Reg E. Cathey, the Emmy-winning House of Cards actor who also was admired for his work on The Wire and Oz, has died at the age of 59. The Wire creator David Simon reported the actor’s death on Twitter. “Reg Cathey, 1958-2018,” Simon wrote. According to TMZ, Cathey passed away at his home in New York after a battle with lung cancer.
“Not only a fine, masterful actor — but simply one of the most delightful human beings with whom I ever shared some long days on set. On wit alone, he could double any man over and leave him thinking. Reg, your memory is a great blessing.” ~ The Wire creator David Simon
The Alabama-born, Germany-raised, Yale School of Drama-educated actor with a potent and sonorous voice became a mainstay of the HBO drama world, playing drug-addicted Scalio on David Simon’s 2000 miniseries The Corner and controversial prison administrator Martin Querns on Oz before reuniting with Simon to play newspaper editor-turned-political operative Norman Wilson on The Wire. He was back on HBO last year in the Oprah Winfrey movie The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lack.
But he also earned plenty of raves on House of Cards as proud rib maestro Freddy Hayes, whose BBQ restaurant served as refuge for Kevin Spacey’s Frank Underwood, and who would go on to work at the White House as a groundskeeper. Cathey scored three guest Emmy nominations for the role, coming home with the trophy in 2015.
Cathey also starred in the first two seasons of Robert Kirkman’s Cinemax horror series Outcast, and recently popped up on such shows as Inside Amy Schumer, The Blacklist, and Horace and Pete. His TV résumé includes roles on The Good Wife, Grimm, Banshee, and Law & Order: SVU, and he first made his mark in the medium on the late-80s PBS kids’ show Square One Television.
On the big screen, he has appeared in movies such as What About Bob?, Seven, Tank Girl, The Mask, S.W.A.T, The Machinist, and 2015’s Fantastic Four.