Reg E. Cathey, Actor on 'House of Cards' and 'The Wire,' Dies at 59

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Reg E. Cathey

The Emmy winner and three-time nominee also played a warden on 'Oz.'

Reg E. Cathey, the eloquent Emmy-winning actor from House of Cards who also was known for his excellent work on The Wire, died Friday of lung cancer at his home in New York City, his agent said. He was 59.

In 2015, Cathey won an Emmy for his portrayal of Freddy Hayes, the owner of a BBQ joint who ends up with a job in the White House, on Netflix's House of Cards in a stretch of three straight years with a nomination. 

On David Simon's acclaimed drama The Wire, Cathey stood out as newspaperman turned Baltimore politician Norman Wilson, and on another acclaimed HBO series, Tom Fontana's Oz, he was unit manager and warden Martin Querns.

Most recently, Cathey was seen as Chief Byron Giles on Robert Kirkman's Cinemax series Outcast and was in HBO's The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.

In a statement given Friday to The Hollywood Reporter, Netflix said: "We are heartbroken by the passing of our friend and House of Cards colleague … Reg was the kindest man, the most giving actor, a true gentleman."

Simon reported his death on Twitter.

Known for his commanding baritone voice, Cathey also portrayed Dr. Franklin Storm in the 2015 reboot of The Fantastic Four, and he appeared in other films including Born on the Fourth of July (1989), What About Bob? (1991), Clear and Present Danger (1994), Seven (1995), Tank Girl (1995), American Psycho (2000) and Pootie Tang (2001).

On TV, his credits also included the Simon miniseries The Corner, in which he played a drug addict; Star Trek: The Next Generation; Fontana's Homicide: Life on the Street; and Grimm.

A native of Huntsville, Alabama, Cathey spent time as a child with his family in Germany, then graduated from J.O. Johnson High School in Huntsville and studied theater at the University of Michigan and the Yale School of Drama.

In a 2016 interview with The Guardian, Cathey said his career took off after the 44th U.S. president was elected.

"What I did notice is that Barack Obama becomes president and suddenly black people who are well-spoken are working more," he said. "This new market for the well-spoken black actor is all due to Obama. He got inaugurated, and I started working like a fiend — hired by the same people who would previously ask: 'Have you always spoken like that?' It's like, you know what, motherfuckers, yes, I have."