With his low voice, piercing stare, and steady demeanor, Lance Reddick always brought an imposing presence and air of authority to every role he played, big or small.
The actor, who died of natural causes Friday at age 60, was well-known and widely beloved for his breakout role as Lieutenant Cedric Daniels on The Wire and went on to deliver memorable and scene-stealing performances in a wide variety of movies and television shows, including Lost, Fringe, Bosch, and the John Wick film series. John Wick: Chapter 4, which will be released on March 24, will mark one of his final on-screen credits.
Reddick brought something special to every role he played. Below are 10 memorable performances from his 40-year career.
Reddick was familiar to HBO viewers well before The Wire. In addition to appearing in two episodes of The Corner, the television miniseries helmed by future creator of The Wire David Simon, Reddick landed a recurring role in season four the prison drama series Oz in 2000. He played Johnny Basil, a police officer who goes undercover as inmate Desmond Mobay at the Oswald State Correctional Facility.
Perhaps Reddick’s most acclaimed performance was that of Cedric Daniels on Simon’s acclaimed HBO drama The Wire, which debuted in 2002. A respected and dedicated lieutenant with the Baltimore Police Department, Daniels is portrayed as a bastion of competence and professionalism. Reddick originally auditioned for the part of Detective Bunk Moreland, as the producers wanted a more widely-known actor to play Daniels, but they were so impressed with Reddick that he landed the role.
Lost executive producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse had been interested in Reddick for the part of Mr. Eko, a major supporting character that debuted in season 2. Reddick was unavailable due to The Wire, and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje got the part instead. Later, in 2008, Reddick was cast in the smaller role of Matthew Abaddon, the mysterious assistant to antagonist and wealthy puppetmaster Charles Widmore.
Reddick took on the role of a high-ranking law enforcement official once again with Fringe but this time with a supernatural twist. Starting with the show’s premiere in 2008, Reddick portrayed Phillip Broyles, who runs the Fringe division of the FBI that investigates supernatural and unexplained occurrences. Reddick was initially reluctant to take on the part due to fear of becoming typecast, but he ultimately felt each part was distinct enough, telling Digital Spy in a 2010 article, “I’ve had a very wide range of characters that I’ve been allowed to play.”
Following his performances in The Wire and Fringe, Reddick was hesitant to take on the role of Los Angeles Chief of Police Irvin Irving in the Amazon Studios police procedural Bosch, which debuted in 2014. “I had been playing kind of a top cop on television in a series lead for ten years in a row,” Reddick told Gold Derby. But he was impressed by the character of Irving, who he found very distinct from his other roles because he “is the quintessential politician. He loves the games of power.”
John Wick Franchise
Reddick has appeared in all of the John Wick films as Charon, the concierge of an upscale hotel that serves as a neutral ground for members of the underworld. Derek Kolstad, the creator of the John Wick franchise, wrote the part with Reddick in mind, but the actor didn’t receive the script for the first film, released in 2014, until about a week before it was shot. “Since The Wire, I’ve played so many authority figures that talk a lot,” Reddick told The Hollywood Reporter, “and to play the quintessential gentleman’s gentleman that’s rather taciturn was really intriguing to me, especially in this particular world.”
Reddick didn’t limit his work to film and television alone. He also lent his deep, distinctive voice to several video games, most notably the popular first-person shooter series Destiny, which launched in 2014. Across the franchise’s two sequels and multiple spinoffs, Reddick voiced Commander Zavala, who oversees most military operations for the Vanguard, a group dedicated to defending humanity.
Angel Has Fallen
Reddick portrayed David Gentry, the director of the U.S. Secret Service, in the Gerald Butler action thriller Angel Has Fallen (2019). Having played many high-ranking law enforcement officials at that point in his career, Reddick could have been forgiven for phoning it in, but that’s not his style. “I never want to take any role for granted,” Reddick said. “I talked to a couple of high-ranking Secret Service agents, and I actually started reading a couple books. I also watched some documentaries because I wanted to get a sense of what the psychology is.”
Godzilla vs. Kong
Blink and you might miss it, but Reddick had a brief role in the blockbuster monster movie Godzilla vs. Kong (2021), receiving eighth billing in the credits despite limited screen time. That’s because he was supposed to have a much bigger part, but most of his scenes ended up on the cutting room floor. He still got top billing, however, because it was already established in his contract.
One of Reddick’s final on-screen television projects was the Netflix action horror series Resident Evil, which premiered in 2022. He played Albert Wesker, one of the main antagonists since the debut of the original Resident Evil video games in 1996. Reddick was not familiar with the video games before joining the series, but he became “enthralled” with the character and said the twists involving the character over the course of the series made it a challenging part to play.
Colin McEvoy joined the Biography.com staff in 2023, and before that had spent 16 years as a journalist, writer, and communications professional. He is the author of two true crime books: Love Me or Else and Fatal Jealousy. He is also an avid film buff, reader, and lover of great stories.