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Andre Braugher, who starred in ‘Homicide’ and ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’, dies at 61

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Andre Braugher, the Emmy-winning actor who would master gritty drama for seven seasons on Homicide: Life on The Street and modern comedy for eight on Brooklyn Nine-Nine, died on Monday at 61.

Braugher died after a brief illness, his publicist Jennifer Allen told The Associated Press (AP). No further details were given.

The Chicago-born actor would establish himself in the role of Detective Frank Pembleton, the lead role on Homicide: Life on the Street, a dark police drama based on a book by David Simon, who would go on to create The Wire. The show, which focused on the homicide unit of the Baltimore Police Department, ran for seven seasons on NBC, and would win critical acclaim with Braugher as its dramatic centre and breakout star.

He would win his first career Emmy for the role, taking the trophy for lead actor in a drama series in 1998.

He feared he would be typecast after spending most of the 1990s as the brooding detective.

“If I do it too long then I’ll stop really searching and probing inside my own work,” he told the AP in 1998. “That’s just a great danger. I think I’m going to escape that trap, and get an opportunity to do some work that will be more challenging for me.”

That would not prove to be a problem. He would go on to play a very different kind of cop on a very different kind of show, shifting to comedy as Captain Ray Holt on the Andy Samberg-starring Brooklyn Nine-Nine. It would run for eight seasons from 2013 to 2021 on Fox and NBC.

Though he’d dipped his toe into comedy in the TNT dramedy Men of a Certain Age, Brooklyn Nine-Nine still represented a major shift for Braugher, who was known for acting in dark and heavy dramas.

“I just felt as though it was an opportunity to do something strikingly different from the rest of my career,” Braugher told the AP in 2019. “I like it because it just simply opens up my mind and forces me to think in a different way. So I think I’ve become much more sort of supple as an actor, and more open to the incredible number of possibilities of how to play a scene.” He would be nominated for four Emmys during the run.

Braugher’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine co-star Terry Crews was among those paying tribute to him recently.

“Can’t believe you’re gone so soon,” Crews said on Instagram. “I’m honored to have known you, laughed with you, worked with you and shared eight glorious years watching your irreplaceable talent. This hurts.” He added, “You showed me what a life well-lived looked like.”

Braugher most recently starred in She Said, the 2022 film about the New York Times journalists who broke the story of Harvey Weinstein’s years of sexually abusing women.

Andre Braugher. PHOTO: AP