Michael Kenneth Williams is one of television’s most respected and acclaimed actors. By bringing complicated and charismatic characters to life—often with surprising tenderness—Williams has established himself as a gifted and versatile performer with a unique ability to mesmerize audiences with his stunning character portrayals.
Williams is best known for his remarkable work on The Wire, which ran for five seasons on HBO. The wit and humor that Williams brought to Omar, the whistle-happy, profanity-averse, dealer-robbing stickup man, earned him high praise and made Omar one of television’s most memorable characters. For his work Williams was nominated in 2009 for an NAACP Image Award for “Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series.”
Williams is also co-starring in HBO’s critically acclaimed series Boardwalk Empire, which premiered in 2010. In the Martin Scorsese-produced show, Williams plays Chalky White, a 1920s bootlegger and impeccably suited veritable mayor of the Atlantic City’s African-American community. In 2012 Boardwalk Empire won a Screen Actors Guild Award for” Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series.” The third season of Boardwalk Empire launches in the fall of 2012.
Most recently, Williams has guest-starred in three episodes of Community, NBC’s comedy series. His other television credits include Law & Order, CSI, The Philanthropist and Boston Legal. He also had a recurring role on The Sopranos and J.J. Abrams’ Alias.
Williams made his feature film debut in the urban drama Bullet, after being discovered by the late Tupac Shakur. He also appeared in Bringing Out the Dead, which was directed by Martin Scorsese. His other film work includes roles in The Road, Gone Baby Gone, Life During Wartime, I Think I Love My Wife, and Wonderful World. He also has a co-starring role in the upcoming film Snitch opposite Dwayne Johnson.
Giving back to the community plays an important role in Williams’ off-camera life. He has established Making Kids Win, a charitable organization whose primary objective is to build community centers in urban neighborhoods that are in need of safe spaces for children to learn and play.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Williams began his career as a performer by dancing professionally at age 22. After numerous appearances in music videos and as a background dancer on concert tours for Madonna and George Michael, Williams decided to seriously pursue acting. He participated in several productions of the La MaMA Experimental Theatre, the prestigious National Black Theatre Company and the Theater for a New Generation directed by Mel Williams.
Michael Kenneth Williams resides in Brooklyn, New York.