Dick Anthony Williams, who earned Tony nominations for his roles in Black Picture Show and What the Wine-Sellers Buy, died February 16 in Los Angeles. He was 77 years-old.
Born in Chicago on August 9, 1934, Williams had polio as a child and took up acting in college. He made his Broadway debut in Ain’t Supposed to Die a Natural Death in 1972, and then played back-to-back Tony nominated roles in Black Picture Show and What the Wine-Sellers Buy in 1974 and 1975, respectively. His other Broadway credits include We Interrupt This Program… and The Poison Tree. He also directed and starred in Big Time Buck White in a production in Watts, California and was also a co-founder of the New Federal Theater in New York.
Williams earned acclaim for his portrayal of Malcolm X both on stage and on screen. He played Malcolm X opposite Paul Winfield’s Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the 1978 NBC mini-series King, and again in the play The Meeting, about a fictional meeting between the two civil rights leaders.
Among Williams' other screen credits are films like Slaughter's Big Rip-Off, Five on the Black Hand Side, Dog Day Afternoon, The Jerk, The Star Chamber, Gardens of Stone, Mo' Better Blues, Edward Scissorhands and The Rapture. His TV credits include Dragnet, The Shield, Our Family Honor, Heart of the City and Homefront. He appeared in the Lloyd Richard-helmed Freeman on PBS, and the Harriet Tubman telepic A Woman Called Moses.
Williams was married to actress Gloria Edwards, who died in 1988. He is survived by two daughters and a son.