House Of Cards Star Reg E. Cathey Dies At 59

Photo: Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic/Getty Images.
Hollywood and TV fans are mourning Emmy winner Reg E. Cathey, who died this week at the age of 59. While TMZ says he was battling lung cancer, no official word on the House of Cards star's cause of death has been released. His former boss, The Wire creator David Simon, was one of the first to report the actor's passing on Twitter.
"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 wrote on Friday. "On wit alone, he could double any man over and leave him thinking. Reg, your memory is a great blessing."
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Cathey was born in Alabama but grew up in Germany. That's where he saw a production of Guys and Dolls that inspired him to become an actor because of the sight of the character Adelaide in a towel, he once told HBO in a video interview. "She was fine as frog's hair in the summer, and I saidI've got to be a part of this life," he said.
Fortunately for us, his career would be about much more than pretty costars. Cathey trained at Yale Drama School and starred in several prestigious Shakespeare productions throughout his life.
Cathey got his first big TV break as a cast member on the late-'80s PBS kids' math show Square One Television. He went on to play prison administrator Martin Querns on HBO's Oz, and then former newspaper editor Norman Wilson on The Wire. Most recently, he was known as the BBQ joint-owner-turned White House groundskeeper Freddy Hayes on House of Cards. That role landed him three guest-star Emmy nominations and one win in 2015.
"We are heartbroken by the passing of our friend and House of Cards colleague Reg E. Cathey," Netflix said in a statement, according to NBC News. "Reg was the kindest man, the most giving actor, a true gentlemen. Our sympathy goes to his family."
Many of Cathey's co-stars and collaborators marked his passing on Twitter. "We lost a sweet, sweet man and a sweet,sweet, SWEET artist today," Bobby Cannavale wrote. "Rest In Power, Reg E. Cathey We will miss you."
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"Shattered at the loss of Reg E. Cathey!" Samuel L. Jackson tweeted. "Brilliant actor, humorist & friend! Irreplaceable! The ancestors about to be challenged!!"
"RIP #RegECathey. You were one of the greats both as an artist and as a human being. We lost you too soon. #TheDivide," Scandal's Tony Goldwyn wrote.
Many of his friends mentioned Cathey's sense of humor as one of the things they will remember most about the late actor. That humor was on full display in a video where he read instructions on how to toilet-train a cat. Fans, though, will remember him for his roles in some of the most prestigious shows on television.
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