The real life drama of The Wire stars: While tragedy has struck for Lance Reddick and Michael K. Williams, Wendell Pierce went on to play Meghan’s father, Idris Elba conquered Hollywood and Sonja Sohn was busted over drugs
- Lance Reddick, who has passed away aged 60, was catapulted to fame through his role as Cedric Daniels in The Wire
- The hit HBO show is credited for turning many of its stars into household names
- From Idris Elba to Dominic West, here’s a look at the lives and careers of some of the show’s other stars
Lance Reddick, who has died aged 60, was catapulted to fame through his role as Cedric Daniels in The Wire and enjoyed further success in the John Wick movies.
The hit HBO show is credited for turning several of its stars into household names – and was the springboard for their illustrious careers in TV and film.
Reddick, who is believed to have died of natural causes at his home in Studio City, California, went on to star in many more popular TV shows, including Resident Evil, Paradise PD, The Blacklist, Fringe, Bosch, and Lost.
His big screen appearances included roles in Godzilla vs. Kong, White House Down, Jonah Hex, and John Wick. Reddick recently reprised his role as Charon in John Wick: Chapter 4, but missed a premiere for the film just days before he passed away. It’s unclear if his absence was related to the illness that killed him.
Reddick was a native of Baltimore, Maryland, where the wire is set. The show is widely considered one of the greatest TV series ever and celebrated its 20th anniversary in June 2022.
Lance Reddick (right in 2020), who has passed away aged 60, was a musician, actor and producer from Baltimore and played police chief Cedric Daniels in The Wire
Over five seasons, the classic crime drama explored the wide-ranging impact of the war on drugs on the crack-infested streets of Baltimore.
Written by David Simon, a former police reporter for The Baltimore Sun, the show was praised for its gritty realism and much of it was filmed on location around some of the roughest parts of the city.
Each season introduced a different facet of the city of Baltimore. In chronological order they were: the illegal drug trade, the seaport system, the city government and bureaucracy, the school system, and the print news media.
It also launched the careers of actors including Idris Elba, Dominic West and Michael K. Williams, who sadly died from an accidental drug overdose in his Brooklyn penthouse on September 6 2021, leaving the showbiz world reeling.
Here, FEMAIL reveals the varying fortunes of The Wire cast…
Dominic West, 52, portrayed troubled detective Jimmy McNulty (pictured left) in the crime show throughout all five seasons. Pictured right, Dominic in March 2022
His 12-year marriage to Catherine Fitzgerald hung by a thread after he was pictured passionately kissing actress Lily James, 33, in October 2020 (pictured together)
Dominic and Catherine (pictured together) married in June 2010 after reuniting following their university romance and have four children together
Dominic West, 53, portrayed troubled detective Jimmy McNulty in the crime show throughout all five seasons.
He recently played Prince Charles in the hugely popular Netflix series The Crown. West has also appeared in several hit shows on British television.
Alongside his glittering TV career, he’s also featured in a host of films including 2022’s Downton Abbey: A New Era and also starred in the 2006 blockbuster 300.
His 12-year marriage to Catherine Fitzgerald hung by a thread after he was pictured passionately kissing actress Lily James, 33, in October 2020.
Dominic and Catherine married in June 2010 after reuniting following their university romance and have four children together; Dora, Senan, Francis, and Christabel.
The actor also has another daughter, Martha, with former girlfriend aristocrat Polly Astor.
Following the fling with James, Dominic and Catherine claimed in a handwritten note left outside their home in Wiltshire, England: ‘Our marriage is strong and we’re very much still together. Thank you.’
Their marriage faced public scrutiny after Dominic was pictured kissing his The Pursuit of Love co-star Lily in Rome in 2020.
The pair also rode together on an electric scooter the same week it was confirmed Lily and ex-boyfriend, The Crown actor Matt Smith, 40, had parted ways.
John Doman starred as hardman superintendent Bill Rawls on the program. Pictured right, John in 2016
John Doman, 78, starred as hardman superintendent Bill Rawls on the program.
