[an error occurred while processing this directive] George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight | Michael Kenneth Williams


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Guest Michael Kenneth Williams

No actor should be judged by just one role, but, with Michael Kenneth Williams, consider this: the guy played Omar Little, quite possibly the greatest character on the greatest TV show of all time, 'The Wire'.

Now, that might sound like hyperbole, but Omar was a revelation: An openly gay gangster, who made a living by robbing drug dealers and following his own moral code. Michael played Omar with total commitment; he actually improvised Omar's first on-screen kiss. But hey, that's the mark of a great actor: you always stay true to your character.

Now, part of that character was informed by Michael's past: he grew up in the housing projects of Flatbush, New York - an artistic kid, surrounded by violence. He actually started out as a dancer, but a dramatic injury threatened to end his career: On his 25th birthday, Michael was involved in a bar fight. His face and neck were cut with a razor blade, and the resulting blood loss nearly killed him. Undeterred, Michael learned to wear his scar as a badge of pride, and it actually led to his big break: in 1996, Tupac Shakur hand-picked Michael for the movie 'Bullet', based on a Polaroid of his face.

These days, Michael has reason to smile: he currently stars as Chalky White on the HBO drama, 'Boardwalk Empire'. Set in Atlantic City in the 1920s, Chalky serves as unofficial mayor for the black community: part bootlegger, part gangster, and all business. So, after a dramatic journey, can Michael look forward to the future? As Omar would say, "Oh, indeed."

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