Reg E. Cathey, star of HBO’s The Wire and Netflix’s House of Cards, has died aged 59 after a reported battle with cancer.
Born in Alabama, the actor grew up in West Germany before returning to the USA and studying theatre at the University of Michigan and Yale.
He described his first big break as a children’s show called Square One TV, which aired from 1987-1992. He went on to appear in films such as The Mask, Se7en, and American Psycho in the ’90s, and recently had roles in films such as Fantastic Four and Flock of Four in his later career.
On television he enjoyed a recurring role as Norman Wilson in the critically acclaimed The Wire, recurring roles in Law & Order and Outcast, and his three-time Emmy-nominated turn as Freddy in Netflix’s House of Cards, for which he won the award in 2015.
In a statement, Netflix wrote: “We are heartbroken by the passing of our friend and House of Cards colleague Reg E. Cathey. Reg was the kindest man, the most giving actor, a true gentlemen. Our sympathy goes to his family.”
His death was reported first by The Wire creator David Simon:
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
Tributes from co-stars and peers such as Viola Davis, Samuel L. Jackson and House of Cards creator Beau Willimon have poured in since the announcement of his death:
RIP Reg E Cathey!!!
— Viola Davis (@violadavis) February 10, 2018
Shattered at the loss of Reg E. Cathey! Brilliant actor, humorist & friend! Irreplaceable! The ancestors about to be challenged!!
— Samuel L. Jackson (@SamuelLJackson) February 10, 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
Go gentle into that good night my brother. It was an honor spending time with you on set. Getting to know you as a person and an artist. You will be missed. Condolences to your family. I salute you. #Reg E. Cathey? https://t.co/4tNWpRoZrm
— Mike Colter (@realmikecolter) February 10, 2018
There are words. Reg E Cathey was one of the kindest, funniest, talented badasses I have ever had the honor of knowing. We lost a really good man today. You will be missed brother.
— Michael Kelly (@michaeljkellyjr) February 10, 2018
I'm numb! Reg E. Cathey! What are we gonna do without you bro?!!! ??? Just spread your wings and fly with the angels! pic.twitter.com/p9P21qBTIn
— Lawrence Gilliard Jr (@gilliardl_jr) February 10, 2018
Rest In Peace Reg E. Cathey. Privileged to have worked with him
— terry crews (@terrycrews) February 10, 2018
Just read that Reg E. Cathey has passed away. Reg was an incredibly kind and wonderful person with a vibrant love for the arts. He would bring his saxophone to set and serenade everyone at base camp during breaks. Rest In Peace my friend.
— Miles Teller (@Miles_Teller) February 10, 2018
Reg E. Cathey went out of his way to help me nearly 30 years ago, and I am one of hundreds. His legacy is a portrait of the courageous, open hearted generosity that all good work comes from. https://t.co/0KVZFtgkOb
— chris bauer (@realchrisbauer) February 10, 2018