BALTIMORE — Michael K. Williams portrayed one of the most iconic Baltimore TV characters on HBO’s “The Wire”.
His closest friends told us that he was nothing like Chalky White or Omar in real life.
Sadly the 54-year-old actor was found dead in his Brooklyn apartment early Monday morning.
During his time filming the show here, he built friendships and a love for the city of Baltimore.
Dominic “Farmer” Nell recalled the last conversation they had a few weeks ago.
“For some odd reason or another I chanted the Stevie Wonder, 'I just called to say I love you',” Nell said. “He kind of laughed and said thanks man I needed that right then.”
Nell runs City Weeds, the Be More Green Program and is a part of several other organizations in the city aimed at healthy living and helping people.
He met Williams in the early 2000s.
“We helped him learn the slang from hanging around us and different people in Baltimore, Baltimore ended up becoming his second home.”
They lived together for a year and a half when Nell was pursuing acting.
“The two words I would use to describe him is beautiful soul. He was a very beautiful soul,” Nell said. “He had a lot of compassion and energy that’s not like most humans today. He was a very gentle and kind person.”
Nell met Williams through Jerel Wilson who runs a nonprofit in West Baltimore called For My Kids.
“From time to time he would do workshops,” Wilson said. “He would come through and bring guest speakers to help our kids with conflict resolution.”
Both men said he would always call asking where they could get a crab cake, and that he had a great sense of humor.
“I’m also going to miss him just getting involved and speaking to the kids to give another insight of a guy that made it.”
Police haven’t determined a cause of death but are investigating his death as a possible overdose.
Williams has been open about his battle with addiction.
Nell said that Williams was very committed to his craft and introduced him to a lot of healthy living practices he now teaches through his organizations.
“He had a full spectrum of social activism that he was focusing on,” Nell said. “From police reform to health and wellness. It’s a huge gap that the community has lost. Most people don’t see the behind the scenes and community work.”
The man behind the iconic roles showing that his best character was the one he woke up as everyday.
Williams has a nonprofit based in his hometown in Brooklyn called Making Kids Win.