The news began streaming while the film industry and his fans around the world were left in disbelief. Lance Reddick was dead and no one even knew how or why as yet, since his cause of death was still undisclosed (it’s been attributed to “natural causes,” though he was only 60 and in phenomenal shape). Reddick had become a familiar face to fans of film and television all over the world for a wide variety of brilliant performances in so many great movies and series.
Having attended prestigious schools, he was most notably an alumnus of The Yale School of Drama, where he attained a Master of Fine Arts Degree in 1994. He’s been a part of our screens since 1998 and has worked on some of the biggest film and television franchises around, wracking up a huge amount of memorable performances over the course of his amazing career as an actor.
Reddick was also multi-talented and a musician of some note too. While the entertainment industry and the world at large still comes to grips with the details of his sudden passing, in honor of his memory and the wonderful legacy he leaves behind, here’s a look back at Lance Reddick’s best performances over the years.
15 Papa Legba (American Horror Story)
American Horror Story is a wildly popular horror anthology series that has produced eleven seasons to date, with a twelfth slated for release in November 2023. In its third season titled American Horror Story: Coven, Lance Reddick joined the cast as a recurring character known as Papa Legba.
Papa Legba is a well known “Iwa” or spirit from Haitian “Vodou” and is said to be an intermediary between humanity and the spirit realm. Standing at the gates to the spirit realm, Papa Legba is believed to be able to grant or deny permission for humans to speak to the spirits of Guineé. Given this role, he is also said to speak all human languages and therefore facilitates communication and understanding of all forms.
Playing Papa Legba in three memorable episodes of American Horror Story: Coven Lance Reddick’s poise and screen presence were amazing as he gave a truly chilling performance as the character. He later reprized the role in American Horror Story: Apocalypse.
14 David Gentry (Angel Has Fallen)
Aside from his wide variety of roles in massive TV shows, Reddick has been a part of blockbuster film franchises too. One of them was when he played the role of David Gentry in the third installment of the hit Has Fallen franchise starring Gerard Butler. Angel Has Fallen followed Olympus Has Fallen and London Has Fallen from previous years.
In the last film, Butler’s character Mike Banning is framed in an attempted assassination attempt on the US President. Prior to this, Banning is recommended to fill the role of the outgoing Secret Service Director, David Gentry. Gentry is played by Lance Reddick who brought a familiar sense of dignity and professionalism to the part. Due to his stature and the Stoic figure he often cuts on screen, Reddick was a natural pick for roles of the sort and played this one to perfection too.
13 Phillip Broyles (Fringe)
Fringe was a popular and highly rated science-fiction series that lasted for five seasons and a whopping 100 episodes between 2008 and 2013. Following a specialized federal agency known as the Fringe Division and supported by the FBI, Reddick played the agency’s director, Phillip Broyles.
The team uses fringe science to investigate paranormal events and mysteries relating to a parallel universe. Owing to its entertaining but often bizarre and shocking storylines, the show is often likened to other shows of the sort such as The X-Files. Reddick’s part in the show was part of the main cast and lasted throughout all five seasons. Again, given his propensity for playing strict and disciplined characters with high-ranking positions, Reddick was an ideal choice for the part and played it brilliantly.
12 Milo (Monster Party)
The 2018 horror-thriller film Monster Party received some great reviews despite it not being a big budget film. Reddick played a small but poignant role as, Milo, the leader of guests at a house that is being robbed by a group of sophisticated burglars who mainly operate in Malibu
During the event, the guests introduce themselves as “addicts” who are in recovery. While the gang attempts to rob the house, all hell breaks loose and people start being killed. It’s at this point that Milo reveals that he and the other guests are all recovering serial killers. The film was praised for its dark but ultimately entertaining originality, aptly aided by Reddick’s part in it.
11 Derek Carter (50 Cent: Blood on the Sand)
Lance Reddick was certainly multi-talented. Not only had he proved his brilliance and versatility as an actor on many occasions, but he was also a gifted musician who taught composition. His acting range spanned film, television, narration, and being an A-list voice acting talent in animated shows such as Rick and Morty.
In addition to these, he also did turns in multiple voice roles for video games. The first of such roles was in the highly rated video game 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand. The game was a sequel to 50 Cent: Bulletproof and centered around a fictional 50 Cent and G-Unitconcert where the famous rapper has to track down and fight thieves who have stolen a valuable item from him. Reddick voiced a character from the game named Derek Carter.
The success of the game saw Reddick go on to work on sixteen more video games, including the role of Hellboy in Hellboy: Web of Wyrd and other games where he also performed work for motion capture and full motion video footage for the games.
