Lawrence Gilliard Jr. is an American actor, known for his work in films, TV shows as well as theater. His best-known roles are D’Angelo Barksdale in the HBO crime drama series `The Wire’, and Bob Stookey in the AMC horror drama `The Walking Dead’. Gilliard initially wanted to become a musician. However, later he changed his mind and decided to pursue a career as an actor. Therefore, he learnt acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, The Acting Studio- New York, and later at the Stella Adler Conservator. He made his acting debut with a lead role in the film `Straight Out of Brooklyn’. Throughout his career, he has appeared in many films, such as `One Tough Cop’, `Gangs of New York’ and `The Double’. He also appeared in several TV programs such as `In The Line of Duty: Street War’, a television film and the sitcom `Less than Perfect’, in a guest role. One of his most important works on television is his role of D`Angelo Barksdale in the crime drama TV series `The Wire’.
Childhood & Early Life
Lawrence Gilliard Jr. was born in New York City in the US, on 22 September, 1971. When he was seven years of age, his family moved to Baltimore in Maryland.
From an early age, he had a huge interest in music. He studied classical music at Baltimore School for the Arts. His classmates include Jada Pinkett Smith and Tupac Shakur.
Later, Gilliard changed his mind and decided to pursue a career in acting instead. Therefore, he studied acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, The Acting Studio-New York, and later also at the Stella Adler Conservatory.
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Lawrence Gilliard Jr. made his acting debut with a lead role in the 1991 independent film `Straight Out of Brooklyn’, which was directed by Matty Rich. The next year, he made his television debut in the TV film `In the Line of Duty: Street War`.
He appeared in many films over the next few years, though he appeared mostly in minor roles. Some of these films are ‘The Pickle’ (1993), ‘Money Train’ (1995), ‘A Soldier’s Sweetheart’ (1998), ‘One Tough Cop’ (1998) and ‘Cecil B. DeMented’ (2000). He had an important role in the sitcom ‘George’, which aired between 1993 and 1994. He also appeared in the TV movies ‘Survive the Night’ (1993), ‘Inflammable’ (1995), and ‘Sally Hemings: An American Scandal’ (2000).
In 2002, he was seen in the crime film ‘Gangs of New York’, which was directed by Martin Scorsese. The film starred actors such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Cameron Diaz and Daniel Day-Lewis. The film received mostly positive reviews, and was also a commercial success, earning almost twice its $ 100 million budget. It won several awards, and also earned ten Oscar nominations. Gilliard played Jimmy Spoils, a supporting character.
In 2002 and 2003, he also played an important role in the crime drama series ‘The Wire’. The show aired between 2002 and 2008, and was met with critical acclaim. It won several awards as well. He played the role of D’Angelo Barksdale, the lieutenant of a drug dealing organization. His character was seen in a total of eighteen episodes.
In 2003, he was seen in the film ‘Kill the Poor’, which was based on a novel by Joel Rose. The film was directed by Alan Taylor. In 2004, he appeared in the psychological thriller film ‘The Machinist’. The film was a commercial success, earning over $ 8 million on a budget of $ 5 million. The same year, he was also seen in two other films ‘Brother to Brother’, and ‘Woman Hollering Creek’.
He played guest roles in several TV shows such as ‘Law & Order: Criminal Intent’, ‘Numb3rs’, and ‘Fear Itself’. In 2009, he had a main role in the crime drama series ‘The Beast’. Though it received mostly positive reviews, it was cancelled after a single season, due to low ratings.
His next significant work on the big screen was ‘The Double’, a 2011 American spy film, where he played a supporting character named Agent Burton. He had a main role in the 2012 psychological thriller horror film ‘Would You Rather’. Reviews were generally mixed. In 2014, he had a minor role in the comedy film ‘Walk of Shame’.
Between 2013 and 2015, he played Bob Stookey, a recurring character in the post-apocalyptic horror series ‘The Walking Dead’. The series which started airing in 2010, has gained a huge recognition over the years, and has received mostly mixed to positive reviews from critics. In 2015, he appeared in the American drama series ‘Graceland’. Between 2017 and 2019, he played a main role in the TV series ‘The Deuce’.
Lawrence Gilliard Jr. has appeared in several films throughout his long career, and one of his most important works on the big screen is undoubtedly ‘Gangs of New York’, a 2002 historical crime film. Directed by renowned filmmaker Martin Scorsese, the film was based on a non-fiction book of the same name, written by Herbert Asbury. The film was a commercial success, and was also praised by the critics. The film won several awards, and was nominated for ten Oscars, including Best Picture, and Best Director.
One of Gilliard’s most important works on television is his supporting role in the TV series ‘The Wire’. The series, which is set in Baltimore, Maryland, covers various aspects of the city, including the illegal drug trade, the seaport system, the city government and bureaucracy, education and schools, as well as the print news medium. The show aired between 2002 and 2008, and received mostly positive reviews.
Family & Personal Life
Lawrence Gilliard Jr. is married to Michelle Paress, who had also acted in the TV series ‘The Wire’. Previously, he was engaged to actress Monilewa Okan.