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Lance Reddick, the actor who broke out with a complex, powerful performance as Lt. Cedric Daniels in the seminal HBO show The Wire, has died. He was 60.
The actor’s body was discovered in his Studio City home on Friday, TMZ reported. Reddick’s publicist Mia Hansen told The Hollywood Reporter that he died “suddenly … from natural causes” Friday morning.
His wife Stephanie Reddick took to social media Saturday to remember her late husband, writing, “Lance was taken from us far too soon. Thank you for all your overwhelming love, support and beautiful stories shared on these platforms over the last day. I see your messages and can’t begin to express how grateful I am to have them.”
Reddick had recently been promoting John Wick: Chapter 4, the latest installment of the Keanu Reeves franchise in which he played Charon, the hotel concierge at New York’s criminal underground hub, The Continental Hotel.
The actor was also known for his TV work on Fringe, Bosch and Lost. With a sonorous and memorable voice, Reddick also worked frequently as a voice actor on projects including The Vindicators, DuckTales, Rick and Morty and Castlevania.
“We are deeply saddened and heartbroken at the loss of our beloved friend and colleague Lance Reddick,” John Wick director Chad Stahelski and star Keanu Reeves said in a joint statement. “He was the consummate professional and a joy to work with. Our love and prayers are with his wife Stephanie, his children, family and friends. We dedicate the film to his loving memory. We will miss him dearly.”
Born in Baltimore, Maryland, on June 7, 1962, Reddick originally studied at the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester in New York, where he received his bachelor’s degree (Reddick played piano, sang and was a songwriter). “I was a musician first. Growing up I never dreamed I would be acting on television,” he told The Philadelphia Sun in 2010. He added that he began acting on a “lark” because he had performed in college and thought it might boost his musical career; to his surprise, he got into the Yale School of Drama (where he became friends with fellow classmate Paul Giamatti), which kickstarted his career.
Reddick had about a dozen credits under his belt when he went in to audition for The Wire, most notably the HBO series Oz. “I remember reading the script and thinking that I’d never read a pilot like this before. To this day, it’s the only pilot I’ve ever read that I thought, ‘I have to be on this show,’” he told The Hollywood Reporter in 2019.
He initially auditioned for Bunk Moreland, the character that ultimately went to Wendell Pierce, and was the runner-up to play Bubbles, who was portrayed by Andre Royo. Recalled the actor: “I didn’t even know what character I wanted to play because in the pilot script, the only character that’s obviously prominent is McNulty (Dominic West), and I knew that Bunk was his partner.”
After missing out on those two roles, he got another audition to read for Daniels, but the Wire team initially passed on him. Reddick moved on with his life, wondering where his next job would be, when he got a surprise page from his agent. Plans had changed, and he had been cast as Daniels. Said the actor: “It was the first time where something happened in my life where I was hoping I wasn’t dreaming.”
Reddick was 39 when The Wire premiered in June 2002. The drama from David Simon explored crime and corruption in Baltimore and though it was not a runaway hit while it aired, it is now considered one of the greatest television shows of all time.
Simon recalled Reddick fondly in a statement to THR: “A consummate professional, a devoted collaborator, a lovely soul and a friend. This is just gutting and way, way, way too soon for any of us who knew and loved him to contemplate.”
Reddick’s The Wire co-star Pierce wrote on Twitter: “A man of great strength and grace. As talented a musician as he was an actor. The epitome of class.”
HBO added in a statement, “Lance has been part of the HBO family for over 20 years, starring in several projects including iconic roles in Oz and The Wire. He is held in the highest regard by all who knew and worked with him and we are proud to be part of his legacy. He will be missed dearly.”
During his busy career, Reddick was among the SAG-nominated ensemble of Regina King’s One Night in Miami and worked on Netflix’s Resident Evil series, Comedy Central’s Corporate and FX’s American Horror Story.
The actor’s death comes ahead of the release of the fourth John Wick, which arrives March 24. Like others involved in the 2014 first film, Reddick had no idea it would be a runaway hit that would spawn multiple movies and spinoffs, including The Continental, featuring a younger version of his character played by Ayomide Adegun.
On Reddick’s first day on the franchise, star Reeves showed up to set even though he wasn’t working in that scene. It also happened to be Reeves’ birthday. Reddick recalled to Vulture in 2021 that Reeves specifically wanted to see the actor on his birthday. “He’d never done this before but he wrote me a note thanking me for what I brought to the character in these movies. And he wanted to give the note to me. I’ll never forget it,” said the actor.
Lionsgate, the studio behind the Wick films, remembered him with a statement: “The world of Wick would not be what it is without Lance Reddick and the unparalleled depth he brought to Charon’s humanity and unflappable charisma. Lance leaves behind an indelible legacy and hugely impressive body of work, but we will remember him as our lovely, joyful friend and Concierge. We’re stunned and heartbroken, and our deepest condolences go to his beloved family and his fans all around the world.”
Reddick had several other projects already completed, including the John Wick spinoff The Ballerina, and 20th Century’s remake of White Men Can’t Jump, which arrives May 19. He had also completed work on the Disney+ series Percy Jackson and the Olympians.
According to a recent profile in New York Moves magazine, Reddick was especially excited about his forthcoming role in Shirley, a John Ridley-directed biopic about the U.S.’ first Black congresswoman, Shirley Chisholm. Reddick told the magazine, “Right now I just want to do the kinds of stories that I want to see,” adding, “and a lot of those stories are about people of color, particularly people of color and women, particularly historical.”
Reddick is survived by his wife, Stephanie Reddick, and children, Yvonne Nicole Reddick and Christopher Reddick.
Chris Gardner, Etan Vlessing and Julian Sancton contributed to this report.
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