‘The Wire’ Star Michael K. Williams Dead At Age 54

Michael K. Williams, an Emmy-nominated actor, was known for playing complex characters in gritty TV series like The Wire, Boardwalk Empire, and Boardwalk Empire. He died at the age of 54.

Michael K. Williams at 27th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, March 31, 2021 in Miami.... [+] Florida. Getty Images

The Key Facts

Forbes was informed by the Williams team that Williams had died on Monday. Williams' family didn't give a cause for death and requested that Forbes be kept in the dark. Forbes reached out to NYPD for comment but they did not respond immediately.


Family and friends of Williams's death were saddened by Wendell Pierce, actor who played opposite Williams on The Wire. Pierce was an incredibly talented man whose acting roles shined a light on humanity and people whose humanity is rarely elevated.

Important Background

Williams is most well-known for his role as Omar Little on HBO's The Wire. Omar Little is a smart Baltimore drug dealer who adheres to a strict moral code. Filming began in 2002. Many consider Little to be one the most captivating characters in television history. Williams also appeared on Boardwalk Empire five seasons as Chalky, a leader of a Prohibition-era crime syndicate. Williams also appeared in When They See Us (a drama about the Central Park Five and Bessie), in which he played Bessie Smith's first husband, opposite Queen Latifah. Williams was most recently seen on Lovecraft Country. This earned him an Emmy Award nomination in 2021 for Outstanding Supporting Actor.