2:56 PM PT — Wendell Pierce just shared a touching tribute to his friend and former co-star, saying … “The depth of my love for this brother, can only be matched by the depth of my pain learning of his loss.”
Pierce calls Williams an “immensely talented man with the ability to give voice to the human condition portraying the lives of those whose humanity is seldom elevated until he sings their truth.” He says Williams was “Always truthful, never inauthentic. The kindest of persons.”
“The Wire” star — who played Det. Bunk Moreland — also reminisces about their time together on the show, and their famous park bench scene in which Pierce says they “aimed to take that moment in time together and say something about Black men.”
Pierce concludes … “So to you, my brother Mike, there is a small comfort that I know, you knew how much we loved you.
Michael K. Williams — best known for his breakout role as Omar Little on “The Wire” — is dead from a suspected drug overdose … TMZ has learned.
According to law enforcement sources … Williams was found dead in his Brooklyn apartment Monday after a relative hadn’t heard from him in a couple days and went to check on him.
We’re told the actor was found in the living room of his home, and drug paraphernalia was on a table nearby … suggesting he may have died from an OD. NY Post first reported the death.
After years of minor roles on TV and movies, Williams became a household name as Omar — the gritty, streetwise and homosexual criminal on HBO’s “The Wire” … earning him critical acclaim and adoration from fans.
Williams would go on to star in several other hit HBO series’ — like “Boardwalk Empire,” “The Night Of” and more recently “Lovecraft Country” — as well as movies like “12 Years a Slave” and “Assassin’s Creed.”
One of the actor’s trademarks was his signature facial scar — the result of a bar fight he got involved in on his 25th birthday that almost killed him. According to Williams … the scar helped to launch his acting career, leading to calls to do music videos and some minor work playing a thug in TV shows.
Williams was a 5-time Emmy nominee, and when we last saw him we had a good convo about his nom for ‘Lovecraft.’
He is survived by his son, Elijah.
Williams was 54.
Originally Published — 1:33 PM PT
Art Metrano, 'Police Academy' Actor and Comic, Dead at 84
Art Metrano — the stand-up comedian known for his role in the “Police Academy” sequels — has died of natural causes … according to his family.
Art’s son, Harry, tells TMZ … his father passed at his home Wednesday in Aventura, Florida. Harry says he didn’t just lose his dad, but also his best friend and mentor. He adds … “He was and will always be the toughest man I know. I have never met someone who has overcome more adversities than him.”
Metrano’s career began in the ’60s but skyrocketed in the ’70s thanks to his performance on “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson,” in which he performed as The Great Metrano … a hilarious magic act spoof.
From there, the Brooklyn native began working nightclubs all over the country and performing on famous variety shows like “The Dean Martin Show” and “Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In.”
He made it to the big screen in 1972’s “The Heartbreak Kid” and played DaVinci in Mel Brooks‘ “History of the World: Part I,” and would go on to star as Uncle Rico on “Joanie Loves Chachi.”
A couple years later, Art landed perhaps his most famous role in the second and third “Police Academy” films … as the boss, Ernie Mauser.
Sadly, at the height of his career in 1989, Metrano suffered a severe spinal injury that left him paralyzed. However, he made a remarkable recovery and turned his triumph over adversity into a one-man stage show, “Metrano’s Accidental Comedy” … in which he emerged from a wheelchair to take a few steps.
Art continued acting until 2001, with his more recent credits including “Party of Five,” “How Stella Got Her Groove Back” and “Chicago Hope.”
Metrano was 84.
Donald Trump Getting 'Obscene' Amount of Money for Calling Holyfield Fight
Donald Trump is doing way more than calling a fight this weekend … he’s bragging about making an outrageous amount of cash for the gig, and his deal has a crazy perk.
Multiple sources with direct knowledge tell TMZ, Trump says he’s making an “obscene” amount of money providing “live, alternative commentary” on the Evander Holyfield/Vitor Belfort fight. We’re told Triller, the media company behind the event, is paying a fortune … millions and millions for his blow-by-blow analysis, though our sources would not be more specific.
