The Wire creator tweeted that his New York Times tribute to Williams, who died a week ago at age 54, was a "short remembrance for a talent, a genuine collaborator and a true friend. What I hope never gets lost is the awareness that Mike genuinely wanted his work to matter; not for fame or reward, but for leaving us all better humans in its wake." As Simon wrote, "To be honest, I misread the man from the start, 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.' Hoping to use Omar’s arc to lure a well-known actor with an established following, I checked his credits and frowned: Not much there. But when Ed would not relent, I watched the audition tape with care, and Mike was hired." Simon also recalled how Williams pressed the writers. "He gave us an astounding gift — an act of faith from a magnificent actor who could have played his hand very differently," wrote Simon. "Television usually chases its audience — if they love them some Omar, you feed them more Omar. If they can’t stop looking at Stringer, you write more Stringer. Never mind story and theme. Instead, Mike bent his beautiful mind to a task that even the best writers and show runners often avoid. 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. He became increasingly political as the show aged, and in interviews took to addressing societal and political issues, his arguments ranging well beyond Omar’s arc."
TOPICS: Michael K. Williams, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Lovecraft Country, The Wire, Courtney B. Vance, David Simon