Film, Broadway actor Thomas Jefferson Byrd found dead in Atlanta: Report

The entertainment world was dealt a crushing blow this weekend.

According to a report from the Associated Press, 70-year-old actor Thomas Jefferson Byrd was found dead by Atlanta police early Saturday after an apparent shooting. Byrd was best known for his roles in Spike Lee films, the AP noted.

A tragic death

Byrd had called the southwest side of Atlanta home for some time, and he was beloved both in his local community and among entertainment fans worldwide.

Sadly, Byrd was found with multiple gunshot wounds in his back just before 2 a.m. Saturday morning, the AP reported. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Byrd’s death is still being investigated by local homicide detectives, according to the AP. Further details remained unclear.

“Rest in peace, brother”

In the meantime, the actor’s fans and friends are publishing touching tributes. Among those expressing their grief is Spike Lee himself, who wrote in an Instagram post Sunday that Byrd was known for doing “his thang.”

β€œMay we all wish condolences and blessings to his family,” he added, according to the AP. “Rest in peace, Brother Byrd.”

 

View this post on Instagram

 

I’m So Sad To Announce The Tragic Murder Of Our Beloved Brother Thomas Jefferson Byrd Last Night In Atlanta,Georgia. Tom Is My Guy,Here Below You See Him As The Frightening Character Errol Barnes In CLOCKERS. Brother Byrd Also Did His Thang In My Joints- CHI-RAQ,SWEET BLOOD OF JESUS, RED HOOK SUMMER,BAMBOOZLED,HE GOT GAME,GET ON THE BUS,GIRL 6 And CLOCKERS. May We All Wish Condolences And Blessings To His Family. Rest In Peace Brother Byrd.πŸ™πŸΏπŸ™πŸΏπŸ™πŸΏπŸ™πŸΏπŸ™πŸΏπŸ™πŸΏπŸ™πŸΏπŸ™πŸΏπŸ™πŸΏπŸ™πŸΏπŸ™πŸΏπŸ™πŸΏπŸ™πŸΏπŸ™πŸΏπŸ™πŸΏπŸ™πŸΏπŸ™πŸΏπŸ™πŸΏπŸ™πŸΏπŸ™πŸΏπŸ™πŸΏπŸ™πŸΏπŸ™πŸΏπŸ™πŸΏπŸ™πŸΏπŸ™πŸΏπŸ™πŸΏπŸ™πŸΏπŸ™πŸΏπŸ™πŸΏπŸ™πŸΏπŸ™πŸΏπŸ™πŸΏπŸ™πŸΏπŸ™πŸΏπŸ™πŸΏπŸ™πŸΏπŸ™πŸΏπŸ™πŸΏπŸ™πŸΏπŸ™πŸΏπŸ™πŸΏπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œ

A post shared by Spike Lee (@officialspikelee) on

According to the AP, actress Viola Davis, an Oscar winner, also chimed in. β€œLoved working with you Byrd,” she wrote in a tweet. β€œWhat a fine actor you were. So sorry your life ended this way. Praying for your family.”

A long career

Byrd was known for his roles in movies likeΒ ClockersΒ andΒ Bamboozled, the AP reported, but he actually got his start on television. In 1992, the actor played a character named Louis Arthur in an episode of In the Heat of the Night, according to his IMDB profile.

Three years later, Lee cast him as Errol Barnes inΒ Clockers, and the rest was history.

Byrd alsoΒ received a Tony Award nomination for his role in Ma Rainey’s Black BottomΒ in 2003, according to the AP.

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