Inside The Wire star Michael K Williams iconic scar that helped him get famous

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The Wire actor Michael K Williams was left with a huge scar down his face during a violent night in New York, but it ended up giving him a trademark look that helped launch his career.

It comes as the 54-year-old star was found dead in his penthouse apartment in New York on Monday (September 6).

Although no cause of death has been given, drug paraphernalia was found at his Brooklyn apartment.

The five-time Emmy nominated actor shot to fame in 2002 as stick-up man Omar Little in the HBO crime drama, The Wire.

However, it turns out that Michael's distinctive facial scar helped him achieve his breakout film role which ultimately led to his mainstream success.

He had a scar that runs down the middle of his forehead, as well as across his nose and right cheek – finishing near his mouth.

Speaking to National Public Radio in 2014, Michael said that he suffered the injury outside of a bar in the Queens district of New York.

Apparently, the actor had been at a "popping party" when he spotted two of his friends were surrounded and in trouble.

He recalled: "I saw that two of my other friends were being surrounded by some dudes who I didn’t know and it looked like they were about to get jumped.

"And I said, ‘Yo, I’m ready to leave. Let’s go back. I’m going to go back home now.’"

Williams continued, saying that one of the men had kept pacing behind him before attacking him.

He said: "He kept like, you know, like sucking his teeth, and I’m looking – I’m like, ‘Yo, so what’s up dude? Yo bro, what’s your problem?’

"And the dude wiped his hand across his mouth and just – what I thought appeared to be – smacked me, but what he did was he spit a razor.

"He was positioning the razor in his mouth to get between his middle finger and his ring finger, and then he just went – swiped me down my face, and this cut my face."

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Michael added that he and his pals only just managed to escape with their lives on the fateful night.

He said: "It was actually the first hit of the fight. So we managed to escape with our lives, barely, that night."

In 2011, Michael opened up to The Hollywood Reporter about the attack, discussing his decision not to fight back against his perpetrator.

He explained: "I knew that I did not want blood on my hands. And I honestly believe that because I let it go, I didn’t harbour any ill feelings, I didn’t react in a negative way in revenge, I believe that something happened inside, spiritually.

"It’s why people look at this [scar] and see a thing of beauty. Had I taken the other route, I think it would have made me ugly — from the inside."

As horrific as the gory incident was, the trademark scar help him achieve sparkling success as an actor as it made him stand out for certain "thug" roles.

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Michael's life changed when the late rapper Tupac Shakur eyed him up for a role as he was filming the 1996 movie Bullet.

Michael recalled: "[Tupac] happened to see a Polaroid picture of me and was like, ‘Yo, this dude looks thugged out enough that he could play my little brother’."

Michael ended up starring in a range of hit TV shows and major movies.

As well as his iconic role on The Wire as Omar Little, he starred as Albert "Chalky" White on HBO's Boardwalk Empire and gained critical acclaim for his role as Jack Gee in the biopic, Bessie.

Michael also appeared in survival film The Road with Lord of the Rings star Viggo Mortensen, Ben Affleck's Gone Baby Gone and the Oscar-winning 12 Years a Slave.

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