And there’s more. Trump says Triller is providing him with a G-5 jet to take him back and forth. What’s unclear … Trump lives in West Palm Beach, a stone’s throw from the Hard Rock in Hollywood, Florida where the event is taking place. So that’s a car drive, not a plane ride. It’s possible Trump’s going to New York City earlier in the day to commemorate 9/11.
We don’t know what Triller is paying Don Jr., who will join his father providing commentary.
We’re told the deal was sealed over Labor Day weekend … a deal Trump just couldn’t refuse.
Our sources say not everyone connected with the event is pleased, and some are downright angry.
We reached out to Triller … so far, no word back.
Bill Cosby Comedy Tour on Ice Because of Sexual Assault Lawsuit
Bill Cosby will NOT be hitting the road anytime soon to tell jokes … because he’s got more legal woes to deal with first, and his team is convinced the media will skewer him during a tour.
Cosby’s rep, Andrew Wyatt, tells TMZ … the comedy tour Cosby was planning to launch is officially on ice — with no resuming date in mind just yet — and he says the reason they’re hitting pause is Judy Huth‘s civil lawsuit.
Huth sued Cosby way back in 2014 for sexual assault, alleging he pounced on her at the Playboy Mansion in the ’70s, when she was just 15. He’s denied the allegations, and the suit stalled while Cosby faced the Andrea Constand case — but now, a trial date’s been set for Spring 2022.
Wyatt says Cosby wants to avoid going on tour for the moment because he doesn’t want this dark cloud hanging over his head … as he seems to think the case would become all the media talks about while he toured.
Performing onstage could also be risky for Cosby because Huth’s lawyers might potentially try to use his own words against him in the case. We asked Wyatt if that was a concern, but he says Cosby’s team is most worried about unfair treatment in the media.
While they’re focused on the media, the reality is Cosby will almost certainly face scores of hecklers and protesters wherever he performs … regardless of current or pending lawsuits.
Wyatt adds they’re not pulling the plug due to lack of interest — he claims about a dozen promoters approached Cosby for gigs.
What he has been doing lately since getting sprung — and what he’ll presumably keep doing now — is hanging with family and working on a new book and docuseries.
George Foreman Says Late Michael K. Williams Will Be Missed in Biopic
George Foreman sounds like he was really looking forward to Michael K. Williams acting in his biopic … telling us the late actor could’ve carried the entire movie.
The boxing legend tells TMZ … Michael was the perfect fit to play his trainer and mentor Doc Broadus in his upcoming biopic, and not just because he looked the part.
George tells us he liked the fact Michael could also relate to boxers. George also says once he saw a picture of MKW in a suit, he knew he was going to be the one to anchor the biopic.
As we reported … Michael was found dead Monday in his Brooklyn apartment, a little over a week after being cast in the Foreman biopic.
George says he didn’t have a hand in Michael’s original casting and says it’s going to be up to producers to fill the role … but he says he’ll be mourning Michael for a few days before thinking about who can play Doc.
You can tell George thinks Michael left some big shoes to fill.
'90 Day: The Single Life' Stars, Big Ed & Liz, Are Engaged
Big Ed‘s had to go through some tumultuous times on reality TV to get there, but it looks like it’s all worth it — he’s engaged to his girlfriend, Liz.
The former “90 Day Fiance” star and his GF were out at a nightclub last week in Santa Barbara, CA … and Liz was flaunting a big rock on her wedding ring finger.
We’re told they confirmed with folks there that they were getting married, and Big Ed was introducing Liz to people as his “beautiful fiancee.”
If you aren’t familiar … Ed and Rose were the surprise breakout couple of ’90 Day Fiance’ in early 2020, but his controversial treatment of her ended with a breakup and an eventual apology from him.
Then, Big Ed met Liz and the 2 were featured on “90 Day: The Single Life” … but their volatile relationship also ended with a split. They’ve clearly reconciled since then though … and are getting hitched.
