Actor Robert F. Chew, the man best known for playing the civilized drug dealer “Proposition Joe” on The Wire, was found dead in his home in Northeast Baltimore on Thursday of apparent heart failure, according to The Baltimore Sun. The news came from Clarice Chew, his sister. Aside from his work on TV, Chew also mentored and taught young child and adult actors at the Baltimore Player’s Arena, where he stayed even as he got steady acting work.
"Robert was not only an exceptional actor, he was an essential part of the film and theater community in Baltimore,” David Simon, creator of The Wire, said in an email to The Baltimore Sun on Friday. “He could have gone to New York or Los Angeles and commanded a lot more work, but he loved the city as his home and chose to remain here working. He understood so much about his craft that it was no surprise at all that we would go to him to coach our young actors in season four. He was the conduit through which they internalized their remarkable performances."
Though he was most famous for playing a drug dealer, Chew was a respected member of his community, and never lost sight of where he came from even as he experienced success. He would even help his students at the Baltimore Player’s Arena land small parts on the show whenever he could. His funeral will be held next Thursday at the Calvin-Scruggs Funeral Home in Baltimore, MD.
[via The Baltimore Sun]