Andrews (left) with the cast of The Wire in 2011.
Larry Donnell Andrews
April 29, 1954
|Died||December 13, 2012 (aged 58)|
|Occupation||Criminal, anti-crime advocate|
Fran Boyd (m. 2007)
Larry Donnell "Donnie" Andrews (April 29, 1954 – December 13, 2012) was an American criminal and anti-crime advocate. He was the inspiration for the character Omar Little on the HBO series The Wire.
Andrews grew up in a housing project in West Baltimore, Maryland. He was physically abused by his mother. At the age of 9, he witnessed a man being beaten to death over 15 cents (equivalent to $1.21 in 2018).
Life of crime
Andrews became a stickup artist who robbed drug dealers, but his code of ethics included never involving women or children. He was known to police for armed robbery and drug dealing in the 1970s and early 1980s in Baltimore. In 1986, local drug kingpin Warren Boardley convinced Andrews (who needed to support his heroin addiction) and Reggie Gross to take on the contract killing of Zachary Roach and Rodney "Touche" Young. Filled with guilt, Andrews surrendered himself to Ed Burns, a homicide detective with the Baltimore Police Department. Working with Burns, he agreed to wear a covert listening device, which he used to implicate Boardley and Gross in the killings.
In 1987, Andrews was sentenced to life in prison for the two murders. He was denied parole on his first attempts, but continued to study, ended his addiction to heroin, and helped other inmates by running an anti-gang workshop.
While Andrews was in prison, Detective Burns introduced him to Fran Boyd, who was the inspiration for the character of the same name in The Corner: A Year in the Life of an Inner-City Neighborhood, a 1997 book by Burns and David Simon. Andrews and Boyd's first conversation came in January 1993, when Boyd was still using drugs. Andrews encouraged Boyd to get clean.
By 1998, Burns and Simon, as well as the lead prosecutor who obtained Andrews' conviction, began to lobby for Andrews' release from prison. While Andrews was in prison, Simon sent him copies of the newspaper, and Andrews gave Simon information about crimes taking place in Baltimore. Simon named Andrews a consultant on The Wire, an HBO show about crime in Baltimore which ran from 2002–2008. Simon used Andrews as one of the inspirations for the character Omar Little, a stickup artist who never targeted innocent bystanders.
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