10 General Caulfield (White House Down)
Since Reddick was showing a natural inclination and talent for playing military men, 2013 saw him play the role of General Caulfield in the hit film White House Down. While the film was very highly rated, as a blockbuster action, it still made bank by more than doubling its budget at the box office.
Playing the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Reddick brought a familiar flair to the role. With his tall, lean stature, strict mannerism, deep authoritative voice, Reddick often played such roles to perfection as he perfectly captured the booming confidence and disciplined nature that one would expect of such characters.
9 Nathan Wood (The Domestics)
The 2018 post-apocalyptic horror film The Domestics was a dark and disturbing project that was set on a chilling premise. It takes place in a world that has been decimated after the ruling class has unleashed a chemical weapons attack that wipes out most of humanity due to overpopulation.
The survivors end up being divided into groups. The domestics are the peaceful group that just wants to live a quiet life of survival while other groups, such as the Nailers, are more cutthroat and violent. When a domestic couple encounter Nathan Wood and his son and give them a lift, they have no idea the trouble they are headed for.
Helping the father and son escape some Nailers, the couple end up in danger when Nathan invites them to his house but tragedy ensues and the couple find themselves fighting for their lives. When Nathan’s suffers huge personal losses to his family, the character becomes enraged and his grief and madness that follows is captured brilliantly by Reddick. The film was both a critical and commercial success and definitely one of Lance Reddick’s most memorable roles.
8 Albert Wesker (Resident Evil)
The Resident Evil franchise has now spanned a huge collection of video games, live action movies, animated films, comic book series, and since 2022, a Netflix series too. Playing multiple roles and iterations of the same character, Albert Wesker, Lance Reddick took on a multi-layered role in the show but executed its nuance with typical ease.
The main part of his character in Resident Evil is as the father of the two main characters, but he also plays their uncle, his own deceased brother, and a rogue operative who has made multiple clones of himself. The show was certainly entertaining and delves deeply into a loose version of the original videogame storylines. Due to the complexity of the roles, Reddick’s parts in the show is definitely one of its most memorable ones.
7 Matthew Abaddon (Lost)
Noted as being one of the greatest television shows of all time, the multi-award winning show Lost was definitely a fan favorite among audiences season after season between 2004 and 2010. Playing Matthew Abaddon, Lance Reddick became a regular in the first season.
The show kept audiences hooked year after year and has left behind a massive TV legacy and with a memorable part in it, Reddick was certainly a significant part of it. Here’s what Adam Epstein writing for Quartz had to say about the show:
“Hatched as a half-baked kernel of an idea by an ABC executive on his way out the door, the show became a gargantuan worldwide success just a few months later. The timing was fortuitous. Lost debuted just as social media was entering adulthood, and the show became the quintessential 21st century viewing experience. The “perfect storm of Lost,” as TV critic Alan Sepinwall puts it in his book The Revolution Was Televised, began on September 22, 2004. Ten years later, it really does seem like fate.”
6 Various Characters (Law & Order)
As far as iconic TV series go, the Law & Order franchise is as big as they get. The Law & Order universe comprised of seven series and spanned over 1200 episodes and more than 60 seasons of brilliant and captivating TV. Playing a multiple-role part in the franchise, Lance Reddick was as much a part of its legacy as the shows were a part of his.
While he played four different characters across three of the franchise’s primary shows, his most memorable and major guest role was of the medical examiner, Taylor, in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. There aren’t many actors out there who can claim to have had such a wide berth in such a massive TV franchise, but Reddick was one who definitely earned his spot in the annals of Law & Order history.
5 Christian Deville (Corporate)
Corporate was an American workplace sitcom that aired for three seasons between 2018 and 2020. Lance Reddick again showed his versatility as he played one of the main roles in the popular and very funny show. Taking a deadpan and at times absurd look at corporate life in a hilarious but also sadly satirical way, the show was clever and received generally favorable reviews.
Reddick’s range as an actor was tested here since he was best known for taking on strict and serious roles. However, he proved his versatility as he played a somewhat crazy and humorously intense boss in the show.
Speaking to IndieWire, here’s what Reddick himself had to say about the show:
“I was surprised that it got on the air. I was surprised some of this stuff got OK’d, really, because of the politics. Because it became clear very quickly to me that it was a show with a very strong point of view. It’s just really refreshing to be part of something that’s allowed to breathe and take on its own life.”
