Thomas Jefferson Byrd
Thomas Jefferson Byrd
|Born||June 25, 1950|
Griffin, Georgia, U.S.
|Died||October 3, 2020 (aged 70)|
|Education||Morris Brown College|
California Institute of the Arts
Thomas Jefferson Byrd (June 25, 1950 – October 3, 2020) was an American character actor who played in several of director Spike Lee's films. He was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play for his performance in the 2003 Broadway revival of Ma Rainey's Black Bottom.
Byrd starred in numerous regional stage productions including the San Diego Repertory Theatre's award-winning performance of Spunk. He also starred in Home by Samm-Art Evans, Two Trains Running, The Piano Lesson and Ma Rainey's Black Bottom at the Alliance Theater, Flyin' West, Hamlet and Miss Evers' Boys at the Indiana Repertory, and in other productions of Flyin' West at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and at the Long Wharf Theatre.
Byrd appeared in several films by Spike Lee, including Clockers, Get on the Bus, Bamboozled, Red Hook Summer, and Chi-Raq. Byrd also appeared as Stokely Darling in Lee's Netflix series She's Gotta Have It. His other films credits include Set It Off, Ray, and Brooklyn's Finest.
After an emergency call was made in Atlanta, Georgia, around 1:45 a.m. on October 3, 2020, Byrd was found unresponsive with multiple gunshot wounds in his back and pronounced dead. He was 70. A spokesperson for Atlanta police said that homicide detectives were "working to determine the circumstances surrounding the incident". On October 17, 2020, a 30-year-old man was arrested for having a connection to Byrd's murder.
|1996||Girl 6||Caller #18|
|1996||Get on the Bus||Evan Thomas Sr.|
|1996||Set It Off||Luther|
|1997||Touch Me||Country Doctor|
|1998||He Got Game||Sweetness|
|2002||Never Get Outta the Boat||William Ellis|
|2002||The Kudzu Christmas||Reverend Burton|
|2009||Brooklyn's Finest||Uncle Jeb|
|2012||Red Hook Summer||Deacon Zee|||
|2014||Da Sweet Blood of Jesus||Bishop Zee|||
|2020||Freedom's Path||Abner||Posthumous release; Final film role|
|1992||In the Heat of the Night||Louis Arthur||Episode: "Random's Child"|
|1993||I'll Fly Away: Then and Now||Panhandler||TV movie|
|1997||Living Single||Mr. Leon||Episode: "Moonlight Savings Time"|
|1998||Mama Flora's Family||Flora's Pa||2 episodes|
|1999||Passing Glory||TV movie|
|2001||Boycott||Raymond Parks||TV movie|
|2004||Law & Order: Criminal Intent||Curtis Romney||Episode: "Mad Hops"|
|2005||Lackawanna Blues||Numb Finger Pete||TV movie|
|2017–19||She's Gotta Have It||Stokely Darling||10 episodes|
|2020||The Last O.G.||Jimmy||Episode: "Family Feud"|
|2003||Ma Rainey's Black Bottom||Toledo||Won Theatre World Award|
Nominated for Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play
Awards and nominations
|2003||Theatre World Award||Ma Rainey's Black Bottom||Won|||
|2003||Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play||Nominated|||
- Burns, Asia Simone (October 4, 2020). "Thomas Jefferson Byrd, actor in Spike Lee films, killed in Atlanta". ajc.com. Retrieved October 5, 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- Hudson, Tanay (October 4, 2020). "Spike Lee Reveals Actor Thomas Jefferson Byrd Was Murdered In Atlanta, Georgia". madamenoire.com. Retrieved October 5, 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- "NOMINATIONS / 2003 / ACTOR (FEATURED ROLE - PLAY)".
- Yasharoff, Hannah (October 4, 2020). "Spike Lee mourns his longtime star Thomas Jefferson Byrd, 70, killed in apparent shooting". usatoday.com. USA Today. Retrieved October 5, 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- "American Actor Jefferson Byrd Shot Dead By Unknown Gunmen". The African Media. October 5, 2020. Retrieved October 8, 2020.
- Bruce Haring (October 17, 2020). "Suspect Arrested In Film Actor Thomas Jefferson Byrd Atlanta Murder". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved October 17, 2020.
- "Thomas Jefferson Byrd, actor in Spike Lee films, shot dead in Atlanta". The Guardian.
- "Red Hook Summer (2012)". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. American Film Institute. 2019.
- "Da Sweet Blood of Jesus (2015)". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. American Film Institute. 2019.
- "Thomas Jefferson Byrd: Spike Lee pays tribute after actor's 'tragic murder'". BBC.
- Fisher, James (2011). Historical Dictionary of Contemporary American Theater: 1930-2010. Scarecrow Press. p. 488. ISBN 9780810879508.
- "Thomas Jefferson Byrd Tony Awards Info". BroadwayWorld. 2020. Retrieved October 5, 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)