According to Varities Michael Schneider
Michael K. Williams, the actor who brought grit to his portrayal of Omar Little, the sawed-off-shotgun-wielding stickup man on the pioneering HBO series “The Wire,” passed away on Monday in his home in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn. He was 54.
Williams will always be known first and foremost for his scene-stealing turns as some of the most gripping characters in TV history, including Omar in “The Wire” and Chalky White in “Boardwalk Empire.” But even in his more lighthearted roles, Williams brought a sly intensity that instantly stood out — even in a sea of comedic actors.
“I don’t know what to say, sympathies to his loved ones and everyone that got to work with him,” “Community” creator Dan Harmon wrote on social media, while sharing another iconic moment featuring Williams on the show: When he defends the value of the pinky swear: “Man’s gotta have a code!” Added Harmon: “Wherever he is, I hope Legos are simple again. I hope to join him there and write more silly things for him to say.”
Harmon was a fan of Williams on “The Wire,” and jumped at a chance to bring the star to “Community.” The casting of Williams came first, and then a character was created to find a way to bring “Omar” to Greendale Community College. Williams was only available for three episodes, due to his commitments on “Boardwalk Empire,” but it was a memorable, if all too brief, run.
“I want to add a layer of intensity to ‘Community,’” Harmon told me on stage at the San Diego Comic-Con in 2011, as he announced the guest casting. “If we’re too cartoonish sometimes, then let’s add the opposite of cartoonish. Let’s add a little element of ‘The Wire’ to ‘Community.’”
Later, Williams appeared on an episode of Greg Garcia’s subversive anthology series “The Guest Book,” made a cameo on “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver,” and provided the voice of Smokey Greenwood in Netflix’s adult animated series “F Is for Family.”
Of course, those comedy roles were overshadowed by his critically acclaimed dramatic turns on projects including “When They See Us” and “Lovecraft Country,” for which he’s Emmy nominated this year as supporting actor in a drama.