Reg E. Cathey Dead At 59: ‘House of Cards’ and ‘The Wire’ Actor Remembered As ‘One of The Best’

Reg E. Cathey, the deep-voiced actor hailed by critics and his contemporaries as one of the best in the business, has died. He was 59.

Cathey was best known for his role as Freddy, the owner of a barbecue joint, in House of Cards. His performance on the Netflix drama earned him an Emmy for best “outstanding guest actor in a drama series.” 

“Reg Cathey was one of a kind,” Beau Willimon, the creator of the U.S.’s version of House Of Cards, wrote of Cathey. “Brimming with life force, generosity, humor, gravitas and a fountain of talent. Loved by everyone lucky enough know him and work with him. He will be greatly missed.”

He also well known for his role as political aide Norman Wilson in The Wire.

“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,” David Simon, the creator of The Wire, wrote in a touching tribute on Twitter.

“On wit alone, he could double any man over and leave him thinking,” Simon continued. 

Cathey was the only actor Simon has ever cast to work on all of his television shows.

“Reg, your memory is a great blessing,” Simon wrote. 

Cathey, who was fighting lung cancer, died surrounded by his friends and family in his New York home, TMZ reported.

Cathey was born in Huntsville, Ala. and studied theater at the University of Michigan and Yale School of Drama.

His acting career spanned decades and included roles in Se7en, The Fantastic Four, Oz, The Mask and Clear and Present Danger.

As news of his death spread, tributes from fans and costars poured in. 

“Shattered at the loss of Reg E. Cathey!” Samuel L. Jackson wrote on Twitter. “Brilliant actor, humorist & friend! Irreplaceable! The ancestors about to be challenged!!”

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel star Rachel Brosnahan, who also starred on House of Cards, wrote: “Reg E Cathey was one of the best. Beautiful actor. Beautiful heart. Rest in power, sir. You are so missed.”

“Reg was an incredibly kind and wonderful person with a vibrant love for the arts,” Cathey’s Fantastic Four co-star Miles Teller wrote. “He would bring his saxophone to set and serenade everyone at base camp during breaks. Rest In Peace my friend.”

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