Inside Michael K Williams' tragic addiction battle as it's revealed he was arrested for drugs three years ago

Inside Michael K Williams' tragic addiction battle as it's revealed he was arrested for drugs three years ago

09/07/2021

TRAGIC Wire actor Michael K Williams battled his drug demons while starring in a horror drama which could see him land a posthumous Emmy.

The late star – who portrayed notorious Omar Little in the crime drama The Wire – was found face-down and unresponsive in the dining room of his Brooklyn apartment on Monday.


There appeared to be heroin on the kitchen table, sources said. The actor, 54, had been charged with possession of marijuana and use and possession of drug paraphernalia, following a traffic stop in 2018.

Williams’ battle with addiction saw him face drug charges before his suspected heroin overdose in New York aged just 54.

He was fined £1,195, ordered to perform 35 hours community service within four months and complete drug and alcohol evaluations, records in Pennsylvania show.

Williams, who had been open about his past drug struggles, was supposed to show up to an event Saturday but never made it. His nephew went to his posh Brooklyn penthouse pad on Monday and found him dead.

Seven months ago, Williams said he had started therapy after starring in the movie Body Brokers, which delves into the shady underbelly of a ritzy drug-treatment facility. He said during an interview that the movie had “made me sick to my stomach”.

'Drugs and alcohol are not the problems'

Williams, speaking in February, said: “People often think that when a person puts down the drugs or the alcohol, that all the problems go away. That couldn't be further from the truth. Drugs and alcohol are not the problems, they're merely symptoms of the problem. And once those things go away, the real work begins.”

Williams had been in and out of clinics to seek treatment for drug addiction since the age of 19. He had previously spoken of relapsing while starring as Baltimore ‘stick-up’ man Omar in The Wire from 2002 to 2008 – his breakthrough role.

Read our Michael K. Williams live blog for the very latest news and updates…

Drugs and alcohol are not the problems, they're merely symptoms of the problem.

The screen legend also played Chalky White on Boardwalk Empire and appeared in films including 12 Years A Slave. Earlier this year he wrapped up filming on the HBO series ‘Lovecraft Country’ – which earned him an Emmy nomination.

Williams’ nephew Arvance said that his famous uncle was excited about jetting to Los Angeles to attend the Emmys in less than two weeks’ time.

He is favourite to win the award. Arvance said: “I was just with him. I just bought him some fabric so he can go to the Emmys, to put under his blazer.

“He just got nominated for an Emmy, and he was going to LA, so he was real excited about that. You guys know him as the actor, we know him as Uncle Mike. We love him.”

You guys know him as the actor, we know him as Uncle Mike. We love him.

In a tragic foreshadowing of his death last week, Williams posted on Instagram a video of US comedian Tracy Morgan speaking about a car crash, telling fans: “Don't cry for me. OK.”

Williams was born in Brooklyn and spent his childhood surrounded by drugs and violence. As a young boy, he was sexually molested.

He eventually enrolled in New York City's National Black Theatre and kickstarted his career as a dancer, scoring parts in music videos by Madonna and George Michael.

On the eve of his 25th birthday, in 1991, Williams attempted to intervene when a group of muggers jumped one of his friends. One of the attackers pulled out a blade and slashed him, leaving him with a long scar down the front of his face and neck.

Williams said that changed the trajectory of his career – enabling to earn screen roles – and he landed his role in his debut film 'Bullet' in 1996, alongside Tupac Shakur.

Three years later, he played a drug dealer in Martin Scorsese’s Bringing Out the Dead and also made a brief cameo in The Sopranos, before landing his part in The Wire.

The depth of my love for this brother, can only be matched by the depth of my pain learning of his loss.

He is survived by an adult son named Elijah.

Actor Wendell Pierce, who starred alongside Williams in The Wire, said: “The depth of my love for this brother, can only be matched by the depth of my pain learning of his loss.

“An immensely talented man with the ability to give voice to the human condition portraying the lives of those whose humanity is seldom elevated until he sings their truth.”



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