As the entertainment community deals with the news of the death of 54-year-old actor Michael K. Williams (The Wire, Boardwalk Empire, Lovecraft Country), Community creator Dan Harmon and cast members Joel McHale & Yvette Nicole Brown have taken to social media to address the loss of their co-star. Williams played Greendale Biology teacher Dr. Marshall Kane in the Season 3 episodes "Biology 101", "Competitive Ecology" & "Basic Lupine Urology". Coming off a 20-year prison term where he earned his Ph.D., Dr. Kane was known for being much more of a no-nonsense member of the school's faculty than the study group's been used to. In resigning his position, Dr. Kane would leave Jeff (McHale) and the gang with a "parting gift" invalid Biology credits.
"I am sorry if I'm the source of this news for anyone reading this but Michael K. Williams has left our ridiculous world. I don't know what to say. Sympathies to his loved ones and everyone that got to work with him. Here he is defending humanity by defending the pinky swear on Community. Wherever he is, I hope Legos are simple again. I hope to join him there and write more silly things for him to say," Harmon wrote in his Instagram post below. Following that, McHale and Brown also share their thoughts on Williams' passing…
Born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1966 to a Bahamian mother from Nassau and Booker T. Williams, an American, from Greeleyville, South Carolina, Williams' career would be highlighted by a number of roles that made undeniable impacts on the television and pop culture landscapes. First, there was the role that many believe catapulted the actor into the mainstream spotlight, that of Omar Little on David Simon and HBO's The Wire. From there, his turn as Albert "Chalky" White on Terence Winter and HBO's Steve Buscemi-starring Boardwalk Empire. And recently, he returned to HBO one more time for the role of Montrose Freeman in Misha Green and the cable giant's series adaptation of Matt Ruff's Lovecraft Country.
Kicking off the television side of his career in a big way in the 1997 Law & Order episode "Shadow", Williams would portray or voice characters in a diverse line-up of shows. Those include The Sopranos, Third Watch, Law & Order: Special Victims, Alias, Boston Legal, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CSI: NY, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Community, Walk This Way, The Spoils Before Dying, Hap and Leonard, The Night Of, F Is for Family, and When They See Us. The actor would receive Primetime Emmy Award recognition with three nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie that included Bessie (2015), The Night Of (2016), and When They See Us (2019).
"My dream role is to portray someone like James Baldwin. I've always been a fan of his writing, and I feel like he's one of our unsung heroes. He's been pretty much forgotten, and I think he needs to be recognized," Williams responded when asked about his dream role. "He had to go all the way to Europe to find recognition and acceptance, and I'd just like to bring him to the forefront."