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RIP Dick Anthony Williams

by Cynthia Reid
February 17, 2012 2:37 PM
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A little late getting this out but it appears the great iconic actor and Chicago native Dick Anthony Williams passed away on Wednesday (Feb. 15th) at the age of 73. 

His popular film credits include Five On The Black Hand Side, The Jerk, Tap, Mo' Better Blues and Edward Scissorhands among others.  He also played "pretty Tony" in the 1973 blaxploitation film The Mack starring alongside Max Julien and Richard Pryor.  The mini-series King along with Our Family Honor and American Playhouse are included in his long list of television credits. 

Known for his Broadway performance in productions like The Poison Tree, he received a Tony nomination in 1974  for his role in What the Wine-Sellers Buy and in 1975 for Black Picture Show.

Williams also co-founded, along with Woodie King Jr., the famous New Federal Theatre (NFT).  The theatre was instrumental in showcasing a multitude of black playwrights and actors/actresses including Amiri BarakaNtozake Shange, Ruby Dee, Ossie Davis, Phylicia Rashad, Morgan Freeman, Denzel Washington, Samuel Jackson and more.

Below is a clip of Williams being interviewed by Ka'ramuu Kush (S&A Film Challenge Winner) about NFT.

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More: RIP, Dick Anthony Williams

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  • Mr. Dawber | September 18, 2012 8:51 PMReply

    He played the spokesman for the black militant group on this episode of Ironside entitled Robert Phillips vs. the Man, which 1st aired 10/10/68: He was married to the late Gloria Edwards (1944-1988) from the movies "Black Girl" and "Which Way Is Up?". She played Mrs. Adams on the Ironside episode above.

  • Pamella D'Pella | May 16, 2012 7:55 PMReply

    Dick was a true sweetheart and a wonderful talented actor. I had the best pleasure of working with him as my husband, on "Hot Boyz". He will be forever missed and highly appreciated in my heart. I am truly blessed to have worked with him.

  • Carol Speed | March 2, 2012 1:41 PMReply

    Loved working on "The Mack" with Dick Anthony William. A wonderful actor and person.

  • Javon Johnson | February 27, 2012 4:36 AMReply

    Dick starred in my play "Cryin' Shame" at Stage52 then also at the National Black Theater Festival. He was a key factor in the success of that run!!! I was truly blessed by his brilliance! Forever in debt... Javon.

  • Tim Holly | February 27, 2012 12:09 AMReply

    I first saw him in the great revoluntary movie, "Uptight" in 1968. The entire audience quietly cried with him as his character had to kill the traitor, Tank. RIP Great Thespian.

  • Jug | February 22, 2012 8:24 PMReply

    Theres a great Obit for Dick in yesterdays NY Times online. Talks about how he was a twice Tony nominated actor & played Malcolm X MULTIPLE times. I would post the link, but with all the drama, I just advise going to their site & search for his name. RIP Dick Anthony...

  • charlene hentz | February 22, 2012 12:44 PMReply

    the compasion you showed after the death of Willie Hentz will never br forgotten. LOVE R.I.P

  • tim williams | February 22, 2012 11:03 AMReply

    "you ain't no pimp...u a rest haven for hoes....a car thief........" y'all know the rest...enough easy pimpin..........

  • tim williams | February 22, 2012 11:00 AMReply

    i love his characher as pretty boy just shot this over 2 me on FB...yeah he's an actor..he should have been on the CBS news just like whitney houston...he paved the way 4 a lot of actors/actresses of color...gonna watch the mack and pour a sopt of crown on the ground 4 u brother

  • Jules | February 21, 2012 9:54 PMReply

    He was a wonderful. I'm upset that more media outlets aren't talking about the passing of this versatile actor. RIP, Mr. Williams, you will be missed.

  • April Weeden | February 21, 2012 5:17 PMReply

    The Mack"Pretty Tony!!"

    Friday, February 24, 2012
    9:30 AM Viewing – 10:00 AM Service – Internment Immediately Following
    Grace chapel
    Inglewood Park Cemetery
    720 East Florence Street (at Prairie)
    Inglewood, CA 90201

    12:00 Noon – The Repast
    Regency West – 3339 West 43rd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90008

    Financial contributions can be made by forwarding a check payable to Dick’s daughter, Mikah Williams and mail c/o Hattie Winston, 16060 Ventura Blvd, Suite 110-340, Encino, CA 91436

  • LHGary | February 21, 2012 11:41 AMReply

    Wow....I am so heartbroken....this man represented my childhood in film. He was such an inspiration in my writing, and still is, watching him perform was beyond a treat. He will be so, so, so, so missed! God please help his family through this tough time.

  • Julie Hampton-Mack | February 20, 2012 7:19 PMReply

    RIP Dick Anthony Williams. I had the pleasure of playing his wife in the film "The Gifted". I will always remember our showcase scene where the crew just broke out in applause when we finished. You were a true thespian and you gave so much in every scene. It was a pleasure to have had the opportunity to work with such a great inspirational actor. You will be missed.

  • OSCAR WILLIAMS | February 20, 2012 5:35 PMReply

    I directed dick in FIVE ON THE BLACKHAND SIDE. He was joy to work with. He brought things to the character that were his own and fantastic. Dick I will always love you my brother.
    Save a seat for me where ever you are, so we can work together again.