4 Johnny Basil (Oz)
Way back in 2000, the prison drama series Oz gave us a disturbing and intense look into life behind bars, and redefined television in the process. Despite trying to keep a tight lock on the interactions between inmates of different races and gangs, these groups were still in constant war with each other in th show. Lance Reddick had a recurring role in season four of the show as he played Johnny Basil.
Basil had an unenviable goal as he was an undercover police officer who has to infiltrate The Oswald State Correctional Facility. Using the fake identity of Desmond Mobay, Basil enters as an inmate and tries to get closer to the ring leaders of the drug trade there. His cover takes a chilling turn when he becomes addicted to heroin in an attempt to show his loyalty to a key player.
The role was one of many disturbing ones in a show that was categorized by these unflinching looks at the harsh realities of prison life. Reddick’s brilliant part in it showed early on in his career just how good he was as he took on the complex role and played it extremely well.
3 Irvin Irving (Bosch)
In one of his most decorated roles, Reddick played a police chief in the highly acclaimed law enforcement show Bosch. Based on the popular novel series by Michael Connelly, Bosch has run for seven seasons and won multiple awards in that time.
It has since been rebranded with a further two seasons forming part of the Bosch: Legacy spin-off. Playing the Chief in a police series made Reddick’s character part of the main cast and an essential part of the show. As Chief Irvin Irving, Reddick brought his familiar style to roles of authority and played it with the kind of confidence and immense screen presence he had become famous for over the years.
The show has been a huge hit and found critical acclaim as season two even saw it earn a 100 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Reddick’s part on the show is definitely a lasting part of its legacy. He was duly nominated for a Saturn Award for his role on the show.
2 Cedric Daniels (The Wire)
Without a doubt, Lance Reddick’s most beloved role was that of Cedric Daniels in the hit show The Wire. Between 2002 and 2008, the show aired on HBO and was given nearly universal acclaim by noted critics in all that time, and especially in the years since, as it has become recognized as the best TV series of all time. As a crime series, it featured a ton of profanity and gritty characters but was ultimately a complex and nuanced show that never shied away from harsh realities that included gangsterism and the politics of law enforcement.
Reddick’s role in the show was that of a well respected member of the Baltimore PD as he focused on good cop work and tried to get the best out of his subordinates. By staying straight-laced and ethical as far as possible, this sometimes puts him in conflict with other corrupt and immoral characters in the show, but he ultimately stays true to his own ethical code and is respected for this. The role was probably the one that audiences will probably remember Reddick best by, as he gained a cult following as an actor because of it.
1 Charon (John Wick Films)
The John Wick franchise of films have been huge hits at the box office and spawned a huge cult following, and so most people probably know Reddick from these, even if The Wire is of course a greater piece of art. Action-packed to the hilt, the movies now have four films, with a fifth to be announced and a huge media franchise featuring spin-offs, comics, and video games.
Playing Charon in the films, Lance Reddick has become one of the most recognizable faces from the franchise. Charon is the concierge at the Continental, a luxurious hotel that doubles as a neutral lodging for the underworld. Criminal business is forbidden at the hotel and there is a strict code of rules that govern underworld activities there.
As an employee of Winston, the hotel’s owner and friend of the main protagonist, Charon is his right-hand man and offers his services to the elite guests in a variety of ways – such as going as far as personally caring for John Wick’s dog since the hotel doesn’t offer such services. By the third film, he even helps save Wick as he stops an assassin by reminding him of the strict rules that prevent him from carrying out his mission.
The fourth John Wick film is due to be released in May as Reddick’s part in it will now sadly be a posthumous one. Despite this, Reddick’s legacy in the hit franchise will live on forever through its massive fan base and his huge popularity as a part of it.
In a statement released by Lionsgate, the studio had this to say about the news of Reddick’s passing:
“The world of Wick would not be what it is without Lance Reddick and the unparalleled depth he brought to Charon’s humanity and unflappable charisma. Lance leaves behind an indelible legacy and hugely impressive body of work, but we will remember him as our lovely, joyful friend and Concierge. We’re stunned and heartbroken, and our deepest condolences go to his beloved family and his fans all around the world.”
The world has lost a truly amazing talent in Lance Reddick but, thankfully we will always have the memories he gave us through his amazing performances in a glittering career that spanned appearances in over 35 films and over 45 television series.
While news still filters in at the time of writing this, we remember Lance Reddick with fondness for the wealth of memories he has given film and television audiences over the many years of his amazing career on screen. As tributes continue to pour in for the brilliant actor, here’s a few of the most touching ones on Twitter so far, followed by one of Reddick’s last Tweets himself where we saw a last glimpse of that famous smile and a reminder that he also had a beautiful singing voice too.