His interpretation of Omar, a character apart and unavoidable in the cult series The Wire, had made it famous: the American actor Michael K. Williams, several times nominated for the Emmy Awards, was found dead, Monday, September 6, in his apartment in Brooklyn, New York, at the age of 54 years.
“It is with deep sadness that his family announces the death of actor Michael Kenneth Williams (…). She asks you to respect her privacy during the bereavement linked to this insurmountable loss ”the actor’s family said in a message sent by his agent.
“He died in an apartment (…) in Brooklyn”, said the New York police, who gave no details, while several media have advanced the thesis of an overdose, citing police sources.
Tributes beyond cinema
During his career, Michael K. Williams, born in Brooklyn where he grew up in an African-American family, was nominated several times at the Emmy Awards, for his appearances in Bessie (2015), The Night of (2016) or When They See Us (2019). Its role in Lovecraft Country won him another nomination for the next awards night.
But it is by playing Omar Little, one of the most atypical and successful characters of The Wire, that the actor whose face was crossed out with a long scar became widely known and appreciated. From the announcement of his death, tributes did not take long in the world of series and cinema, but also beyond.
“Horrible, sad and unbelievable to think that we lost the fantastic and talented Michael K. Williams at the age of 54”, tweeted the great American writer Stephen King.
For many, the series The Wire by David Simon is one of the most successful stories in history.
Aired in five seasons on HBO between 2002 and 2008, the series follows the rivalries of small groups of drug dealers at the foot of sometimes dilapidated buildings and the work of police investigators, but season after season, David Simon is interested in it. a keen eye for detail in local politics, the media, education or the affairs of a harbor workers’ union.
An avowed drug addiction
In this often dark painting, Omar Little, one of the most violent and feared criminals, walks the streets of Baltimore, wrapped in a large coat, gun in hand. Michael K. Williams’ portrayal of this lonely homosexual criminal, with his own moral code and principles, has received critical acclaim.
In an interview with American radio NPR in 2016, he recounted how he himself struggled in his real life with his drug addiction while playing in The Wire.
Michal K. Williams had also played the role of Chalky White, a smuggler during the prohibition era, in Boardwalk Empire, or that of a powerful inmate in the famous New York prison of Rikers Island, in The Night Of.
In the cinema, he had notably had a role in Twelve Years A Slave (2013) by Steve McQueen, or Gone Baby Gone (2007) by Ben Affleck. The actor was soon to play Doc Broadus, George Foreman’s first trainer and mentor in a biopic on the great American boxer.