Lance Reddick, a prolific actor who gained fame playing a police commander on the Baltimore crime drama The Wire and later had prominent roles in the John Wick movie franchise and the Amazon series Bosch, died on Friday. He was 60.
His death was confirmed by his publicist, Mia Hansen. No cause was given.
Reddick was having some success as a stage actor when, in 1996, he began landing small roles on New York Undercover, The West Wing and other television series, as well as some TV movies.
Even then he was often playing law enforcement figures, and he would be doing so when his breakthrough came in 2002: He was cast as Lieut Cedric Daniels, the principled head of the investigation unit, on The Wire, the sprawling HBO series that was praised for its realistic and often downbeat depiction of policing, crime, education and other aspects of life in Baltimore.
The series ran for five seasons and is widely regarded as having brought a new level of sophistication to police dramas and television in general.
“Ever since The Wire,” he told The IMDB Show in a video interview, “I’ve played a lot of intimidating authority figures that talk a lot.”
On the Fox sci-fi drama Fringe, which made its debut in 2008, he was Phillip Broyles, a Homeland Security agent. In the crime drama Bosch, which ran from 2014 to 2021, he was a police official. In the movie White House Down (2013), about an assault on the White House, he was vice chairman of the joint chiefs of staff.
“Intensity is not something I try to do,” he told the Queensland Times of Australia in 2010, “it’s just kind of the way that I am.”
He got away from the law enforcement roles in the John Wick movies, the action franchise that stars Keanu Reeves in the title role. He played Charon, a hotel manager, appearing in all four films, the first of which was released in 2014. The latest is being released this month.
In all of those roles and others, Reddick was a distinctive, instantly recognisable presence, even if he was not quite a household name. His voice, too, was distinctive, as players of Horizon Zero Dawn, Destiny 2 and other video games know.
“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.”
Reddick was born in Baltimore. His mother taught instrumental music, and his father was an educator and later a public defender.
He attended the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, where he studied classical composition. He was a skilled pianist and in 2010 released an album of his own works, Contemplations & Remembrances.
By the early 1990s, Reddick was in Boston and exploring acting, and soon he enrolled at the Yale School of Drama for a master’s degree, appearing at Yale Repertory Theater with Liev Schreiber and other future stars.
He is survived by his wife, Stephanie Reddick; a daughter, Yvonne Nicole Reddick; and a son, Christopher Reddick.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.