Andre Braugher, the Emmy-winning actor best known for his roles on the television shows “Homicide: Life on the Street” and “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” has died at the age of 61. He passed away on December 13th at his home in South Orange, New Jersey after a private battle with lung cancer, his representative confirmed.
Diagnosed Months Before His Death
According to a report from Reuters, Braugher had actually been diagnosed with lung cancer several months before his death. However, he chose to keep his illness private from the public.
“Andre was a very private person and only told close friends and family about his diagnosis earlier this year,” his representative shared in a statement. “He underwent treatment while continuing to work and spent time with his wife and two sons until his death. The family asks for privacy during this difficult time.”
Best Known For Playing Beloved Television Cops
During his impressive career spanning over 30 years, some of Braugher’s most memorable roles were playing beloved television cops.
He first rose to fame playing Detective Frank Pembleton on the critically acclaimed NBC police drama “Homicide: Life on the Street” in the 1990s. His nuanced and intense performance earned him an Emmy for Best Actor in a Drama in 1998. He also received another Emmy nomination for his work on the show in 1997.
More recently, Braugher starred as Captain Raymond Holt on Fox’s popular sitcom “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” for eight seasons before it ended its run last year. As the deadpan yet compassionate leader of the 99th Precinct, Braugher’s portrayal of Holt was universally praised. In 2020, he earned his tenth Emmy nomination for playing the role.
Colleagues & Co-Stars Pay Tribute
In the wake of Braugher’s passing, many of his former co-stars and colleagues in Hollywood have taken to social media to pay tribute.
Terry Crews, who acted alongside Braugher on “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” tweeted: “My heart is broken. Andre was one of the greatest actors of any generation. And Andre’s kindness and generosity is what I’ll remember most. Sending love and light to his wife Ami and his children.”
David Simon, creator of “Homicide,” said: “It was Andre who anchored the show, with a gravitas, a formal command of craft, and a complete rejection of sitcom timing that made Pembleton indelible. He was much mourned among the production when he left the series. There wasn’t a false moment with Braugher in six seasons.”
Norman Lear, an executive producer on “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” stated: “Andre Braugher was one of the most powerful, dynamic, wholly committed actors with whom I’ve had the blessing to work. He was usual in that his casualness and ease portended an inner strength and skill that mesmerized his fellow performers and directors.”
Battled Lung Cancer in Private
According to sources close to the actor, Braugher intentionally kept his cancer diagnosis private even from most friends in order to preserve his family’s privacy during his treatment. As his condition apparently worsened in recent months, he continued working while undergoing chemotherapy and spending as much time as possible with his wife Ami Brabson and their two sons.
The type of lung cancer Braugher had and how far it advanced before his death has not been disclosed at this time. Lung cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in the United States, according to federal health statistics, and the leading cause of cancer deaths each year. Most people diagnosed with the disease are 65 or older, and smoking is a primary risk factor.
What Happens Next
Braugher died at home surrounded by family, which likely indicates he entered hospice care in his final weeks as the cancer spread. No memorial or funeral arrangements have been announced yet. Based on his private nature, the services may be limited to close friends and relatives.
His wife Ami is an accomplished actor as well, best known for her roles on stage and recurring roles on television over her decades-long career. The couple, who wed in 1997, met while acting together at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival early in their relationship. She will be making her Broadway debut in February 2023. The couple’s sons Michael, born in 1998, and John, born in 2003, are now young adults.
Professionally, Braugher leaves behind an immense legacy after a generation of acclaimed performances on both the big and small screens. He thrived at portraying nuanced characters that subverted stereotypes about Black men while bringing heart and humanity to roles like Pembleton and Holt that endeared him to millions of viewers.
While no plans for any potential tributes or memorials have been discussed publicly yet, it is likely Braugher’s former colleagues and collaborators will find appropriate ways to honor him in the months ahead. For now, his family, friends and fans mourn the loss of a gifted performer who died too soon after hidden struggles most knew nothing about. May Andre Braugher’s memory be for a blessing.
Andre Braugher’s Career Highlights
| Year | Show/Movie | Role | Notes |
| ————- |:————-:|————-:|————-:|
| 1988 | Glory | Thomas Searles | Film debut |
| 1993 – 1998 | Homicide: Life on the Street | Detective Frank Pembleton | Won Primetime Emmy for Best Actor in a Drama |
| 1998 | Thief| Nick Atwater |
| 2006 – 2010 | Thief | Owen Thoreau, Jr. | Won Prism Award for Best Actor |
| 2013 – 2021 | Brooklyn Nine-Nine | Captain Raymond Holt | Nominated for 10 Primetime Emmy Awards |
| 2022 | She Said | Dean Cameron Kramer | One of final roles before death |
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