Michael K. 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 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.
He was recently seen in HBO’s The Night Of in the role of Freddy Knight, for which he received an Emmy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie.
Williams previously received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or a Movie for his role as Jack Gee in HBO’s Bessie.
In 2018, William will return as ‘Leonard’ for a third season in the Sundance Channel series Hap & Leonard opposite James Purefoy and Christina Hendricks. The six part returning series premiered to record breaking ratings for the network and rave reviews from critics and viewers.
Previous TV credits include the ABC limited series When We Rise from Dustin Lance Black and Gus Van Sant. He also starred in the IFC comedy mini-series The Spoils Before Dying alongside Will Ferrell, Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph.
Williams most recently starred in Sony’s Ghostbusters reboot and New Regency’s Assassin’s Creed.
Williams made his feature film debut in the urban drama Bullet, after being discovered by the late Tupac Shakur. Previous feature film credits include Bringing Out the Dead, 12 Years A Slave, The Road, Gone Baby Gone, Life During Wartime, Brooklyn’s Finest, Wonderful World, Snitch, Robocop, The Purge: Anarchy, Captive, Kill The Messenger, Inherent Vice, Triple 9, The Gambler and The Land.
His upcoming projects include Gideon Raff’s Red Sea Diving Resort, which chronicles the evacuation of Jewish Ethiopian Civil War refugees from Sudan to Israel in the late 1970s and early '80s.
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. Williams currently serves as the ACLUs ambassador of Smart Justice.
Williams also Executive Produces and serves as the investigative journalist for Black Market, a documentary program that exposes and comments on illegal markets throughout the world with a focus on the people involved and connecting with them on a human level. Black Market is a flagship show for the newly launched network from Vice, VICELAND.
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.
Michael Kenneth Williams resides in Brooklyn, New York.
Guests From Episode 2 of Season 5
Join the conversation on #FindingYourRoots