Lance Reddick, the exceptional character actor famous for his performances in The Wire and the John Wick franchise, has died. He was 60.
Reddick’s reps confirmed his death to Rolling Stone, saying he “passed away suddenly this morning from natural causes.” The statement continues, “He is survived by his wife Stephanie Reddick and children Yvonne Nicole Reddick and Christopher Reddick. Donations in his memory can be made to momcares.org in Baltimore, his hometown. Lance will be greatly missed. Please respect his family’s privacy at this time.”
Reddick enjoyed a prolific, nearly 30-year career as a professional actor. Along with The Wire, he had notable roles in hit TV shows like Oz, Lost, Fringe, and Bosch. His movie credits included action flicks like White House Down and Godzilla vs. Kong, as well as Spike Lee’s remake of Oldboy. And he frequently did voice overwork for blockbuster video games like the Quantum Break, the Destiny franchise, and Horizon Zero Dawn.
Born June 7, 1962 and raised in Baltimore, Reddick was initially headed for a life in music. He studied classical composition at the illustrious Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester, but after moving to Boston, he struggled to find any purchase as a professional musician. As he explained in a 2012 interview, he was working multiple jobs to make ends meet and support his family when he suffered a back injury that caused him to reconsider his career. It was then that he started to pursue acting.
Reddick started auditioning for and earning roles Boston, before securing a spot in another illustrious institution, the Yale School of Drama, where he earned a Masters of Fine Arts in 1994. Early parts came in the theater, with Reddick notably being cast as an understudy for Belize in Tony Kushner’s epic drama, Angels in America. Some small film and TV parts followed, including recurring roles on HBO’s prison drama Oz and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
His big breakthrough finally came in 2002 when he was cast as Cedrick Daniels, an honest cop in the Baltimore Police Department who rises from lieutenant to police commissioner only to (spoiler alert) resign after refusing to juice crime stats. Along with Lieutenant Daniels being an iconic role on an iconic TV show, Reddick said The Wire helped him realize “how important my work as an actor can be, socially and politically, not just artistically.”
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