‘The Wire’ Star Michael K. Williams, 54, Found Dead in NYC Apartment

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MARCH 07: Michael K. Williams poses for the 2021 Critics Choice Awards on March 07, 2021 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images for ABA)
Arturo Holmes/Getty Images for ABA

Michael K. Williams, the award-winning actor perhaps best known for his iconic role as Omar, a gay, shotgun-toting vigilante in the HBO hit drama series The Wire, was found dead in his apartment in Brooklyn on Monday. Police said the actor was found by a family member. He was 54.

The New York Post reported: 

Drug paraphernalia was found in the five-time Emmy nominee’s apartment, suggesting the acclaimed 54-year-old actor may have fatally OD’d, possibly from heroin or fentanyl, sources said.

Michael K. Williams as Omar on “The Wire.” (HBO)

In a 2015 interview with The Guardian, Williams said he was addicted to cocaine by the third season of The Wire. 

Williams also landed roles in hit series and film from HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, alongside Mark Wahlberg in The Gambler (2014), Kill the Messenger, and Lovecraft Country. 

Michael K. Williams is Chalky White in the period gangster drama “Boardwalk Empire.” (HBO

 

His death was being investigated as a possible drug overdose, the NYPD said.

Little, a “stick-up boy” based on real figures from Baltimore, was probably the most beloved character among the devoted fans of “The Wire,” the HBO show that ran from 2002 to 2008 and is re-watched constantly in streaming.

The Brooklyn-born Williams was also a ubiquitous character actor in other shows and films for more than two decades, including roles on the HBO series “Boardwalk Empire” and “Lovecraft Country,” and in the films “12 Years a Slave” and “Assassin’s Creed.”

As Little, he played a criminal with a strict moral code, known for taking advantage of a reputation for brutality that wasn’t always real.

A cigarette in his mouth, he would whistle “The Farmer in the Dell” to ominously announce his arrival.

And he spoke many of the show’s most memorable lines, including, “a man gotta have a code” and “all in the game yo, all in the game.”

The character also broke TV ground as an openly gay man whose sexuality wasn’t central to his role.

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

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