Robert F. Chew, the Baltimore actor and acting teacher probably best known for playing erudite drug kingpin “Proposition Joe” on The Wire, has died, his co-star Michael K. Williams, who played Omar on the show, stated Friday on his Instagram account, as first cited by Warming Glow.
A Baltimore native, Chew was a fixture in that city’s theater community for years, teaching in childrens’ theater companies as well as the nation’s oldest active African-American community theater. Chew also served as an acting coach for younger cast members on The Wire, including its legendary, school-focused fourth season.
In addition to playing Prop Joe, the large and surprisingly quiet leader of the “New Day Coop” of drug dealers, Chew also appeared on other series associated with creator David Simon, including Homicide: Life on the Street and The Corner.
One of his better scenes from The Wire:
Chew’s exact age has not been listed. His Facebook page states that he graduated from high school in 1978, meaning he was likely in his early 50s.