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Michael Kenneth Williams Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Trade Mark (3) | Trivia (14) | Personal Quotes (6)

Overview (3)

Born in Flatbush, Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA
Birth NameMichael Kenneth Williams
Height 5' 10" (1.78 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Michael Kenneth Williams was born in Brooklyn, to an African-American father from South Carolina and a Bahamian mother from Nassau. He was raised in the Vandaveer housing projects in East Flatbush, Brooklyn, New York City, and attended George Westinghouse Career and Technical Education High School. According to a DNA analysis, he is partly descended from the Mende people of Sierra Leone.

After getting in some trouble as a youth, he enrolled at the National Black Theatre in New York City. He later got a job at a pharmaceutical company. Inspired by Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814, he left school and quit his job, against the wishes of his family, to pursue a career as a dancer. During a year in which he was intermittently homeless, Williams visited record labels and dance studios looking for work. He got a job as a background dancer on a music tour for Akym Sims' dance anthem Too Blind To See It, which led to more work appearing as a dancer in videos and on tours, such as with George Michael, Madonna, as well as some modeling work. He also choreographed Crystal Waters' 1994 single "100% Pure Love".

He is an established actor and producer, perhaps best-known for his role on the highly-acclaimed HBO Television series The Wire (2002) where he played Omar Little. Other notable works he performed in have included The Road (2009) Boardwalk Empire (2010), 12 Years a Slave (2013) and RoboCop (2014).

- IMDb Mini Biography By: James C. Searson

Trade Mark (3)

Facial scar
Deep gravelly voice
New York accent

Trivia (14)

Used be a dancer and then a choreographer, doing routines for music videos and tours.
His large facial scar is the result of a bar fight he got involved in on his 25th birthday. His assailants sliced him with razor blades.
During his Sept. 19, 2008 interview with XM radio's Opie & Anthony, he mentions that he is not ashamed of anything he's done as an actor. But, there is footage of him in Hammer pants and a half shirt from his dancing days that makes him cringe.
He got one of his first major acting roles in Bullet (1996) after being discovered by Tupac Shakur.
Edward Norton wrote a cameo for him in The Incredible Hulk (2008) because he was a fan of The Wire (2002).
Williams suffered from an identity crisis during his portrayal of Omar Little, going by his character's name, and developed a habit of smoking cannabis and an addiction to cocaine in 2004.
In 2013, he starred in MGMT's music video for Cool Song No. 2.
He turned down the lead role in Django Unchained (2012) because of his commitment to Boardwalk Empire (2010).
He discovered Felicia Pearson in a Baltimore club, invited her to come to the set of The Wire (2002) one day, introduced her to the writers and the producers, and after subsequent auditions, she was offered the role of Snoop in the series.
He serves as the American Civil Liberties Union celebrity ambassador to the Campaign for Smart Justice.
Williams was featured modelling for GAP's 2014 fall collection.
He got the part of Omar Little after one audition.
He has established Making Kids Win, a charitable organization whose primary objective is to build community centres in urban neighborhoods that are in need of safe spaces for children to learn and play.
He campaigned for the role of Black Manta in James Wan's Aquaman (2018).

Personal Quotes (6)

[on how similar he is to his character Omar Little in The Wire (2002)] - I was never a thug. I never even liked to fight.
I love my characters. I play them with 100% honesty; there's no holding back. I understand where they are coming from.
[on how he got his facial scar] It happened on my 25th birthday. I was acting immaturely because I was on that "liquid courage" [alcohol], and some words were exchanged between me and a group of gentlemen. I was drunk so I fought and ended up getting jumped. They cut me with a razor from the top of my head to my neck. I nearly lost my life that night. That was my first wake-up call.
The first season was great. I was at an all-time high, getting more money than I ever seen. But I was careless. I blew all my money. See, I am from Brooklyn and when we get money we love to spread it around. I even bought me a crib on Baltimore Hill. I was out in the streets getting into a lot of trouble. I ended up getting evicted from my crib and having to stay with my baby mother until the next season. You only got paid for the episodes you were in and there wasn't any Omar in season two, so I was basically broke until season three. But I loved playing Omar.
Everybody is entitled to their own opinion and I respect them but I do my work and I go home. If they only see Omar as a one-dimensional character then they don't understand The Wire (2002) as a whole. What I will say about Omar is he helped the Black community by breaking this stereotype we have about homosexuals. I'm actually proud about that.
[on 'The NIght Of] In my perspective, the show has very little to do with the subject of race, and everything to do with class. I've come to realize that the race thing is a smoke screen. The real war is a war on class. It's about how much green you have in your pocket. In this country, you can unfortunately literally get away with murder if you have enough political background behind you. You are innocent until you are proven poor.

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