The Wire Star Michael K. Williams Dies At 54

The actor played Omar Little in the classic cop series, as well as Chalky White on BoardWalk Empire.


The Wire actor Michael K. Williams has died at the age of 54. The actor, who was also known for his roles in Lovecraft Country, Boardwalk Empire, and 12 Years a Slave, was found dead on September 6 in his Brooklyn apartment.

Williams was born in Brooklyn in November 1966. He worked as a model, dancer, and actor in small roles on TV and in music videos, before landing the role of Omar Little in David Simon's hugely influential HBO crime drama The Wire.

Omar was one of the most memorable characters in The Wire's large ensemble cast and Williams appeared in all five seasons, from 2002 to 2008. Omar was a notorious stick-up man with a strict moral code who robbed drug dealers in Baltimore, and Williams received much acclaim for his sensitive, complex performance.

Michael K. Williams in The Wire
Michael K. Williams in The Wire

Williams' success in The Wire led to recurring TV roles in Alias and Six Degrees, plus appearances in CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Boston Legal, and movies such as Spike Lee's Miracle at St. Anna and The Road. His next big role was in the acclaimed period gangster drama Boardwalk Empire, where he played powerful Atlantic City mobster Chalky White throughout all five seasons from 2010 to 2014.

Over the past decade, Williams appeared in movies such as The Purge: Anarchy, 12 Years a Slave, Inherent Vice, Assassin's Creed, and Motherless Brooklyn. He also starred alongside James Purefoy in the SundanceTV series Hap and Leonard, and was Emmy nominated last year for his performance as Montrose Freeman in HBO's horror drama series Lovecraft Country.

The products discussed here were independently chosen by our editors. GameSpot may get a share of the revenue if you buy anything featured on our site.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email

Join the conversation
There are 6 comments about this story