There’s no official word yet, but according to actor Michael K. Williams, his Wire co-star Robert Chew, who played the manipulative, portly drug kingpin Joseph “Prop Joe” Stewart on the HBO series, has passed away. The news was revealed by Williams on his Instagram and Twitter accounts, because that’s a thing now, with the simple message, “R.I.P. to the talented Mr Robert Chew #propjoe.”
Like many other actors on The Wire, Chew’s IMDb is sparse; he only appeared in three other shows, two of which were the David Simon-written Homicide: Life on the Street and The Corner.
But he was also an esteemed acting coach. Reads a City Paper article from 2006:
The task of workshopping the roles with the four actors [who played Michael, Randy, Dukie, and Namond in season four] fell to Burns and a familiar Wire face, actor Robert Chew, who plays the indelible Proposition Joe in the series. Since 1993, Chew has worked with the youth theater program at Baltimore’s Arena Players, the United States’ oldest still-active African-American community theater company; he’s currently its music director. And Chew saw his job as to help the actors find their roles inside themselves. (Via)
In other words, Prop Joe was the best, with some of the show’s funniest, most quotable lines.
And for the purposes of this post:
Indeed. UPDATE: according to TMZ…
Robert F. Chew was found dead yesterday in his apartment in Baltimore. According to the coroner, Chew died of cardiovascular disease. “Morbid obesity” was listed as a contributing factor. (Via)