June 7, 1962 – March 17, 2023
Lance Reddick was an American actor known for his versatile performances in both film and television. Reddick, who appeared in major TV series like HBO’s “The Wire,” Fox’s “Fringe” and films like the “John Wick” franchise, which is about to debut John Wick: Chapter 4 next week, has died. He was 60.
Lance Reddick was born on December 31, 1962, in Baltimore, Maryland. Reddick began his acting career in theater productions before transitioning to television and film. He studied musical composition at Eastman School of Music, Rochester, and acting at the Yale Drama School.
Reddick came into the public consciousness when he played the role of Cedric Daniels in the critically acclaimed HBO series “The Wire.” He was a pivotal member of the cast and this was the first role I recall seeing him in.
He brought a distinctive screen presence and commanding voice to his role. He was a man you didn’t want to disappoint. No one plays intimidating authority figures like Lance Reddick. He would reprise that boss energy in my favorite of his roles as the hard-ass federal agent, Phillip Broyles, in the science fiction series Fringe.
He also played Matthew Abaddon in my least favorite science fiction-adjacent series “Lost.” Reddick had roles in other films such as Charon in the John Wick franchise which really didn’t make good use of his acting talents. Reddick was an under-appreciated, but good-natured actor in his various roles.
He put his vocal talents to work for DC Entertainment as Batman’s father-in-law, Ra’s al Ghul in the animated series Beware the Batman and Batman’s father Thomas Wayne, in Batman Unburied. His early interviews around being a voice actor indicated his challenge with having to emote without the added benefit of the physicality of acting. You can still find Batman Unburied on Spotify.
Reddick has also appeared in several of my favorite video games including the highly regarded Quantum Break and my favorite first person shooter, Destiny. In Destiny, he plays the voice of the leader of the Vanguard, Commander Zavala, a hard-bitten warrior in a thankless war against various enemies of humanity. Reddick also plays Sylens, a primary character of Horizon Zero Dawn whose likeness is reflected in the character design.
Lance Reddick acting breadth and commitment to his craft were unmatched. He has contributed to speculative fiction, video games and high drama, all with a charitable good nature. If you can find any interviews with him, despite his stern nature in films, he smiled easily and generously.
I know I will miss him and that amazing voice.
Rest in peace, Commander Zavala. I shall run the Vanguard all weekend in your honor.
Thaddeus Howze is an award-winning writer, editor, podcaster and activist creating speculative fiction, scientific, political and cultural commentary from his office in Hayward, California.
Thaddeus’ speculative fiction has appeared in numerous anthologies and literary journals. He has published two books, ‘Hayward’s Reach’ (2011), a collection of short stories and ‘Broken Glass’ (2013) an urban fantasy novella starring his favorite paranormal investigator, Clifford Engram.