Reg E. Cathey

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Reg E. Cathey
Born Reginald E. Cathey
(1958-08-18) August 18, 1958 (age 57)
Huntsville, Alabama, U.S.
Education University of Michigan
Yale School of Drama
Occupation Actor
Years active 1984–present

Reginald E. Cathey (born August 18, 1958) is an American actor. He is best known for his roles as Norman Wilson in The Wire, Martin Querns in Oz, and Freddy Hayes in House of Cards, the latter earning him two consecutive nominations for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series, including a win in 2015.[1]

Early life[edit]

Cathey was born in Huntsville, Alabama, and spent his childhood in West Germany.[2] Cathey graduated J.O. Johnson High School,[3] where he acted in plays such as "To Kill a Mockingbird".[4] He subsequently studied theatre at the University of Michigan and the Yale School of Drama.[5]


One of Cathey's earliest roles was starring in the children's television show Square One. This was followed by guest roles in such series as Star Trek: The Next Generation and Homicide: Life on the Street. In 1994, he appeared in The Mask as Freeze, the main antagonist's friend and bodyguard who gets killed by the title character.[4] He also appeared in 1995's Se7en as the coroner. He played the villain Dirty Dee in the cult comedy film Pootie Tang and had a regular role on the HBO series The Wire as Norman Wilson during the fourth and fifth seasons.[6] He also worked with The Wire creator David Simon on the Emmy Award-winning miniseries The Corner; Cathey played a drug addict known as Scalio. He had a recurring role on the HBO prison drama Oz as unit manager Martin Querns. In the film Tank Girl, he played the role of Deetee. He narrated Aftermath: Population Zero, a National Geographic Channel special which imagines what Earth might be like if humanity no longer existed. He played the homeless man Al, murdered by Patrick Bateman, in the film American Psycho. He narrated TLC's Wonders of Weather, a TV series.

Cathey hunches over the reading table as his character, Ajax, commits suicide using the microphone as an improvised sword, during a Theatre of War performance at the Combat Center Base Theater, on January 1, 2000.

In 2009, Cathey performed in The People Speak, a documentary feature film that uses dramatic and musical performances of the letters, diaries, and speeches of everyday Americans, based on historian Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States.[7]

Since September 2009, Cathey has played the role of Ellis Boyd "Red" Redding in a theatrical production of The Shawshank Redemption at Wyndham's Theatre, London.[8] He has made two guest appearances on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, as an undercover police officer involved with animal smuggling (episode: "Wildlife") and later as a high-priced defense attorney to a hooker (episode: "Rhodium Nights"). This was followed by a guest appearance on Law & Order: Criminal Intent as a talented, charismatic and egotistical professor of American Studies suspected of involvement in a murder to advance his career. He also played boxing promoter Barry K. Word on the FX series Lights Out.

In 2013, Cathey began a recurring role as Freddy Hayes, the owner of Freddy's BBQ, in Netflix's original series House of Cards, as well as on Grimm, in the recurring role of Baron Samedi. His portrayal of Hayes in the second and third seasons of House of Cards earned him an Emmy nomination and a win for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series.[9]

Cathey has expressed a wish to appear in the soap opera Fair City.[10]

Cathey co-starred in Josh Trank's Fantastic Four (2015), as Dr. Franklin Storm, the father of The Invisible Woman and The Human Torch.[11]


  1. ^ U-M alum Reg E. Cathey on his 'House of Cards' Emmy Julie Hinds. Detroit Free Press. September 18, 2015. Retrieved September 20, 2015
  2. ^ "The Wire: Out of Character with Reg E. Cathey (HBO)". YouTube. April 11, 2008. Retrieved December 12, 2012. 
  3. ^ Kezo, Jeannie (2007-09-20). "A New World on the Huntsville Horizon". Valley Planet. 
  4. ^ a b "From Huntsville to Hollywood". The Huntsville Times. December 10, 1993.
  5. ^ U-M alum Reg E. Cathey on his 'House of Cards' Emmy Julie Hinds. Detroit Free Press. September 18, 2015. Retrieved September 20, 2015
  6. ^ "The Wire: Homepage". HBO. 2012-03-20. Retrieved 2012-12-12. 
  7. ^ "Entertainment: The People Speak". Los Angeles Times. December 12, 2009. 
  8. ^ Billington, Michael (2009-09-13). "Review: The Shawshank Redemption". The Guardian. 
  9. ^ Colurso, Mary. "Alabama ties: Tony Hale, Laverne Cox, Reg E. Cathey among nominees for 2014 Emmy Awards". Retrieved 10 July 2014. 
  10. ^ "The Wire star hopes to appear in Fair City". RTÉ Arts (Raidió Teilifís Éireann). 3 June 2009. Retrieved 3 June 2009. 
  11. ^ Siegel, Tatiana. "Fox's 'Fantastic Four' Reboot Adds 'The Wire's' Reg E. Cathey". The Hollywood Reporter. May 8, 2014.

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