of iconic roles on the small screen. A family member confirmed his passing to Deadline with the New York City police department following up with confirmation as well.
Michael K. Williams first gained acting acclaim when he was cast as Omar in HBO’s The Wire. Dealing with the lives affected by the drug trade in and around Baltimore, Williams’s Omar Little was a staple of the show. The character was a combination Robin Hood/ superhero of sorts who was known throughout the show as someone who would target and eventually rob drug dealers. In the series, the tagline “Omar coming” became his calling card and the character’s arc lasted all five seasons. He was phenomenal in the role and his signature look and style really made him one of the faces of the series.
The actor was known for the large scar that had down his forehead, the result of a bar fight in New York City. But for his first big role, it played perfectly, looking every bit the part of Omar Little who commanded the streets and was as tough and cunning as advertised. The Wire co-star Wendell Pierce had this to say on Twitter about the passing of Michael K. Williams.
Another The Wire co-star Domenick Lombardozzi also posted his condolences about Micheal K. Williams. By all accounts, the latter was a thoughtful and kind man who endeared himself to nearly everyone he came across in the industry and out of it.
Over the years Michael K. Williams has taken all manner of roles but he would follow The Wire up with another HBO series in Boardwalk Empire. In this one, a retelling of the rise of Atlantic City through the machinations of Steve Buscemi’s Nucky Thompson, Williams played Albert “Chalky” White a local gangster in the area. Again, he was fantastic in this role as well, the head of an African-American gang in the city.
In more recent years, Michael K. Williams continued to do fantastic work on screen with a number of award nominations along the way. He was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award in 2015 for his role as Jack Gee in the HBO biopic film Bessie. He was then nominated again for another Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie for his role in The Night Of.
Most recently, Michael K. Williams had taken on another critically acclaimed role in Misha Green’s Lovecraft Country, another HBO series. He played Montrose Freeman in the series and is currently up for another Supporting Actor Emmy. He took home the Critic’s Choice Award already.
Michael K. Williams passing is a tremendous loss. He was one of the more talented actors of his generation, a truly iconic actor who took on difficult roles and crushed every time out. We are sure to learn more details about his passing in the coming days. He will be missed.