Melvin Williams dies at 73 - The Wire

Melvin Williams Dies At 73

Melvin “Little Melvin” Williams, a former West Baltimore drug kingpin who went on to inspire and star in HBO’s hit series, “The Wire,” has died. He was 73.

Via Entertainment Weekly:

Williams was known for his status as a ruler within Baltimore’s narcotics trafficking circles from the ’60s to the ’80s before beginning what was supposed to be a 34-year prison sentence in 1985. Eventual The Wire creator David Simon profiled Williams for The Baltimore Sun in 1987 (which you can read in full here), just less than a decade before Williams was released on parole in 1996.

Williams went on to appear in a small recurring role on The Wire — where he worked with series writer and producer Ed Burns, a former homicide detective who had actually been on Williams’ case in the ’80s — from 2004 to 2008 as The Deacon, a mentor of sorts to Cutty (Chad Coleman), a one-time drug dealer who goes on to found a boxing gym for local kids with the help of the deacon’s encouragement.

Simon honored Williams on Twitter Thursday with a photo of the late actor and a message: “RIP to Melvin ‘Little Melvin’ Williams, 73, who made me begin to rethink the drug war,” he wrote. “You ended it free, brother.”

 

Our condolences to Melvin’s family.

Scoop

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