Played by Michael Kenneth Williams
Michael Kenneth Williams
Michael Kenneth Williams is one of this generation’s most respected and acclaimed actors. By bringing complicated and charismatic characters to life—often with surprising tenderness—Williams has established himself as a gifted and versatile performer with a unique ability to mesmerize audiences with his stunning character portrayals.
Williams is best known for his remarkable work on The Wire, which ran for five seasons on HBO. The wit and humor that Williams brought to Omar, the whistle-happy, profanity-averse, drug dealer-robbing stickup man, earned him high praise and made Omar one of television’s most memorable characters.
Williams has most recently co-starred in HBO’s critically acclaimed series Boardwalk Empire, which premiered in 2010. In the Martin Scorsese and Terence Winter produced show, Williams played Chalky White, a 1920's bootlegger and the impeccably suited, veritable mayor of Atlantic City’s African-American community. In 2012, Boardwalk Empire won a Screen Actors Guild Award for “Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series.”
Williams has continued to show his versatility by guest-starring in three episodes of Community, NBC’s comedy series. Michael’s other television credits include Law & Order SVU, The Kill Point, The Philanthropist and Boston Legal. He also had a recurring role on The Sopranos and J.J. Abrams’ Alias.
Williams made his feature film debut in the urban drama Bullet, after being discovered by the late Tupac Shakur. He also appeared in Bringing Out the Dead, which was directed by Martin Scorsese. His other film work includes roles in The Road, Gone Baby Gone, Life During Wartime, Brooklyn’s Finest, Wonderful World, and Snitch, opposite Dwayne Johnson and Susan Sarandon.
Michael was also seen in Jose Padilha’s remake of Robocop starring with Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman and Michael Keaton, and in a supporting role in the Oscar-winning Steve McQueen film 12 Years A Slave with Michael Fassbender and Brad Pitt. He appeared in The Purge: Anarchy, the successful sequel to the box office-booming The Purge, as the revolutionary leader Carmelo Johns.
In 2014, Williams completed filming Captive opposite Kate Mara and David Oyelowo, Kill the Messenger opposite Jeremy Renner, as well as Paul Thomas Anderson’s latest film, Inherent Vice. Williams is currently in theatres opposite Mark Wahlberg in Paramount’s remake of The Gambler.
Continuing his relationship with HBO, Michael can be seen in the HBO limited series The Night Of, written and directed by Steve Zaillian.
Giving back to the community plays an important role in Williams’ off-camera life. He is working to launch Making Kids Win, a charitable organization whose primary objective is to build community centers in urban neighborhoods that are in need of safe spaces for children to learn and play.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Williams began his career as a performer by dancing professionally at age 22. After numerous appearances in music videos and as a background dancer on concert tours for Madonna and George Michael, Williams decided to seriously pursue acting. He participated in several productions of the La MaMA Experimental Theatre, the prestigious National Black Theatre Company and the Theater for a New Generation directed by Mel Williams.