American actor Michael K. Williams, best known for his memorable role as Omar Little on The Wire, has died aged 54.
Williams, who was born in Brooklyn in November 1966, found fame in his early twenties as a professional dancer, appearing in numerous videos and touring with artists such as Madonna. His break into feature film occurred in 1996 when he was cast as High Top by Tupac Shakur in the film Bullet.
Williams’s fame sky-rocketed in 2002 when cast as Omar Little in the HBO show, The Wire. Williams bought an authentic edge to the role, earning him a plethora of accolades.
He also memorably co-starred in the critically acclaimed series Boardwalk Empire – playing the role of Albert “Chalky” White.
Williams amassed several accolades during his career, including five Emmy nominations. His most recent Emmy nomination was for his role on the HBO series Lovecraft Country.
Williams’s resume on the big screen was also impressive. He appeared in Gone Baby Gone (2007), The Gambler (2014), and 12 Years A Slave (2012), amongst many more.
Williams revealed earlier this year that he was seeking mental health treatment after struggling with his Emmy-nominated performance. Speaking on the Tamron Hall Show, he noted that he was taking therapy seriously after looking inward to play the role of Montrose Freeman.
In a 2017 interview with the New York Times, Williams spoke candidly about his struggles with substance abuse.
“Addiction doesn’t go away.” He added: “It’s an everyday struggle for me, but I’m fighting.”
Marianna Shafran, his long-time rep, told the Hollywood reporter: “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 insurmountable loss.”
Williams was a man who battled his demons, but he was also a man who bought joy to many through his varied roles.
Words by Ricky Carroll
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