Reg E. Cathey, a brilliant Emmy-winning actor best known for his work on The Wire and House of Cards, passed away on Friday at his New York City home from lung cancer, according to his agent. He was 59.
In 2015, after three years of nominations, Cathey was awarded an Emmy for his portrayal of Freddy Hayes in Netflix’s House of Cards. Hayes owns a BBQ joint and eventually lands a job in the White House.
Cathey made a memorable appearance as newspaperman turned Baltimore politician Norman Wilson in David Simon’s critically acclaimed drama The Wire, and he played unit manager and warden Martin Querns in Tom Fontana’s critically praised HBO series Oz.
Cathey most recently appeared in HBO’s The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks and Robert Kirkman’s Cinemax series Outcast as Chief Byron Giles.
The Hollywood Reporter received a statement from Netflix on Friday saying: “We are heartbroken by the passing of our friend and House of Cards colleague… Reg was the most generous and kind-hearted actor and a true gentleman.
Simon tweeted about his passing.
In addition to playing Dr. Franklin Storm in the 2015 reboot of The Fantastic Four, Cathey is well-known for his commanding baritone voice. He has also acted in movies like Born on the Fourth of July (1989), What About Bob? (1991), Clear and Present Danger (1994), Seven (1995), Tank Girl (1995), American Psycho (2000), and Pootie Tang (2001).
His television credits have included Grimm, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Fontana’s Homicide: Life on the Street, and the Simon miniseries The Corner, in which he played a drug addict.
Cathey, a native of Huntsville, Alabama, lived briefly in Germany as a boy while visiting his family. He later graduated from Huntsville’s J.O. Johnson High School and pursued theatre studies at the Universities of Michigan and Yale.
In a 2016 interview with The Guardian, Cathey claimed that the election of the 44th U.S. president was the turning point in his career.
What he observed was that when Barack Obama was elected president, “well-spoken black folks are working more,” he remarked. “Obama is entirely to blame for this new market for the articulate black actor. He was inaugurated, and I immediately began working nonstop for the same people who had previously questioned my speech pattern. You know what, motherfuckers, I have, that’s how it feels.
Reg Cathey, 1958-2018. Not only a fine, masterful actor — but simply one of the most delightful human beings with whom I ever shared some long days on set. On wit alone, he could double any man over and leave him thinking. Reg, your memory is a great blessing. pic.twitter.com/OHEUbAhTg0
— David Simon (@AoDespair) February 9, 2018
Reg Cathey was one of a kind. Brimming with life force, generosity, humor, gravitas and a fountain of talent. Loved by everyone lucky enough know him and work with him. He will be greatly missed.
Rest In Peace, Reg. pic.twitter.com/p9DXFgDevP
— Beau Willimon (@BeauWillimon) February 9, 2018
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