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The Net Worth of Michael K. Williams at the Time of His Death

Michael K. Williams

On September 6, 2021, the world was robbed of a star when Michael K. Williams died in his apartment following an accidental drug overdose. Family members found him in his penthouse, and police decided to treat the death as a homicide. Therefore, in February 2022, one man was charged with selling the fatal dose of fentanyl-laced heroin that took away the life of the beloved actor. At the time of Williams’ death, his net worth was $5 million, which would have grown had his life not been cut short. Let’s give you an account of how he accumulated wealth.

Earning a Living as a Dancer

Williams grew up in the projects in Brooklyn and said in an interview with Hollywood Reporter that it was a turbulent neighborhood. Thankfully, his mother was strict. So while the late actor’s friends became notorious, Williams adhered to his mother’s rules. He wanted to make his mother proud therefore did his best in school but developed a love for music and dancing. Whenever there was a party, Williams attended to show off his new dance moves. While in high school, Williams got a job at Pfizer Pharmaceuticals as a temp. Then in 1989, Janet Jackson released her fourth studio album “Rhythm Nation 1814.” The late actor identified with the message and one of the characters in the video. Then Williams got his epiphany moment when he realized that he could become a dancer and make a living from it. He, therefore, quit school, and his determination landed him a gig for Technotronic’s “Pump Up The Jam” hit in 1989. However, his luck was yet to change because, according to Rolling Stone, Williams was broke in the early 1990s. He spent his days drinking and daydreaming. Since he could not afford nice clothes, he stole. He even endured a period of homelessness and would sneak into theaters to get a few hours of sleep. Although he got paid for his dancing gigs, it was barely enough to cover his food expenses. So, sometimes he would have to steal some food to survive. Some of the videos clips that put food on his table were for musicians like Ginuwine, Missy Elliot, the Braxtons, and Crystal Waters. Not only was he a dancer, but Williams was a self-taught choreographer who went on tours with Madonna and George Michael.

Becoming an Actor

Williams transitioned from dancing to acting through an incident that left a permanent scar on his face. According to the Los Angeles Times, Williams left a bar to get some fresh air and saw his friends surrounded but strangers. The ever-helpful Williams told his friends to go home, but one guy was not pleased that the late actor got in between the fight that was about to happen. Therefore, the guy spat out a razor and slit Williams’ face, leaving a scar that changed the direction of his career. Williams had been viewed as a dancer and choreographer, but the scar made him look like a thug. From then on, musicians preferred featuring him as a thug in their videos. One polaroid got to the late Tupak Shakur, who wanted Williams cast in “Bullet” in 1996 as his little brother. The late actor also tried his hand in the theater after a friend introduced him to Ellen Stewart, the founder of La MaMa Theater and artistic director.

He Would Have left Behind Much More Wealth

Williams revealed in an interview with NPR that some of the roles he booked did not work out, leaving him financially strapped. He sank into depression, but “The Wire” saved him before destroying him. The late actor revealed to Hollywood Reporter that playing Omar enabled him to grow in every aspect of his life. He had never been paid as much money as he earned in the first season of “ The Wire.” He even hired an accountant because he was aware of his poor financial management skills; Williams would go shopping before paying his rent. He thought the prosperity that season one earned him would last forever; thus, he wasted his money. He moved to Baltimore, but then the second season came, and he was not as pivotal as he thought he would be. Despite having so much time on his hands, Williams did not do anything productive. Instead, he spent his money on drugs and alcohol. By the end of season two of “The Wire,” he could no longer afford to be in Baltimore. He had to move back to the projects and slept on the floor. Even though the directors noticed he reported to the set high, they still did not fire him, fearing that an unemployed Williams would sink deeper into addiction. Williams knew it was only a matter of time before the path he had chosen landed him in jail or dead.

His Legacy is Much More Than the Wealth Left Behind

Therefore, he sought help to be sober, and Today published that the late actor credited the late Reverend Ronald Christian with assisting him. He began landing acting gigs again and Michael K. Williams net worth reached $5 million. While you would expect him to have amassed a substantial amount of wealth, Williams’ drug addiction drained his funds. However, those who knew him well appreciate the legacy of being a caring person. Williams is remembered more for his kind deeds than for his net worth because he did not spare his money to help anyone in need. Someone like Eddie Morales owes the late actor his life because when Morales suffered a heart attack, Williams went to the hospital and paid the bills and the stress test. Williams had not forgotten that Morales had helped him land the dancing gig with Technotronic. Others remember him as the humble man who never forgot where he came from and reminded the youth they were beautiful regardless of their appearance. To them, even if Williams had a negative bank balance, his heart would always overflow with generosity.

Allen Lee

Written by Allen Lee

Allen Lee is a Toronto-based freelance writer who studied business in school but has since turned to other pursuits. He spends more time than is perhaps wise with his eyes fixed on a screen either reading history books, keeping up with international news, or playing the latest releases on the Steam platform, which serve as the subject matter for much of his writing output. Currently, Lee is practicing the smidgen of Chinese that he picked up while visiting the Chinese mainland in hopes of someday being able to read certain historical texts in their original language.

Read more posts by Allen Lee

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