Spike Lee has announced on Twitter and Instagram that actor Thomas Jefferson Byrd was murdered last night in Atlanta. Byrd was 78 or 79 years old.
UPDATE FROM THE ATLANTA PD: On Saturday, October 3rd, 2020 at 1:45 am, officers were dispatched to 2257 Belvedere Ave on a person injured call. Upon arrival, units located a male lying unresponsive at the location. Grady EMS responded to the scene and pronounced the male deceased from multiple gunshot wounds to the back. The victim was later identified as Thomas Byrd. Homicide detectives responded to the scene and are working to determine the circumstances surrounding the incident. The investigation continues at this time.
Byrd was nominated for a Tony Award in 2003 for “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” He’s appeared in at least 8 Spike Lee films including “Clockers” and the “She’s Gotta Have It” TV series. Byrd has many other screen credits as well.
Spike writes: “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.”
From the imdb: Born in Georgia, Byrd earned a bachelor of science degree in education from Morris Brown College and later received a master of fine arts degree in dance from California Institute of the Arts. He has starred in numerous regional stage productions including the San Diego Repertory Theater’s award-winning performance of “Spunk”. He has also starred in “Home” by Samm-Art Evans, “Two Trains Running”, “The Piano Lesson” and “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” at the Alliance Theater, “Flyin’ West”, “Hamlet” and “Miss Evers’ Boys” at the Indiana Repertory, and in other productions of “Flyin’ West” at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and at the Long Wharf Theater.