Iconic Spike Lee collaborator, Thomas Jefferson Byrd, has passed away after being fatally shot in Atlanta over the weekend.
American actor Thomas Jefferson Byrd was reportedly fatally shot in Atlanta on Saturday. He was 70 years old.
A Tony Award-nominated actor, Byrd was best known for his roles in numerous Spike Lee films including Clockers, Get on the Bus, Bamboozled, Chi-Raq, Red Hook Summer, Girl 6, and Da Sweet Blood of Jesus.
On top of his work alongside Lee, Byrd also starred in Jamie Foxx’s Ray Charles biopic Ray, as well as Antoine Fuqua’s Brooklyn’s Finest and F. Gary Gray’s Set It Off.
According to Variety, police were dispatched to a home in Atlanta at 1:45 am on Sunday morning after receiving a call about an injured person. They arrived to find Byrd unresponsive and he was pronounced dead from multiple gunshot wounds to the back. Homicide detectives are “working to determine the circumstances surrounding the incident”, Atlanta police spokesperson Anthony Grant described.
Spike Lee, who worked alongside Byrd across eight films between 1995 and 2005, has taken to Instagram to mourn the actor in a series of posts.
View this post on Instagram
I’m So Sad To Announce The Tragic Murder Of Our Beloved Brother Thomas Jefferson Byrd Last Night In Atlanta,Georgia. Tom Is My Guy,Here Below You See Him As The Frightening Character Errol Barnes In CLOCKERS. Brother Byrd Also Did His Thang In My Joints- CHI-RAQ,SWEET BLOOD OF JESUS, RED HOOK SUMMER,BAMBOOZLED,HE GOT GAME,GET ON THE BUS,GIRL 6 And CLOCKERS. May We All Wish Condolences And Blessings To His Family. Rest In Peace Brother Byrd.🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜
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Others have taken to Twitter to pay their respects.
long live the art created by thomas jefferson byrd, a captivating character actor in spike lee films and famously, the antagonist who helped set the plot of set it off in motion.
“IF YOU DON’T WANNA WORK FOR LUTHERS!”
a tragedy he was murdered in atlanta. pic.twitter.com/eU1bdzhJON
— Brandon Caldwell (@_brandoc) October 4, 2020
RIP Thomas Jefferson Byrd. One of Spike Lee’s go-to artists. Byrd’s screen characters always made a strong impression. Such singular choices. Like in HE GOT GAME, I remember his pimp character was film literate and had a funny way of saying “familiarity.” Movies live forever. pic.twitter.com/l10IJDlCW3
— Nelson Carvajal (@nelsoncarvajal) October 4, 2020
RIP to legendary actor, Thomas Jefferson Byrd who gave us so many memorable performances in Spike Lee films. pic.twitter.com/VERrcMBqEy
— Britni Danielle (@BritniDWrites) October 4, 2020
Tragically he was murdered last night in ATL. Lifting his family & friends up in prayer! 👑💜🙏🏽 pic.twitter.com/hS2kgYNQUE
— The Leading Player’s Club (@BroadwayBlack) October 4, 2020