Beloved thespian Michael K. Williams was a popular dancer in music videos before he became a breakout star in the award-winning HBO series “The Wire.” But a fight at a bar in Queens, New York, that nearly ended his life, wound up transforming it.
Williams had such skills as a dancer that he was chosen to perform in short films by pop legends like Madonna and George Michael.
But a near-fatal fight at a bar left him scarred for life, literally. It also changed the trajectory of his career and, combined with his prodigious skills, eventually made him a household name.
The 54-year-old, who was found dead in his Queens apartment with drug paraphernalia near his body on Monday, Sept. 6, 2021, told National Public Radio in 2014 of that fateful bar encounter. He said he had stepped outside to get some air when he found his two friends being confronted by another group.
Williams called out to his friends that he was ready to go home.
He immediately noticed “this one dude kept pacing behind me. He kept like, you know, like sucking his teeth, and I’m looking — I’m like, ‘Yo — so what’s up dude? Yo bro, what’s your problem?’ ” he said.
“And the dude wiped his hand across his mouth and just — what I thought appeared to be — smacked me, but what he did was he spit a razor.”
Willams continued: “He was positioning the razor in his mouth to get between his middle finger and his ring finger, and then he just went … swiped me down my face, and this cut my face.”
“It was actually the first hit of the fight. So we managed to escape with our lives, barely, that night,” he said.
Flip the page to see how the long facial scar actually elevated his career.