Following his role in the series, he featured in Sky hit drama Borgia and reunited with co-star Dominic West on The Affair, playing Bruce Butler.
The ER alum also portrayed attorney general John Mitchell in the Golden Globe-winning film The Trial of the Chicago 7.
Doman has also enjoyed roles on Gotham, Madam Secretary, House of Cards, and Damages.
He’s said previously: ‘I can be in the middle of a bazaar and someone will come up and start talking to me in a language I don’t know, but I’ll recognize ‘The Wire!’ ‘The Wire!’ every time.’
The Philadelphia native was married to Linda Lee Rudloff from 1981 until her death in 2014. He later tied the knot with Elizabeth Donnelly in 2019.
Wendell Pierce (pictured right in 2020) starred as Baltimore detective Bunk Moreland, who was a friend of West’s character, in The Wire
He is now equally well-known for his role in the long-running lawyer series Suits, playing Robert Zane, the father of Rachel Zane, who was played by Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex (pictured together)
Wendell Pierce, 59, starred as Baltimore detective Bunk Moreland, who was a friend of West’s character, in The Wire.
He is now equally well-known for his role in the long-running lawyer series Suits, playing Robert Zane, the father of Rachel Zane, who was played by Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex.
He also reunited with The Wire co-creator David Simon for Treme, which aired on HBO from 2010 to 2013.
In 2012, Pierce featured on Broadway in the Tony Award-winning play Clybourne Park and he has also featured in films such as Horrible Bosses, Selma and Bad Moms during his successful TV and movie career.
Pierce, who is originally from New Orleans, previously shared his support for Meghan and said her mother would have prepared her for ‘the ugly side of human nature like any woman of color would teach their child.’
Speaking about the struggles of being in the spotlight in 2020, he urged that ‘millions care for her’ and revealed that in the last moment he had with the Duchess of Sussex, he told her: ‘Life is going to be very different.’
Sonja Sohn (right in 2019), 58, played drugs detective Shakima ‘Kima’ Greggs, who studies law on the side, during all five seasons of The Wire
Sonja Sohn, 58, played drugs detective Shakima ‘Kima’ Greggs, who studies law on the side, during all five seasons of The Wire.
Her character constantly outsmarted McNulty and made him question his disdain for women in the police force.
She previously told NPR that playing an officer proved difficult for her at first, due to the behavior she’d seen growing up.
‘My own perception of cops was that they came into your neighborhood, they roughed up people that you loved for no reason and took them away,’ Sohn said. ‘So I had to overcome all of that to play this cop.’
Following her appearance on the series, she’s had roles in Burn Notice, The Good Wife, and The Chi.
She also launched ReWired for Change, a non-profit that helps young parolees improve their lives after being released from prison.
The Wire creator David Simon serves as an honorary chairman of the organization, while Wendell Pierce and Michael K. Williams each had a seat on the board.
But in 2019, Sohn was arrested in North Carolina in connection with cocaine possession.
The actress, according to TMZ, was also cited for having marijuana and drug paraphernalia on her person in the arrest.
Sohn was bailed out on $1,500 bail six minutes after she was taken into police custody, according to the outlet.
Seth Gilliam (right in 2019) played disillusioned cop Ellis Carver over the course of The Wire – but he almost left the program after feeling his character was underappreciated
Since 2014, the New York City native starred as Father Gabriel Stokes on AMC’s The Walking Dead, which featured several The Wire actors during its seasons
Seth Gilliam, 54, played disillusioned cop Ellis Carver over the course of The Wire – but he almost left the program after feeling his character was underappreciated.
‘At some point, I was like, ‘Is there even film in those cameras?” he said. ‘You sign some guys and then sit ’em on the bench?’
Carver eventually went on to have one of the show’s many interesting character arcs.
Since 2014, the New York City native starred as Father Gabriel Stokes on AMC’s The Walking Dead, which featured several The Wire actors during its seasons.
