Beloved actor Michael K. Williams, 54, was found dead Monday afternoon in his apartment in his native Brooklyn, according to reports. Investigators are looking at whether Williams died by overdose, police said.
Born, Michael Kenneth Williams, he was best known for his remarkable work on The Wire, which ran for five seasons on HBO. The actor's bio states: the wit and humor that Williams brought to Omar, the whistle-happy, profanity-averse, dealer-robbing stickup man, earned him high praise and made Omar one of television’s most memorable characters. For his work Williams was nominated in 2009 for an NAACP Image Award for “Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series.”
Williams also co-starred in HBO’s critically acclaimed series Boardwalk Empire, which premiered in 2010. In the Martin Scorsese-produced show, Williams played Chalky White, a 1920s bootlegger and impeccably suited veritable mayor of the Atlantic City’s African-American community. In 2012 Boardwalk Empire won a Screen Actors Guild Award for” Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series.” The third season of Boardwalk Empire launches in the fall of 2012.
His other television credits include Community, Law & Order, CSI, The Philanthropist and Boston Legal. He also had a recurring role on The Sopranos and J.J. Abrams’ Alias.
Williams made his feature film debut in the urban drama Bullet, after being discovered by the late Tupac Shakur. He also appeared in Bringing Out the Dead, which was directed by Martin Scorsese. His other film work includes roles in The Road, Gone Baby Gone, Life During Wartime, I Think I Love My Wife, and Wonderful World.
An activist, Williams created Making Kids Win, a charitable organization whose primary objective is to build community centers in urban neighborhoods that are in need of safe spaces for children to learn and play.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Williams began his career as a performer by dancing professionally at age 22. After numerous appearances in music videos and as a background dancer on concert tours for Madonna and George Michael, Williams decided to seriously pursue acting. He participated in several productions of the La MaMA Experimental Theatre, the prestigious National Black Theatre Company and the Theater for a New Generation directed by Mel Williams.