Famed Actor Michael K. Williams Has Died


Image via Vox

Ryan Gorneault, Entertainment Editor

Michael K. Williams, known for his roles in television shows such as “The Wire” and “Boardwalk Empire,” has died at the age of 54. He was found dead in his New York City apartment this past Monday, September 6th, 2021. The cause of death has not yet been revealed. Neither has an autopsy or toxicology report been released.

“It is with deep sorrow that the family announces the passing of Emmy nominated actor Michael Kenneth Williams.” Said his representative Marianna Shafran of Shafran PR. “They ask for your privacy while grieving this unsurmountable loss.”

The entertainment industry responded in shock to the news of Williams’ death, posting tributes and telling their favorite stories. Rapper Freddie Gibbs tweeted, “First big role I auditioned for I lost it to Michael K Williams… I wasn’t mad I was actually proud that my name was even next to his.” and basketball legend Kareen Abdul-Jabbar expressed, “The death of Michael K. Williams shocked and saddened me. He added a compelling intensity to every role.” 

Many responded to the news with stories about his kindness, generosity, and zest for life. Podcaster Danny Peña tweeted, “A few yrs ago, I contacted Michael K Williams to be on our podcast to talk about his work on Battlefield 4. Michael didn’t ask about our stats or anything, no PR or agent. He was just so genuinely excited about the project. He truly loved what he did.”

Before beginning his career as an actor, Williams was a street dancer who occasionally went on tour with artists such as George Michael and Madonna. Eventually, though, he would join the National Black Theatre in his home city of New York and made his cinema debut in the 1996 movie “Bullet” alongside Mickey Rourke and Tupac Shakur.

Eventually, Williams would star in the HBO hit television drama “The Wire” as Omar Little, a role that would land him two NAACP Image Award nominations. His portrayal of Little, a gay Robin Hood-esque criminal that subverted expectations and broke down stereotypes, was considered so revolutionary that President Barack Obama considered him as one of his favorite television characters.

In the coming years, Williams would go on to star in the critically acclaimed prohibition-era gangster show “Boardwalk Empire,” the Academy-Award winning movie “12 Years a Slave,” limited series “When They See Us,” and horror drama series “Lovecraft Country.” In addition, he appeared in shows such as “Law & Order” and its spinoff “Law & Order : Special Victims Unit,” “Community,” and his own VICELAND documentary show “Black Market.” In addition, he did voice and motion capture work in the video games “Battlefield 4” and “Battlefield 2042.”


Michael K. Williams will forever be missed.