  • Javon Johnson | February 27, 2012 4:36 AM

    Dick starred in my play "Cryin' Shame" at Stage52 then also at the National Black Theater Festival. He was a key factor in the success of that run!!! I was truly blessed by his brilliance! Forever in debt... Javon.

  • Delana Sutton-Wiggins | February 20, 2012 4:21 PMReply

    Rest in Peace to one of the most loving family men I have ever had the pleasure of being related to we have truly lost a great person. I would just like to thank his children for always sharing their dad with me and my siblings. We will for ever be grateful to you and your dad we truly Love you all and will always carry him in our hearts.

  • James Warden | February 20, 2012 11:01 AMReply

    Rest In Peace Mr. Williams. I shall always remember the help, teaching at Henry St. Settlement. You were always there for me, and provided me a foundation for my career and life. My mother Yvonne thanks you for all of your genorasity. We shall miss you, but never forget you. A great teacher, and most of all a great person. We shall miss you.....

  • Charles David Brooks, III | February 20, 2012 3:31 AMReply

    I first met Anthony at the Coronet Theatre, in 1968 or 1969, I don't quite remember. He had his crew of "Big Time Buck White" with him. Thoses were the days when Black actors and actresses knew one another and supported one another. Wow, I just learn from this web page that Dick Anthony Williams has passed on.

  • Monique Carter | February 20, 2012 12:30 PM

    "Big Time Buck White" great off-broadway play! Loved it!

  • Bianca LaVerne Jones | February 19, 2012 6:28 PMReply

    I am beside myself. Just called my Dad...he is tore up about it. Dick Anthony Williams was so inspirational to me as a child. He was kind and gave me a lot of motivation when we talked about the theater.

  • Erica Norals | February 19, 2012 2:06 AMReply

    My heart is so heavy just now finding out my uncle Richard (Dick Anthony Williams) had passed away still grieving of the lost of his sister my grandmother an now he's gone i just ask that you guys keep my family in your prayers plz an thank you so very much

  • Sanya | February 20, 2012 12:40 AM

    Whats ur grandmothers name?

  • erica wanna be | February 19, 2012 6:33 AM

    Ride that fame train you fronter.

  • Bernie Basley | February 18, 2012 10:56 PMReply

    Goodbye Dick, till our next racquetball game in the next life.

  • TINY | February 18, 2012 7:18 PMReply

    May u R-I-P now ur looking down and nt wth a frown cause knw and angel looking down

  • Carolyn Nelson | February 18, 2012 10:01 AMReply

    So sad to here this, I loved his work & my condolences to the family, may he R.I.P.

  • KikiDee | February 18, 2012 1:57 AMReply

    RIP Dick Williams.

  • Rhonda Hightower Wilson | February 18, 2012 1:20 AMReply

    Rest In Paradise Dick Anthony Williams aka Pretty Tony.......

  • Tombs | February 17, 2012 11:30 PMReply

    Hopefully, the Oscars will pay it respect to Mr Williams in the 2012 Oscars Memorial. RIP Mr Williams.

  • Tombs | February 28, 2012 12:34 PM

    I was right about this one.

  • Neziah | February 17, 2012 9:30 PMReply

    I really liked him in The Mack and Five on the Black Hand Side. RIP.

  • Ralph Davis | February 17, 2012 9:14 PMReply

    I had the pleasure of working with Dick Anthony Williams on the PBS production of The Meeting, directed by Bill Duke. He was the consummate professional, a great actor and a nice guy. He will be greatly missed.

  • Mark & Darla | February 17, 2012 8:50 PMReply

    Knew this was pretty tony before even reading.

  • monique | February 17, 2012 8:21 PMReply

    I love this man and his works.! what a loss. prayers for his family and friends...

  • Steven | February 17, 2012 7:45 PMReply

    RIP Mr. Williams enjoyed his work on film and TV.

  • Solaam | February 17, 2012 6:55 PMReply


  • Zachary C. Husser, Sr. | February 17, 2012 6:39 PMReply

    Dear Family,

    I send prayers of encouragement to the family of Dick Athony Williams! I include "They Call Me Pretty Tony" in the class of great edutainers coming out of the Sixties and showing Us what acting was really about. Not only did "Pretty Tony" as many of his friends, especially the Ladies, called him, a great actor, but he was an activist in the times he and we lived in! Rest in peace my Brother!

  • SonOfBaldwin | February 17, 2012 6:38 PMReply

    I remember him as the preacher in Maya Angelou's SISTER, SISTER with Diahann Carrol.

  • urbanauteur | February 17, 2012 5:10 PMReply

    Another underrated,under-appreciated actor who bites the dust, hopefully his contributions will remain a benchmark.

  • Doyle Ray Taylor | February 17, 2012 4:46 PMReply

    R.I.P.: The first time I seen Dick Anthony Williams was on PBS, I believe and he portrayed Malcolm X in a scene with Martin Luther King. You will be missed.

  • get these nets | February 17, 2012 2:55 PMReply

    Rest In Peace

    clip of he and Denzel throwing the baseball and talking in "Mo Betta" is one of the great father son moments in film.

  • MiddleMyatt | February 17, 2012 4:02 PM

    A favorite scene of mine -- and an overall amazing actor. Rest in Peace, indeed.

  • HarveyDent | February 17, 2012 2:53 PMReply

    Wow. Just saw Five on the Black Hand Side a couple of months ago. I always liked his style in anything he did.

    RIP to him and condolences to his friends and family.

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