Gilliam’s character Gabriel has developed since being introduced in season five of the zombie apocalypse drama as a timid local priest unable to defend himself.
In 2021, the actor detailed how he’s even been sent death threats over his character’s storyline.
‘Over the years, what’s been surreal to me is sometimes people not being able to see fiction from reality, and assuming I was Father Gabriel and not Seth Gilliam,’ he said.
‘When they question the choices the character made on the show, and started to send me death threats and stuff. That was surreal.’
Meanwhile, Gilliam has also featured in Damages, Nurse Jackie, Homeland and played supernatural specialist Deaton in Teen Wolf.
In 2015, Gilliam was reportedly arrested for marijuana possession and a DUI. After he was pulled over for travelling at 107mph in a 55mph zone, he admitted that he had drank ‘three beers and a shot’, according to TMZ.
Irish actor Aiden Gillen (right in 2022) starred as Baltimore politician Tommy Carcetti, who started his career on the city council, in The Wire
Gillen has gone on to star in the BBC’s Birmingham-based drama Peaky Blinders, as well as play the role of Littlefinger in Game of Thrones (pictured)
Irish actor Aiden Gillen, 54, starred in The Wire as Baltimore politician Tommy Carcetti, who started his career on the city council.
He had already built his acting reputation in the UK featuring in the 1999 series Queer as Folk, created by Russell T Davies, before joining the ‘show of a lifetime’.
By the time he joined The Wire, the cult show was picking up critical acclaim, though he revealed filming was tinged with the sadness of his father’s illness and death.
‘My time in Baltimore, a city I grew to love quickly, and spent a couple of years in, will forever be spliced with my father’s last year,’ he said.
‘Mostly because I was there for a lot of it, walking along the waterfront, learning lines and worrying about him, as much as you can.’
In 2011, Gillen said: ‘It was definitely the show of a lifetime to be in… People have gone on about it so much, but it does live up to its reputation, thankfully.
‘And I loved the part, but I don’t think it’s the role of my lifetime, no. I was part of an ensemble, and happy with that, but I’ve played more involved roles, and expect to in the future.’
Gillen has gone on to star in the BBC’s Birmingham-based drama Peaky Blinders, as well as play the role of Littlefinger in Game of Thrones.
Michael K. Williams
Michael K. Williams (right in 2021) was best known for his role in The Wire, playing the shotgun-wielding vigilante, Omar Little throughout the series
Michael K. Williams poses for the 27th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards on March 31, 2021, in Miami
Michael K. Williams was best known for his role in The Wire, playing the gay, shotgun-wielding vigilante, Omar Little throughout the series.
He also won praise playing Albert (Chalky) White in the hit HBO show Boardwalk Empire, and for his role in the 2020 drama, Lovecraft Country, which saw him nominated for an Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
Williams, 54, was pronounced dead in his Brooklyn penthouse on September 6 2021 leaving the showbiz world reeling.
Four men were arrested in connection with Williams’ death. Hector Robles, Luis Cruz, Carlos Macci and Irvin Cartagena were each charged with narcotics conspiracy for distributing the fentanyl-laced heroin that is believed to have killed the TV star.
Surveillance video released by investigators appeared to show Cartagena handing Williams the deadly drugs one day before the star’s body was found.
Williams was born in East Flatbush, Brooklyn, and spent his childhood in the projects surrounded by drugs and violence.
As a young boy, he was sexually molested. He told The New York Times that that experience left him confused about his own sexuality and caused him to be withdrawn.
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 assailants pulled out a knife and slashed him, leaving him with a long, distinctive scar down the front of his face and neck.
Williams 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.
Williams made his film debut in 1996, appearing alongside Tupac Shakur in the film Bullet.
Three years later, he played a drug dealer in Martin Scorsese’s Bringing Out the Dead. He also landed a brief cameo in the HBO hit show The Sopranos.
