Actor Thomas Jefferson Byrd, who appeared in several movies by acclaimed director Spike Lee and was nominated for a Tony award in 2003, was shot and killed Saturday in Atlanta, Lee himself posted on Instagram.
Atlanta Police officers found Byrd unresponsive, with multiple gunshot wounds in the back, in southwest Atlanta at about 1:45 a.m. Saturday, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported.
Emergency medical service personnel pronounced him dead, and APD said homicide detectives were working to determine what happened.
Born in Griffin, Georgia, Byrd, 70, was a graduate of Morris Brown College in Atlanta and earned a masters degree from the California Institute of the Arts. He performed in stage roles across the country, including the San Diego Repertory Theatre, the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, and the Brooklyn Academy of Music. He first appeared in a Spike Lee joint in 1995’s “Clockers” as Errol Barnes and also appeared in “Get on the Bus,” “Bamboozled,” “Red Hook Summer,” “He Got Game,” “Sweet Blood of Jesus,” “Girl 6,” and “Chi-Raq.”
He was nominated for a Best Actor Tony for his portrayal of Toledo in a Broadway revival of August Wilson’s “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” Whoopi Goldberg started as Ma Rainey.
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