Berlin / New York – Series fans know the actor Michael K. Williams from his roles as homosexual street gangster Omar Little in “The Wire” and as alcohol smuggler Chalky White in “Boardwalk Empire”. His face was quickly imprinted, also through a striking scar that he had drawn on his 25th birthday. During a violent altercation in a bar in Queens, his face was slit open with a razor blade by an opponent. After the injury healed, the scar remained – and Williams was hired for several music videos and as a model.
With Omar Little, Williams created one of the most popular and enduring characters in a new heyday of television. Now Williams has died at the age of only 54, he was found dead by family members in his penthouse apartment in Brooklyn on Monday afternoon, according to the New York police.
A drug overdose has also been investigated as a possible cause of death, the NYPD said. Williams, who began his career doing minor television roles and as a backing dancer for hip-hop acts before getting the role of his life, once said that his reputation as a serial gangster stuck to him in real life as well. “Omar’s character put me in the limelight,” New York-born Williams said on Stephen Colbert’s Late Show in 2016. “So suddenly I think, Omar, yo, I get respect from people who probably would have taken my meal money as a kid.”
Williams is the son of a Bahamian mother and an American from South Carolina, where his African American family is deeply rooted. He grew up in Brooklyn and, after getting into trouble as a teenager, enrolled at the National Black Theater in New York City. One of his first acting roles was alongside Tupac Shakur in the 1996 movie Bullet. Shakur reportedly chose Williams after spotting a Polaroid photo of him in a studio.
His sudden death caused consternation and deep sadness among Hollywood stars. Singer Mariah Carey tweeted on a photo shared with Williams: “A wonderful soul, a beautiful person who I will miss forever. Thank you for blessing us with your talent. ”
Actor Mark Wahlberg referred in his mourning tweet to the hit series he produced, “Boardwalk Empire”, in which Williams had shone as Chalky White: “RIP, Michael, you were so brilliant in ‘Boardwalk Empire’. You are missed very much. “Alec Baldwin, who starred with Williams for the film” The Public “in 2018, wrote:” It was a pleasure working with Michael K. Williams. He was … is … an extraordinarily expressive and unadulterated actor. Rest in peace.”