American stage, film, and television actor Reg E. Cathey, known for his roles in the Netflix drama House of Cards and the HBO series The Wire, passed away on February 9, 2018. His death was confirmed by The Wire creator David Simon, who tweeted “Not only a fine, masterful actor ‒ but simply one of the most delightful human beings with whom I ever shared some long days on set. On wit alone, he could double any man over and leave him thinking. Reg, your memory is a great blessing.” He was 59 years old.
Reginald Eurias Cathey was born on August 18, 1958 to a military family and spent most of his childhood in either West Germany or Alabama. At the age of 9, while still in West Germany, Cathey attended a United Service Organization that sparked his interest in theater. He attended J.O. Johnson High School, where he acted in plays such as To Kill a Mockingbird, before going on to study theater at the University of Michigan and the Yale School of Drama. Some of his earliest roles included appearances on the children’s show Square One, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Homicide: Life on the Street. He later appeared in the 1994 film, The Mask as the main antagonist’s friend, in 1995’s Se7en as the coroner and played the villain Dirty Dee in the cult comedy film Pootie Tang.
During the fourth and fifth seasons of the lauded crime drama, The Wire, Cathey starred as the Baltimore political operative Norman Wilson. He later worked with David Simon on the Emmy Award-winning miniseries The Corner, where he played a drug addict known as Scalio. Additional credits include a recurring role on the HBO prison drama Oz, Deetee in the film Tank Girl, and the homeless man murdered by Patrick Bateman in American Psycho. He also made several guest appearances on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, the FX series Lights Out along with London’s West End production of The Shawshank Redemption in 2009.
In 2013, Cathey was cast as Freddy Hayes, the owner of Freddy’s BBQ, in Netflix’s original series House of Cards. This role earned him an Emmy nomination and a win for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series. Cathey also costarred in Josh Trank’s Fantastic Four reboot, as Dr. Franklin Storm, the father of the Invisible Woman and the Human Torch. Prior to his passing, Cathey had completed filming for the Netflix series Luke Cage portraying James Lucas.
Marvel Televison released a statement following his passing, saying “Everyone at Marvel Television is deeply saddened by the loss of Reg E. Cathey. It was an honor to work with him and to know him. Our heartfelt condolences go out to his family and friends. In Marvel’s Luke Cage season two, Reg played James Lucas, Luke’s father. We were lucky enough to experience the magic that was Reg in his final performance.”