In an op-ed published in the New York Times on Sunday, the writer-producer reflected on his relationship with Williams, who was best known for his role as Omar Little in Simon’s hit HBO series.
“To be honest, I misread the man from the start,” Simon wrote, “And it was my writing partner, Ed Burns, who had first spotted Mike’s read for Omar on a tape of two dozen New York auditions a year earlier. ‘There’s this one guy on there with this amazing scar all the way down his face, and his presence is just extraordinary,’ Ed insisted. ‘Take a look.’”
Simon continued, “He gave us an astounding gift — an act of faith from a magnificent actor who could have played his hand very differently.”
“Mike bent his beautiful mind to a task that even the best writers and show runners often avoid,” Simon said. He thought about the whole story, the whole of the work. Perhaps more than any in that talented cast, I came to trust Mike to speak publicly to our drama and its purposes, to take personal pride in all that we were trying, however improbably, to build.”
The beloved actor died last week of a suspected overdose. He was just 54 years old.
Check out David Simon’s full tribute to Michael K. Williams up top.