A former drug kingpin turned actor, Melvin Williams has died at age 73. His drug story helped inspire the movie, The Wire. Nicknamed “Little Melvin,” Williams once was a powerful force in the Baltimore drug trade in the 1970s and 1980s before he served years in a federal prison and turned away from crime.
His life inspired The Wire creator David Simon, who penned a five-part Baltimore Sun profile of the former drug trafficker in 1987. He is thought to have inspired the character Avon Barksdale, played by Wood Harris on the show The Baltimore Sun reports
Williams was released from prison in 1996, and had a small role on The Wire as The Deacon from 2004-2008.