Al Brown, the actor best known for his role as Major Stanislaus Valchek in the acclaimed HBO crime series "The Wire," has died at the age of 83. Brown's daughter, Jenny, informed TMZ that he passed away on Friday, January 13, 2023, as a result of Alzheimer's disease. She said that Brown had loved his job and was always happy to chat with fans about his role on the show.

Created by David Simon, "The Wire" is regularly cited as one of the greatest television shows of all time, despite being routinely snubbed by both the Golden Globes and the Emmys throughout its five-season run. Drawing from Simon's experience as a police reporter, the series explored the relationships between the city of Baltimore, its people, and its institutions, shifting its focus with each new season. Valchek, a commander within the Baltimore Police Department who later rose to the rank of commissioner, was a recurring character who appeared most prominently in season 2.

Brown was already in his 50s when he began acting on screen, and "The Wire" remains his best-known work. However, he also had guest roles in "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," "Commander in Chief," and "Forensic Files." He made a brief appearance in 2002's "Red Dragon," where he played a security guard who witnesses a flaming Freddy Lounds (Philip Seymour Hoffman) tied to a wheelchair and rolling down a hill before eventually crashing into a car. It takes quite a bit of skill to pull off that reaction shot.

'As Far As I Knew, I Was A Day Player'

When he was first cast in "The Wire," Brown never expected that he would go on to appear in 20 episodes. "I was astounded when they got in touch with me, when it was time to start thinking about the second season," he recalled in an interview for the behind-the-scenes book "All the Pieces Matter: The Inside Story of the Wire." He had grown used to appearing in single episodes of TV shows here and there: "As an actor, I hadn't missed church for a whole bunch of weeks. As far as I knew, I was a day player, one shot and I was done. And suddenly, a year after that, pretty much that season was largely about me."

Chris Bauer, whose character Frank Sobotka also appeared prominently in the season 2 storyline as a personal nemesis of Valchek's, had high praise for his co-star:

"I loved Al and was obsessed with his accent, a very nice guy. I thought, 'There's no way that guy could be an actor. He's gotta be the real thing.' It was as if they went and handed some commander at the nearest precinct a couple pages and told him, 'Go.' He's one of those Peter Lorre types who just stands there and talks, and the audience is transfixed. There were a lot of those bastards on 'The Wire.' Naturals."

Brown's daughter told TMZ that before her father became an actor he had served in the Air Force for 29 years, including two tours of Vietnam. Though his background may have been in the military rather than the police force, he was indeed the real thing.

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The post Actor Al Brown, Best Known For Playing Stan Valchek In The Wire, Has Died At 83 appeared first on /Film.