Al Brown, Star of The Wire, Dies at 83

Al Brown, the veteran character actor best known for his role as Colonel Stan Valchek in HBO's acclaimed hit The Wire, has died. He was 83 years old. Brown's daughter confirmed reports of his passing to TMZ, saying that he passed away in Las Vegas on Friday as a result of complications from Alzheimer's Disease. Brown started acting in the 1990s, and appeared in small roles in numerous TV shows and movies, but is best remembered for The Wire, on which he had a recurring role for the show's entire five-year run. 

For Valchek, he channeled some real-world experience in the military, having served two tours in Vietnam with the Air Force before returning to the U.S. to begin his acting career. He often played gruff, authoritative characters on shows like Rescue Me and Commander in Chief. In real life, though, his daughter told TMZ that one of his great jobs was meeting with members of the audience who would stop him to talk about his job.

"I am sad to let you know that angels came for Al yesterday morning, Friday, January 13, 2023," reads a statement on Brown's official Facebook page. "May his memory be a blessing to his family, his friends, and each of you. This page will remain as a testimony to Al's work and love for his fans."

Brown's first notable roles were uncredited appearances in Homicide: Life on the Streets and the movie 12 Monkeys, both as law enforcement officers. He played a bailiff in Liberty Heights and a referee in The Replacements, then a guard in Red Dragon, before getting his first named role as Dr. Ford in 2004's Something the Lord Made. He would later have roles in Commander in Chief, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, and Maron, which was his last mainstream appearance. In 2014, the same year as his Maron episode, he also appeared in small roles in two shorts.

Little is publicly known about Brown's life outside of acting. He is survived by his children, including his daughter Jenny, who first confirmed his death. So far, there are no plans for his memorial.

Our condolences go out to Brown's family, friends, collaborators and fans during this difficult time.