However, in 2002, he landed the definitive role for his career, playing Omar Little in The Wire.
Williams was open about his struggles with drug addiction. Since the age of 19, he went in and out of clinics to seek treatment.
During his years filming The Wire, Williams relapsed. In 2005, he entered a church in New Jersey seeking help with his drug problem.
Despite his ongoing drug struggles, Williams enjoyed continued success following the conclusion of The Wire.
From 2010 to 2014, he played Chalky White on Boardwalk Empire. He also appeared in films including 12 Years A Slave, Inherent Vice, and Motherless Brooklyn.
In 2019, he returned to the small screen, starring in the Netflix miniseries When They See Us, which earned him another Emmy nod.
In 2021, he played Montrose Freeman in the HBO series Lovecraft Country. He also featured in an episode of the late Anthony Bourdain’s Travel Channel Show, No Reservations.
A-lister Idris Elba (right in 2022), who’s been rumored to be next in line to play James Bond, played intellectual Baltimore drug dealer Stringer Bell in the show for two years
The London-born actor (pictured in The Wire), 50, is most notably known for his role as detective Luther in the eponymous drama, which ran for five series from 2010
A-lister Idris Elba, who’s been rumored to be next in line to play James Bond, played intellectual Baltimore drug dealer Stringer Bell in the show for two years.
The London-born actor, 50, is most notably known for his role as detective Luther in the eponymous drama, which ran for five series from 2010.
He’s also took the big screen by storm, featuring in films such as Thor, The Suicide Squad and Pacific Rim.
More recently, he’s appeared in Cats (2019), which divided opinion, as well as having lent his voice to Zootropolis and The Jungle Book.
Speaking to Vanity Fair in 2019 about the Bond rumours, Elba conceded he was not in the running to become the first black Bond in the franchise’s 59 year history.
He said: ‘Of course, if someone said to me ‘Do you want to play James Bond?’, I’d be like, Yeah! That’s fascinating to me. But it’s not something I’ve expressed, like, ‘Yeah, I wanna be the black James Bond.”
Reflecting on the debate regarding Bond’s ethnicity, he added: ‘You just get disheartened when you get people from a generational point of view going, ‘It can’t be.’
‘And it really turns out to be the colour of my skin. And then if I get it and it didn’t work, or it did work, would it be because of the colour of my skin? That’s a difficult position to put myself into when I don’t need to.’
Andre Royo (right in 2022) worked steadily in Hollywood for years before taking on his breakout role of Reginald ‘Bubbles’ Cousins on The Wire
Andre Royo, 54, worked steadily in Hollywood for years before taking on his breakout role of Reginald ‘Bubbles’ Cousins on The Wire.
But at the start, he admitted to having worries about the character – insisting to creators and producers that he refused to play another clichéd black drug addict.
Recalling their reaction, he told Slate: ‘They just looked at me and were like, ‘Oh, you don’t know how we get down.”
The actor, from New York, previously revealed that he was shot at and given free heroin by drug dealers while filming the crime show.
He said: ‘We were shooting on location, there were no sets, so we were going into places where drug dealers make £10,000 a day and trying to tell them that you were shooting for 18 hours and they can’t cross the street.
‘They’d tell us we have two hours because you’re messing my money up. They said ‘who the f*** are you’, it wasn’t like we had Denzel Washington on set. Nobody knew us.’
However, he also told Slate in 2013, that playing the role had a tough impact as he sought help for his own addictions after starring as a drug addict.
By the third season, he admitted he was ‘depressed’ and ‘drinking’ heavily before seeking help.
He told The Hollywood Reporter: ‘It’s a hard journey, this acting thing. There’s peaks and valleys in this business so when you land on a show like this and you know that there’s a lot of eyes on you, it just motivates people to keep going.’
More recently, he has featured as defence attorney Thirsty Rawlings on the FOX drama series Empire and given his voice to the cartoon Bob’s Burgers.
