The late, great Michael K. Williams revealed the dark side of his most iconic role in his posthumous memoir.
The actor gave indelible performances in various HBO shows, from the The Night Of,, to his role as Montrose Freeman on the supernatural horror show Lovecraft Country. But prior to all of this, it was the role of Omar Little on HBO crime drama The Wire that catapulted Williams to a household name.
In an excerpt from his upcoming posthumous memoir Scenes From My Life (via People), Williams reveals how the role of Omar Little played a prominent role in his battle with substance abuse.
“At the Omar audition, I was so beat down emotionally. That’s the most ironic thing. That f**k the world attitude helped me get the part,” Williams said in his memoir.
The actor went on to say that securing the role of Omar Little aided in his sobriety.
“Shooting in Baltimore for season 1, I was as sober as I’d ever been, barely even smoking weed. I treated the job like my life depended on it, because, in some ways, it did,” Williams said. “By that age, I’d been on the addiction/relapse merry-go-round enough to know how things could unravel once drugs entered the picture”
Eventually, 'The Wire' became the catalyst that springboarded Williams to further success in the film and television industry.
Unfortunately, though it initially aided in his sobriety, it also became the catalyst that led him to relapse into substance abuse. In Williams’ own words, he had “more money and more time on my hands.”
“My demons had room to play,” Williams said. “On days I wasn’t shooting, I started getting high on crack and cocaine again until I was completely broke.”
In his memoir, Williams also revealed that his role as Montrose Freeman in 'Lovecraft Country' took an emotional toll on him.
On Sept. 6, 2021, Williams was found dead in his Brooklyn apartment, succumbing to an accidental overdose. He was 54 years old.