Esteemed actor Lance Reddick dead at 60


Gage Skidmore | Wikimedia Commons

Rahul Nath

Iconic actor and singer Lance Reddick died from natural causes at age 60 on March 17.

He was best known for his roles in television series “The Wire,” “Fringe” and “Bosch” as well as in films “John Wick” and “Angel Has Fallen.” Reddick was also an avid gamer, lending his voice to numerous video games such as Quantum Break, Horizon Zero Dawn and Destiny.

Reddick’s death shocked the industry, with many reflecting on how prolific of an actor he was. Reddick’s “John Wick” co-stars Keanu Reeves and Ian McShane paid tribute at his funeral along with his co-stars from “The Wire”, Wendell Pierce, Isiah Whitlock Jr. and series creator David Simon.

Players of the video game series, Destiny have also honored Reddick, holding mass gatherings around his character Commander Zavala and activating the salute emote. Mike Mignola, creator of the Hellboyfranchise, also shared his condolences in a recent Instagram post along with anecdotes about working with Reddick on the Hellboy: Web of Wyrd game.

Reddick was born in Baltimore, Maryland to Dorothy Gee and Solomon Reddick. He spent most of his academic life studying music, having attended the Peabody Preparatory Institute, the Walden School and the University of Rochester’s Eastman School of Music, where he received his Bachelor of Music. He later attended the Yale School of Drama where he graduated with a Master of Fine Arts in 1994.

While in school, Reddick felt the burden of being an up-and-coming actor in a predominantly white field.

“I knew I was at least as talented as other students, but because I was a Black man and I wasn’t pretty, I knew I would have to work my butt off to be the best that I would be, and to be noticed,” he told the Los Angeles Times.

Reddick reflected on Black representation in Hollywood years later during an interview with The Guardian.

“The African American community is so under-served in the entertainment industry,” he said.

Reddick’s first breakout role came in 2002 when he was casted as Cedric Daniels in the HBO series “The Wire,” after he played detective Johnny Basil on “Oz” in the year 2000. In 2008, he played Matthew Abaddon in “Lost.”

Not only did Reddick give stellar performances on screen, he also pursued his interest in music, releasing his debut album “Contemplations & Remembrances” in 2007. Reddick would later star in “Fringe” as the recurring character Phillip Broyles then as Charon in the “John Wick” franchise starting in 2014.

Reddick’s work appeared in video games, such as in the Destiny series, when he voiced Commander Zavala, along with Horizon Zero Dawn and its sequel Horizon Forbidden West when he played Sylens.

He would also portray Albert Wesker in the live action “Resident Evil” series on Netflix along with Martin Hatch in the “Quantum Break” franchise.

Reddick has also already recorded his lines for the upcoming Hellboy game, Hellboy: Web of Wyrd, where he’ll play the titular character. It constitutes one of Reddick’s last roles before his death.

Leaning into his propensity for playing police chiefs, Reddick played chief Irvin Irving in the Amazon Prime series “Bosch.” He will also posthumously play Zeus in the upcoming live-action Disney+ adaptation of “Percy Jackson.”

Reddick contributed to a handful of stage plays as well, like “After-Play” at the Manhattan Theater Club in New York, and the Signature Theater Company’s New York revival of August Wilson’s “Seven Guitars,” where Reddick’s musical background gave him insight into his character, Floyd, a blues musician.

Reddick had an admiration for most, if not all, his roles.

“Range is always what I’m striving for,” Reddick told The Los Angeles Times in 2019. “I never want anybody to say, ‘Oh, this is who he is.’ Although the characters I play, even in all their diversity, tend to be fairly intense. But they’re all very different guys.”

He held his work on The Wire specifically in high regard due to how it reflected the real world’s injustices.

“‘The Wire’ really drew on a lot of real-life situations and real-life organizations — it created fiction to make a social statement about reality.”

Throughout his prolific career, Reddick had an incredible amount of passion for each of his roles, often elevating the entire project with his groundbreaking performances. His impact on the industry will continue to be felt and will inspire countless aspiring actors.