Thomas Jefferson Byrd, stage actor and a frequent ensemble player in director Spike Lee’s movies, was shot and killed this weekend. According to The Hollywood Reporter, authorities were called to an Atlanta residence on Saturday and found the actor dead of “multiple gunshot wounds to the back.” An investigation into Byrd’s murder is currently ongoing. Per Entertainment Weekly, the actor was 70 years old when he died.
In addition to Byrd’s work across Spike Lee’s ouevre, where he can be seen in Clockers, Get on the Bus, Girl 6, He Got Game, Bamboozled, Da Sweet Blood of Jesus, Red Hook Summer, and Chi-Raq, the actor appeared in Bulworth, Set It Off, Ray, and Lee’s She’s Gotta Have It series on Netflix. In 2004, Byrd received a Tony nomination for Best Featured Actor in the 2003 Broadway revival of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. On Sunday, Spike Lee took to Instagram to remember the actor, memorializing him for his turn as “the frightening character Errol Barnes” in Clockers.
“I’m so sad to announce the tragic murder of our beloved brother Thomas Jefferson Byrd last night in Atlanta, Georgia,” the director wrote on Instagram. “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.”