We reached out to Ed for more info … stay tuned to see if they make it all the way down the aisle.
Caitlyn Jenner Says She's Pro-Choice But Supports Texas' New Abortion Law
Caitlyn Jenner says she’s all for “a woman’s right to choose,” but she also supports Texas’ new, restrictive abortion law … or at least its right to adopt it.
Jenner explained herself during a Tuesday segment on CNN … saying “I am for a woman’s right to choose” but “I am also for a state having the ability to make their own laws. So I support Texas in that decision. That’s their decision.”
When CNN anchor Brianna Keilar pressed her once again … Jenner said, “Now, do I agree with the decision or not? No. To be honest with you, I actually probably do not agree with the decision.”
Jenner, who is trying to become Governor of California, also noted that while she supports Texas’ legislative decision she doesn’t see the Golden State’s laws changing in the future when it comes to a woman’s right to choose.
As we reported … Texas’ new law, which went into effect September 1, pretty much outlaws abortion after the first 6 weeks of pregnancy. Critics of the so-called “heartbeat bill” wanted the Supreme Court to step in but they refused to hear the case … in effect, killing Roe vs. Wade in Texas.
Sarah Silverman is among the bill’s harshest critics … saying it’s an attack on the poor.
The new law, BTW, puts a bounty on the heads of anyone who assists a woman in getting an abortion after 6 weeks. Those who assist can be sued by anybody in the country for $10k plus attorney’s fees.
Stars On Set — Workin' It In Their Trailers!
If anyone knows what it’s like to never take a day off, it’s these nonstop stars dedicated to their craft!
While most people take a little time off to relax, celebrities like Drew Barrymore, Tracee Ellis Ross, and Ross Mathews only get to take a break on set with a visit to their trailers … and they are quick to snap a pic in between scenes!
Reese Witherspoon, Sydney Sweeney, and Mae Whitman are just a few others you can find hard at work to get audiences their favorite content fast.
So, take a load off and scroll through this gallery of set life stars outside their trailers!
Happy Labor Day!
Mark Hamill Proves Theory That Tweeting His Name Will Get Over 1k Likes
People sure do love them some Mark Hamill — even if it just means the guy’s name getting mentioned … by either him or anyone else, which is turning into a viral game of sorts.
The “Star Wars” vet is trending right now … and it’s all because he name-dropped himself in response to a Twitter user suggesting (or daring?) that he could garner well over a thousand “likes” on the platform by merely writing “Mark Hamill.” That’s how much he’s adored.
Mark Hamill https://t.co/5OF3tfGMPx
Welp, he caught wind of her theory … and decided to put it to the test, which ended up in staggering results — not to mention others getting in on the fun as well.
Dude quote-tweeted this chick and did exactly what she said … writing simply, “Mark Hamill.” As of right now … that same tweet is on its way to 100k likes, and over 4k retweets!!!
And now we wait. https://t.co/9vhQz5hBkN
Sure enough, the Internet took notice … and wanted to try it out themselves — almost like a Candyman thing, where if you say his name … Twitter likes will appear. Some are finding success — like George Takei, who did the same and has racked up over 4k likes.
Ditto for actor Ken Olin … who openly wondered if the rule would apply to any Schmo who tried this — and yes … his “Mark Hamill” tweet is also taking off, with well over 3k likes.
Will that work for anyone?
Mark Hamill. https://t.co/X4pCvxKe99
Of course, normies (AKA, non-blue checkmarks) are having a harder time getting the “like” love on their own timeline … which just goes to show, a little Twitter notoriety goes a long way. Followers help too … but it seems this “challenge” is reserved for the bird app elite.
As for the OG poster for this trend … she’s basking in the Hamill glory, especially since he digs her “Star Wars” memes and mega-fandom. He’s even commenting on her other tweets.
I made space dad laugh! 😭❤️ https://t.co/88YR0Sn8uY
And you thought tagging your fave celeb was a waste. Never know, they might be reading!