On Thursday Melvin Williams, former drug kingpin and inspiration for The Wire, passed away at 73 years old.
Prior to inspiring the hit HBO show, Little Melvin was a powerful criminal in the drug trade during the ’70s and ’80s in Baltimore, Maryland. Eventually, the future actor was sent to a federal prison and turned away from his life of crime.
In fact, the show’s creator David Simon penned a 5-part profile for the Baltimore Sun back in 1987. Whoa!
It’s said that the character Avon Barksdale, played by Wood Harris, was inspired by Melvin’s incredible life story. After being released from prison in 1996, the reformed convict went on to guest star on the TV hit show
The industry vet even took to Twitter to pay tribute to his deceased muse. He posted:
Our thoughts are with Melvin’s loved ones during this trying time.
[Image via HBO.]