Reg E. Cathey, ‘Wire’ and ‘House of Cards’ Actor, Dies at 59



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Emmy-winning actor Reg E. Cathey, best known for his work on “The Wire” and “House of Cards,” has died. He was 59.
“The Wire” creator David Simon first reported Cathey’s death on Friday.
“Reg Cathey, 1958-2018. 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,” Simon tweeted. “On wit alone, he could double any man over and leave him thinking. Reg, your memory is a great blessing.”

Reg Cathey, 1958-2018. 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. pic.twitter.com/OHEUbAhTg0
— David Simon (@AoDespair) February 9, 2018

Netflix later released a statement honoring the actor, saying: “We are heartbroken by the passing of our friend and ‘House of Cards’ colleague Reg E. Cathey. Reg was the kindest man, the most giving actor, a true gentlemen. Our sympathy goes to his family.”
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Cathey received Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series Emmy nominations in 2014, 2015 and 2016 for his “House of Cards” role as Freddy Hayes — proprietor of a rib joint that provided the scheming Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) a sanctuary and secret hideout. He won in 2015.
On “The Wire,” which he joined in its fourth season, Cathey played Norman Wilson, a journalist-turned-political operative who coaches the ambitious Tommy Carcetti (Aiden Gillen) as he quickly rises up in Maryland politics.
Cathey was born in Huntsville, Alabama, and said for an HBO profile that he decided he wanted to become an actor when he saw a production of “Guys and Dolls” while growing up in Germany.
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He eventually landed roles on projects like “The Corner,” Simon’s predecessor to “The Wire.” His other roles included “Oz,” “The Fantastic Four,” “Se7en,” “Outcast,” and the documentary “The People Speak.” He also played Don King in the boxing drama, “Hands of Stone.”
Cathey said he noticed an uptick in roles for “well-spoken” black people during Barack Obama’s presidency.
“What I did notice is that Barack Obama becomes president and suddenly black people who are well-spoken are working more,” he said in an interview with the Guardian in 2016. “This new market for the well-spoken black actor is all due to Obama. He got inaugurated and I started working like a fiend – hired by the same people who would previously ask: ‘Have you always spoken like that?’ It’s like, you know what, motherf—ers, yes, I have.”
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“House of Cards” creator Beau Willimon echoed Simon’s sentiment on Friday:
“Reg Cathey was one of a kind. Brimming with life force, generosity, humor, gravitas and a fountain of talent,” he said on Twitter Friday. “Loved by everyone lucky enough know him and work with him. He will be greatly missed. Rest In Peace, Reg.”

Reg Cathey was one of a kind. 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.Rest In Peace, Reg. pic.twitter.com/p9DXFgDevP
— Beau Willimon (@BeauWillimon) February 9, 2018
See more reactions below.

Go gentle into that good night my brother. It was an honor spending time with you on set. Getting to know you as a person and an artist. You will be missed. Condolences to your family. I salute you. #Reg E. Cathey???? https://t.co/4tNWpRoZrm
— Mike Colter (@realmikecolter) February 10, 2018

Reg Cathey was my friend and my wife’s friend and a great actor. I am very very sad. RIP, Reg.
— Michael McKean (@MJMcKean) February 9, 2018

We lost a sweet, sweet man and a sweet, sweet, SWEET artist today.Rest In Power, Reg E. Cathey We will miss you. pic.twitter.com/ZDLepPWyGV
— bobby cannavale (@bobbycannavale) February 10, 2018
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RIP Reg E. Cathey. Fantastic actor. pic.twitter.com/MNrkHnmxmn
— Scott Weinberg (@scottEweinberg) February 9, 2018

REG CATHY ONCE GRABBED MY WIFES BELLY WHEN SHE WAS 7 MONTHS PREGANT AND SAID “YOU GOT A SMART, HANDSOME BUT DANGEROUS BOY IN THERE” WE HAD NO IDEA THE SEX. AND HE WAS 100% RIGHT TOTHIS DAY. MAY HE REST IN PEACE https://t.co/E7AmtKy2no
— Casey Tebo (@caseyshoots) February 9, 2018

Absolutely heartbroken. Reg, miss your brilliance, sharp wit and gracious love for your Cheremio beyond words…. https://t.co/djInLrKOjB
— chandra thomas (@chandra7thomas) February 10, 2018

Mate, I am so glad to have known you, you were such a brilliant actor but also one of the funnest people I’ve ever met RIP my friend.. the world already misses you.. Reg Cathey, ‘House of Cards’ and ‘The Wire’ Actor, Dies at 59 https://t.co/yho7pextr8 via @variety
— Sebastian Roché (@sebroche) February 10, 2018

