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Indeed, the work that has vaulted him to fame has also nearly been his undoing.“The characters that mean the most to me are the ones that damn near kill me,” he said, leaning back into a sidewalk bench on Foster Avenue.
“It’s a sacrifice I’ve chosen to make.”The Vanderveer of Mr.
“The Wire,” HBO’s five-season epic of Baltimore life, is a perennial contender for the greatest television series ever, and Michael K.
Williams, in his role as the stickup man Omar Little, its most memorable actor.
His father, who came from South Carolina, was a gregarious but wayward man who battled health problems.
Starved of opportunities, many in the community took their cues from local gangsters, who exuded a swaggering masculinity that Mr. As a boy, he was sexually molested and the experience left him withdrawn and confused about his own sexuality.
Many of his roles have unearthed agonizing memories and plunged him into a serious drug addiction that he grapples with to this day.Williams’s childhood was often a landscape of drugs and violence.As he rode down the avenue, nearly every corner conjured a grisly memory.But on the show’s first day of filming, when a prop person handed him his character’s signature shotgun, Mr.Williams clutched it with a look of sheer bewilderment.“He didn’t know which end was which,” said David Simon, the creator and showrunner of “The Wire.” “Mike is a beautiful man, but a gangster he is not.”Mr. Later that week, he left the set in Baltimore and returned home to East Flatbush, Brooklyn, and enlisted a local drug dealer to help hone his craft. Williams, 50, has continued to draw inspiration for his characters from the world of Vanderveer, a housing complex now known as Flatbush Gardens, where he lived for much of his life. Williams, as Omar, will forever be remembered for his scowl, his scar, his mordant wit and the sawed-off shotgun he held at the ready, but he has always wanted more.