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Celebrities Remember ‘John Wick’ and ‘The Wire’ Actor Lance Reddick

The star, who died at 60, was known for playing gritty, formidable law enforcement officers

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Tributes poured in over the weekend for Lance Reddick, one of Hollywood’s most intense, commanding and unforgettable character actors, who died Friday at 60 of natural causes.

Reddick was best known for his role as Lt. Cedric Daniels, the high-minded head of an investigation unit on HBO’s The Wire, and as Charon, the hotel concierge, in the John Wick movie franchise. 

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At Monday’s premiere of John Wick: Chapter 4, the film franchise’s latest installment, at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles, star Keanu Reeves, 58, reminisced about his time with Reddick. “We worked together on four films over 10 years,” he told People. “He was a remarkable artist and a special person with grace and dignity.” Audience members wore blue ribbons in tribute to Reddick, and Reeves and the film’s director, Chad Stahelski, announced that Chapter 4 would be dedicated to the late actor.

In a long career that also saw him star as Special Agent Phillip Broyles on Fringe and as Matthew Abaddon on Lost, the prolific actor earned industry respect and accolades, including a 2021 Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for his ensemble work in Regina King’s film One Night in Miami. His death was shocking not only for its suddenness and his relatively young age, but also for his lost potential.

In a tweet, Wendell Pierce, Reddick’s Wire costar, called him a “man of great strength and grace, as talented a musician as he was an actor, the epitome of class. A sudden unexpected sharp painful grief for our artistic family. An unimaginable suffering for his personal family and loved ones. Godspeed my friend. You made your mark here.”

“Shocked!! Speechless!!,” actor Viola Davis wrote on Instagram. “This talented, kind, intelligent King is gone!! I was blessed to have worked with you and blessed to have known you. Praying for comfort for your family and loved ones! Rest well Lance Reddick ... see you on the other side.”

“Unacceptable,” actor Patton Oswalt posted on Twitter. “Death, I want your badge and scythe on my desk at 9am tomorrow.”

A native of Baltimore, Reddick, the son of a public defender and a music teacher, initially planned to make a career as a musician, and studied classical composition at the University of Rochester’s Eastman School of Music. In 2007, he released the album Contemplations & Remembrances.

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He received his theatrical training at the Yale University School of Drama. Working first as a stage actor, he began winning roles in television series in 1996. Reddick appeared on The West Wing, Law & Order and other series before landing the recurring role of Johnny Basil on Oz in 2000. Reddick drew attention for his icy and authoritative delivery, and despite his gentleness off-screen, the incisive demeanor seemed to come naturally.

“Intensity is not something I try to do,” he explained in 2010 to The Queensland Times of Australia. “It’s just kind of the way that I am.” But what he was really striving for, he explained to the Los Angeles Times in 2019, was range. “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.”

Other highlights include his work on the Amazon series Bosch, recurring roles on Intelligence and American Horror Story, and voicing video games. He also appeared in a number of films.

His wife, Stephanie Reddick, a daughter, Yvonne Nicole Reddick, and a son, Christopher Reddick, survive him.

Editor's note: This article was originally published on March 20. It has been updated to reflect new information.

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