According to The Baltimore Sun, Melvin Williams, the former drug trafficker who both inspired and acted in HBO's The Wire, has died. He was 73.
Williams became notorious for his reputation as a leader within Baltimore's narcotics trafficking circles between the 1960s and 1980s before starting what was supposed to be a 34-year prison sentence back in 1985. Less than a decade, before he was released on parole in 1996, he was profiled by The Wire creator David Simon for The Baltimore Sun in 1987.
Simon went on to give Williams a small recurring role on The Wire from 2004 to 2008 as The Deacon, a guide to Cutty (played by Chad Coleman), a one-time drug dealer who went on to open a boxing gym for local kids in the community with Deacon's push. Williams also worked with series writer and producer Ed Burns, who is a former homicide detective who actually worked on Williams' case in the '80s.
Simon paid respect to Williams on Twitter on Thursday with the following photo and message:
R.I.P., Melvin Williams, and our condolences to his friends and family.
Watch The Wire star Wendell Pierce talk about his role in Selma in the video, below:
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(Photo: Jonathan Hanson/Aurora Photos/Corbis)