If you’re a fan of Netflix drama “House of Cards,” you know that Frank (Kevin Spacey) and Claire Underwood (Robin Wright) are the most calculated power couple in politics. More so than any other character on the show, Claire’s style is particularly indicative of her story. TheWrap spoke to Kemal Harris, Robin Wright’s stylist and the costume designer for Claire on the popular series. Harris keyed us in to Claire’s style evolution and where she has landed on the power spectrum in Season 5. (Beware, some spoilers ensue.)
Netflix

Season 1
“Claire has always dressed for the position she’s wanted in life,” Harris told TheWrap. Even in the early seasons, Claire is ready for anything. “She is always literally dressed and ready to go,” added the costume designer.
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Netflix

Season 1
Part of Claire’s signature look is form-fitting, yet understated dresses and high heels. She’s also usually dressed in neutral colors. “The interesting thing I’ve learned over the years of working on this show is that the aesthetic — established during Season 1 — prevails throughout the entire five seasons,” Harris said. “And that means a dark, monochromatic set design, lighting, everything is quite muted — so you’ll never see any bright florals or primary colors. It’s very muted,” she added.
Netflix

Season 2
“I think it’s refreshing and interesting and fascinating to watch how someone in her position — Claire — achieves such high status. And she’s done it being very feminine and wearing skirts and heels, because that’s her choice. That’s her power suit,” Harris told TheWrap. 
Netflix

Season 2
“There’s a thing that I’ve really been proud of is everyone says, ‘My god, Claire is — she’s so sexy, she’s so vicious’… But you never see her cleavage, never a mini skirt. We’re not flashing the body in a really blatant way, but we’re tailoring everything so that you’re seeing the shape and you’re getting the impressions but we’ve never had to play that sexuality card,” said the “House of Cards” costume designer. 
Netflix

Season 3
Harris is also Robin Wright’s personal stylist for red carpet event, and the actress brought her on in Season 3. “It was a really fun season for me to join because I got to work with Claire in her role as first lady,” Harris told TheWrap. “She’d never had that position before. Obviously for she and Francis, that had been their ultimate goal. You know, in Season 1 and 2, they’d been clawing their way to the top and so by Season 3 they have kind of quote-unquote ‘arrived.’ It was sort of the first chance for Claire to have some playfulness in her wardrobe.”
Netflix

Season 3
That playfulness meant Harris could play around with shapes and colors a little more freely. “I put in a bit more color in the presidential portrait photo, I made a custom lilac colored dress, we’d never seen her in that color before,” Harris told TheWrap. “I did some deep greens, made a custom two-piece burgundy outfit — just sort of played with some teals and maroons. All these colors we’d never really seen her dabble in because she’s really known for her neutrals, in Season 1 and 2.”
Netflix

Season 4
“There was a huge change, too, in Season 4, where I contrasted piping and contrasting trim, because while she was going through this personal journey, she was also sort of understanding her strengths and her true alliances,” Harris told TheWrap. “I wouldn’t say she was drawing a line in the sand, but there was definitely this linear boundary feeling that I was getting from the script — so I incorporated some contrast trims and some linear patterns that we hadn’t used before.”
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Netflix

Season 4
“Season 4 was a much more emotionally raw season for Claire Underwood,” said Harris. “She had to peel back the layers and be introspective and look at her life. I went a little more in like the camels and the beiges, earthy tones… She spends a lot of time on the family ranch, so brought in tweeds and herringbones and all different kinds of textures that we hadn’t used so much.”
Netflix

Season 5
The most iconic outfit from Season 5 for Harris was “that blue dress that I made with the gold buttons, just because you know that’s the ultimate Claire. It fit like a glove. It had strong tailoring. The gold buttons were actually a little more snazzy than we’ve ever seen her wear, but that was her sort of falling into her militaristic dictatorship role, even though it was very short lived. In her mind, it was what the perfect thing for a female president to wear.” 
Netflix

Season 5
In the latest season, Claire “was definitely buttoned up, ready for work. That was a concerted effort — some discussions between Robin and I about what would her silhouette be for Season 5. We thought tough, militaristic, buttoned up, long sleeves, more pants. We’re still evolving Claire into bringing more pants into her wardrobe,” Harris told TheWrap. 
Netflix

Season 5
“Claire uses her clothing and her… feminine power as a way to intimidate. There are different ways you can present yourself to the world and people will judge you based on your appearance,” Harris told TheWrap. “She’s always ready to step into that role as president.” 
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Netflix

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Costume designer tells The Wrap how character’s neutral clothes convey varying levels of power

If you’re a fan of Netflix drama “House of Cards,” you know that Frank (Kevin Spacey) and Claire Underwood (Robin Wright) are the most calculated power couple in politics. More so than any other character on the show, Claire’s style is particularly indicative of her story. TheWrap spoke to Kemal Harris, Robin Wright’s stylist and the costume designer for Claire on the popular series. Harris keyed us in to Claire’s style evolution and where she has landed on the power spectrum in Season 5. (Beware, some spoilers ensue.)

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