Reg E. Cathey

Reg E. Cathey

Born in Huntsville, AL, Cathey made his bones treading the boards in a number of Broadway and off-Broadway productions in the early 1980's. An accomplished Shakespearean actor, Cathey landed prominent roles in such Bardian classics as "The Taming of the Shrew," "Richard III," "Hamlet," and "The Merchant of Venice" before moving to Los Angeles to pursue work in film and television. Cathey's first major screen debut was a guest spot on the popular action drama "Spenser: For Hire" (ABC, 1985-88). There, Cathey had a chance to share some screen time with star Robert Urich, as well as his longtime friend and colleague from his theater days, Avery Brooks. More guest-starring roles followed on such shows as "Star Trek: The Next Generation" (syndicated, 1987-1994), "ER" (NBC, 1994-2009), "Arli$$" (HBO, 1996-2002) and "Third Watch" (NBC, 1999-2005). Parlaying his quick television success into feature work, Cathey copped several small parts in a string of high-profile movies in the nineties, among them "The Mask" (1994), "Clear and Present Danger" (1994), "Tank Girl" (1995) and the gruesome thriller "Se7en" (1995). Cathey's greatest successes, however, remained largely on television. While working on the telefilm, "Homicide: The Movie" (NBC, 2000), Cathey so impressed the show's creator-producer, David Simon, that he cast him in his next project, a gritty, urban drama miniseries called "The Corner" (HBO, 2000). Set in and around the city of Baltimore, "The Corner" was the story of one family's struggle to survive on the front lines, amid the crossfire of a raging drug war - a theme that Simon would later revisit in even greater detail with his next series, "The Wire." After "The Corner," Cathey was quickly snapped up by Simon's friend, fellow "Homicide" producer Tom Fontana for his new HBO series, the groundbreaking prison drama, "Oz" (HBO, 1997-2003). Cast as Martin Querns, the hard-driving new warden of Oswald Penitentiary, Cathey was a consistent standout among Oz's myriad ensemble of recurring characters.Aside from taking a cameo role as the villainous Dirty Dee in Louis C.K.'s comedy "Pootie Tang" (2001), Cathey, by and large, stuck mainly with television during the new millennium. Not long after the cancellation of "Oz," Cathey returned to HBO to work on David Simon's latest project, "The Wire." Introduced in the 2006 fourth season opener entitled "Boys of Summer," Cathey tackled the recurring role of Norman Wilson, the pessimistic, but highly shrewd political advisor to mayoral hopeful, Councilman Tommy Carcetti (Aiden Gillan). As Wilson, Cathey remained by Carcetti's side - despite his growing disillusionment - right up to the candidate's winning of the governorship on the fifth and final season of "The Wire" in 2008. He went on to make quest appearances on such programs as "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (NBC, 1999-) and "30 Rock" (NBC, 2006-2013). Later, Cathey picked up a recurring role as fight promoter Barry K. Word on the short-lived boxing drama "Lights Out" (FX, 2011) and was seen in an episode of the espionage-thriller "Person of Interest" (CBS, 2011-16) the following year. Cathey's next major role came in the political drama "House of Cards" (Netflix 2013-), followed by big screen supporting roles in the Bill Murray comedy "St. Vincent" (2014) and the ill-fated comic book reboot "Fantastic Four" (2015). Cathey next appeared in a recurring role as a local chief of police in horror drama "Outcast" (Cinemax 2016-), as well as a supporting role in indie drama "Tyrel" (2018), which proved to be his last film role. Reg E. Cathey, who had been suffering from lung cancer, died at his home in New York City on February 9, 2018. He was 59.


Guest Appearances