'The Wire,' 'John Wick' Star Lance Reddick Dies at 60

Photo: Gage Skidmore

BY Calum SlingerlandPublished Mar 17, 2023

Lance Reddick — the American actor and musician known best for his roles in HBO drama The Wire and the John Wick film franchise — has died. A preliminary report from TMZ cites law enforcement sources claiming Reddick was found deceased at his Studio City home Friday morning. A cause of death has not been determined. He was 60.

Reddick will appear in John Wick: Chapter 4 upon the film's March 24 arrival in theatres, reprising his role as Charon. His character — the concierge at the Continental Hotel in New York City — has appeared in all four of the Chad Stahelski-helmed films.

Born in Baltimore in 1962, Reddick's first major television role saw him play Detective Johnny Basil in Season 4 of HBO prison drama Oz, which aired in 2000 and 2001. Of his time on the show, Reddick shared in a 2005 interview, "I had been hearing so much about it — it was one of those shows that everybody wanted to do in New York ... It was phenomenal. I felt like I was doing a film role. Up to that point, I felt like it was the best group of actors I had ever worked with and the best writing I had worked with, at least on television."

HBO would later cast Reddick as Baltimore police lieutenant Cedric Daniels on The Wire — a role he secured after four auditions to play different characters in the series.

"The first three times it wasn't even for Daniels," he recalled in 2005. "Originally, I went in for Bunk. I read for that role three times. The third time I read for it was for [series creator David Simon] and he asked me to read Bubbles on the spot — cold. Then I was told a week later I was second choice for Bubbles."

Reddick would get the call to play Daniels weeks after that audition, explaining, "they had a hard time casting Daniels and they were looking for a name for that role." He continued: "Literally, I thought I was dreaming. It's the only time in my life I really wondered, 'Am I dreaming this?' Because, it was like my life changed after that."

Upon The Wire's conclusion in 2008, Reddick would play law enforcement figures onscreen in Fringe, as special agent Phillip Broyles between 2008 and 2013, and in Bosch as Chief Irvin Irving between 2014 and 2020.

Reddick has also held onscreen and voice roles in Netflix's Resident Evil adaptationLostAmerican Horror StoryRick and MortyAqua Teen Hunger ForceIt's Always Sunny in PhiladelphiaNumb3rs, and the Law & Order franchise.

A memorable appearance on Season 2 of The Eric Andre Show in 2013 saw Reddick field questions about claymation, baseball, and Justin Bieber before angrily storming off the set. Moments later, he reappears dressed in Star Trek garb and slave shackles, exclaiming, "I wish I were LeVar Burton" — a monologue he later revealed was ad-libbed.

The sketch eventually found its way back to Burton himself, who wrote on Twitter in 2020, "I wish I was Lance Reddick!!!!!" Later that year, Burton would appear on The Eric Andre Show dressed as police chief, loudly yelling, "I wish I was Lance motherf***ing Reddick!"

Reddick also lent his voice talents to the world of video games, beginning with 2009's G-Unit shooter 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand. He would go on to voice characters in Quantum Break, and the Horizon and Destiny game franchises.

Before acting, music was Reddick's first love. As he told The Philadelphia Sunday Sun in a 2010 interview, "I grew up playing piano and singing in the choir from the time I was six years old until the time I was 16. I grew up in Baltimore so I attended the preparatory department of the Peabody Conservatory in junior high school and high school. For college I went to Eastman School of Music [in Rochester, NY]. I wanted to be a musician. I thought I was going to be a classical composer. My last years at Eastman I realized I was in denial and actually wanted to be a rock star."

In 2007, Reddick released debut solo album Contemplations & Remembrances, a jazz-leaning set of songs you can hear below.

"Growing up as a musician I was always awed by [jazz], but I was scared of it. I always thought jazz musicians were in a special category," Reddick told the Sunday Sun about the genre. "There were rock musicians, there were classical musicians, but the jazz musicians were the real cats. Those were the sorcerers. Growing up I was obsessed with Nat King Cole, I actually wanted to be him when I was 15 years old. I did become a little obsessed with Sting once I discovered him in the late '80s. He and [Miles Davis] are my main musical influences. Sting because his first two albums were so heavily influenced by Miles, then going back and really exploring Miles was like opening a flood gate."

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