'The Wire,' 'John Wick' actor Lance Reddick dies at 60: Keanu Reeves, Halle Berry pay tribute
Actor Lance Reddick, best known for his work on HBO's "The Wire" and the "John Wick" movie franchise, died Friday. He was 60.
The actor died of natural causes Friday morning, his representative Mia Hansen said in a statement to USA TODAY Friday.
"Lance will be greatly missed," Hansen said.
Reddick was perhaps best known for his turn as respected police officer Cedric Daniels on Baltimore crime drama "The Wire." The actor starred in all five seasons of the series as the lawyer-turned-lieutenant, leading the Baltimore Police Department's narcotics team of detectives, including Jimmy McNulty (Dominic West) and Kima Greggs (Sonja Sohn), in their work targeting local drug trafficker Avon Barksdale (Wood Harris).
Another major role of his came in the form of hotel concierge Charon of the Continental Hotel in the "John Wick" movies. Charon is close with his employer, Winston (Ian McShane), serving as his right-hand man.
"Theirs is a bond that transcends employer-employee and even friendship," Reddick told News 18 in a story published Thursday.
On Saturday, the star's wife, Stephanie Reddick, took to his Instagram account to thank fans for their "overwhelming love, support and beautiful stories."
"Lance was taken from us far too soon," she wrote. "I see your messages and can't begin to express how grateful I am to have them."
'John Wick: Chapter 4' stars pay tribute to Lance Reddick at L.A. premiere
In recent weeks, Reddick had been on a press tour for "John Wick: Chapter 4." He was not in attendance at the New York premiere of the film on March 15. He died two days later.
The following week, several of his "John Wick: Chapter 4" co-stars, including Reeves and Laurence Fishburne, honored Reddick at the film's Los Angeles premiere.
“We lost our brother, and in a really sort of very shocking way. I think we’re all still in shock. “Life is,” the visibly-shaken Fishburne said, pausing briefly before continuing, “hard sometimes.”
Reeves added, "Just to be in his light and to get a chance to work with him, I’ll cherish for the rest of my life. He had such a passion for his work and his craft. He was gracious. He had a dignity to him and a presence."
Many of those who worked on the film wore blue ribbons to honor Reddick.
“You know, it’s always hard when you lose someone that you love dearly . . . but you’re also incredibly grateful for the time you had together. We were fortunate enough to work with Lance since the very beginning of the ‘John Wick’ franchise. I mean it’s been almost 10 years,” director Chad Stahelski said. “I really wish he could be with us tonight, but, you know, life. But we’re very fortunate to have known him. And he’s a great man, a great artist, a great human, a dear friend.”
Shamier Moore, a newcomer to “Wick” franchise, recalled how Reddick took time to say a kind word on set.
“I grew up watching Lance Reddick. It is a bittersweet moment because he was definitely one of my heroes growing up as an actor, as a Black actor,” Moore said. And even though we didn’t share screen time together in this film, we shared some time off camera and he was salt of the Earth when he first met me.
“He said, ‘Shamier, you’re incredible. I love your work man,’ and like, it melted me like a puddle. ”
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Halle Berry, Viola Davis, Ben Stiller remember Lance Reddick
The actor's Hollywood co-stars – including Halle Berry, Idris Elba, Keanu Reeves, Viola Davis and Ben Stiller – shared tributes in statements and on social media.
"Shocked!! Speechless!! This talented, kind, intelligent King is gone!!" Davis wrote on Instagram. "I was blessed to have worked with you and blessed to have known you."
"I’ll never forget the huge smile and heartfelt hug Lance gave me as I walked on the set of John Wick for the first time," Berry shared. "His kind, sweet energy lit up every room he was in and his heart was larger than anything in it!"
Lance Reddick's career from 'New York Undercover' to 'John Wick'
Reddick, born June 7, 1962, was raised in Baltimore, Maryland, later attending the Yale School of Drama. The actor landed his first screen acting credit in 1996 on the television series "New York Undercover." He went on to appear in several TV movies and shows throughout the ‘90s, including "The Nanny" and "The West Wing."
It was on Season 4 of HBO's "Oz," playing a doomed undercover officer sent to prison who becomes an addict, that Reddick had a career breakthrough.
"I was never interested in television. I always saw it as a means to an end. Like so many actors, I was only interested in doing theater and film. But 'Oz' changed television. It was the beginning of HBO’s reign on quality, edgy, artistic stuff. Stuff that harkens back to great cinema of the '60s and '70s," he told The Associated Press in 2011.
"When the opportunity for 'Oz' came up, I jumped. And when I read the pilot for 'The Wire,' as a guy that never wanted to be on television, I realized I had to be on this show."
He continued to work steadily in television, appearing on network mainstays such as "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," "CSI: Miami," "Lost" and “Castle." He acted on the "The Wire" from 2002 to 2008 and in several films, including each "John Wick" movie as well as "I Dreamed of Africa," "The Siege" and "Great Expectations."
Reddick's Daniels climbed the ranks from lieutenant to major to colonel and eventually deputy commissioner of operations, constantly playing a balancing act with his career aspirations with his desire to do good police work amid competing political interests and budget cuts.
Michael K. Williams, Reddick's co-star on "The Wire" who played Omar Little on the series to critical acclaim, died on Sept. 6, 2021. At the time, Reddick called Williams "one of the kindest, gentlest, most genuine, giving and courageous souls I've ever met."
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More recently, Reddick lent his voice to several animated series, including "The Legend of Vox Machina," "Paradise PD" and "The Vindicators."
He earned a SAG Award nomination in 2021 as part of the ensemble for Regina King’s film "One Night in Miami." Reddick played recurring roles on "Intelligence" and "American Horror Story" and was on the show "Bosch" for its seven-year run.
His upcoming projects include 20th Century’s remake of "White Men Can’t Jump" and "Shirley," Netflix’s biopic of former Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm. He was also slated to appear in the "John Wick" spinoff "Ballerina," as well as "The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial."
Reddick attended the prestigious Eastman School of Music, where he studied classical composition, and he played piano. His first album, the jazzy "Contemplations and Remembrances," came out in 2011.
Reddick is survived by his wife, Stephanie Reddick, and his children, Yvonne Nicole Reddick and Christopher Reddick. Donations in his memory can be made to momcares.org in Baltimore, his hometown.
Contributing: Kim Willis, USA TODAY, and The Associated Press