Texas native Deirdre Lovejoy (pictured right in 2013) played Rhonda Pearlman in The Wire
Texas native Deirdre Lovejoy, 60, played Rhonda Pearlman in The Wire.
Her character was the assistant district attorney, who served as the legal liaison for the the police department.
Since her pivotal role in the US drama, she has gone on to play a range of different roles, on both the small and big screens.
Among her TV credits are Netflix original show Orange Is the New Black. She has also appeared in shows including American Horror Story: Asylum, Bones, and Girls.
Meanwhile, she has acted in movies including The Post and Bad Teacher.
While her acting career has been prolific, like many of the shows other stars, she remains best known to many for her work on The Wire.
Domenick Lombardozzi (right in 2019), who was born in New York City, played Thomas ‘Herc’ Hauk in the show
Domenick Lombardozzi, 46, who was born in New York City, played Thomas ‘Herc’ Hauk in the show.
Since the program wrapped, he has racked up some impressive credits, notably appearing in Martin Scorsese’s 2019 crime epic The Irishman.
Other big screen appearances include a part in The King of Staten Island.
The Wire isn’t the only classic television drama the actor consolidated his chops on.
Lombardozzi also performed in Boardwalk Empire, HBO’s big budget Atlantic City drama, which was set in 1920s prohibition America.
The Italian American actor played the role of bootlegger Ralph Capone, the older brother of Al Capone.
His recent work includes Armageddon Time, a film in which he acted alongside Jessica Chastain and Anne Hathaway.
Stage, television and screen actor Jim True-Frost (right in 2017) played the role of Detective Roland ‘Prez’ Pryzbylewski in all five seasons of The Wire
Stage, television and screen actor Jim True-Frost, 56, played the role of Detective Roland ‘Prez’ Pryzbylewski in all five seasons of The Wire.
Since then, he has appeared in other big name TV dramas, including HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, as well as Treme.
Some of his other small screen credits include Proven Innocent, The Blacklist, and Yellowstone.
His film work includes roles in The Conspirator, Saint Frances, and Diminished Capacity among others.
However, despite his notable movie work, his television performances make up the bulk of his career, and his performance on The Wire remains the one he is best known for.
True-Frost recently had a small screen guest starring role on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, in episodes broadcast this year.
The actor has been married to Cora True-Frost since 1999, with whom he shares two children.
Chicago native Wood Harris (pictured right in 2017) starred in The Wire, playing drug kingpin Avon Barksdale
Chicago native Wood Harris, 53, starred in The Wire, playing drug kingpin Avon Barksdale.
Following his performance in the long-running drama, roles in other television programs and films followed.
Among his TV credits are Fox series Empire, in which he played Damon Cross in seasons five and six.
He is stars in Starz series BMF, playing Pat, a drug lord. His movie credits include Remember the Titans and Blade Runner 2049.
Additionally, Harris reunited with The Wire star Michael B Jordan in 2015, to perform in the Rocky spinoff Creed, playing Tony ‘Little Duke’ Evers.
The third instalment of the Creed series was released last year, once more featuring Harris in the role.
His personal life has been far less rocky than some of the other cast members.
In 2001, Harris wed Rebekah Harris, to whom he is still married and shares two children.
Clarke Peters (right in 2022), a New York City native, was much beloved in the show as BPD detective Lester Freamon
Clarke Peters, 70, a New York City native, was much beloved in the show as BPD detective Lester Freamon.
While The Wire remains his most prolific acting appearance, he is also well known for his performance in TV series Treme.
Additionally, he has appeared in numerous small and big screen productions. These include His Dark Materials, True Detective, Person of Interest and Missouri among others.
Last year, he appeared in Apple TV+ series The Man Who Fell to Earth, playing Josiah Falls.
Peters has suffered more than his fair share of personal tragedy throughout his life.
His son Guppy, with ex Joanna Jacobs, died aged four in 1992, of a kidney tumour. Their surviving son Joe is an actor.
He is now married to Penny Peters, with whom he shares a son, Max.
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