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Thomas Jefferson Byrd biography: 13 things about actor born in Griffin, Georgia

Thomas Jefferson Byrd was an African-American actor from Georgia, United States. He played several characters in films and television shows directed by Spike Lee.

Nicknamed T-Byrd, Byrd is the father of Thomas Jefferson Byrd IV, Aria Byrd, Kalah Byrd, Shannon Byrd-Crossley andDesaree Murden. Here are 13 more things about the late Hollywood actor:

  1. He was born in Griffin, Georgia on June 25, 1950.
  2. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Morris Brown College in Atlanta, Georgia and his master’s degree from the California Institute of the Arts in Santa Clarita, California, USA.
  3. He made his TV debut by playing Louis Arthur in “In the Heat of the Night” Season 6 episode 6 “Random’s Child,” which aired on NBC on November 25, 1992.
  4. He played Errol Barnes in “Clockers,” which hit theaters on September 13, 1995. Directed by Lee, the crime drama film was written by Richard Price based on his book of the same name.
  5. He played Evan Thomas Sr. in “Get on the Bus,” which was released on October 16, 1996. Lee directed the historical drama film, which was written by Reggie Rock Bythewood. He played Luther in “Set It Off,” a crime drama film released on November 6, 1996. Written by Takashi Bufford and directed by F. Gary Gray, it also starred Jada Pinkett Smith, Queen Latifah, Vivica A. Fox and Kimberly Elise.
  6. He played Honeycutt in “Bamboozled,” which was written and directed by Lee. Released on October 20, 2000, the musical comedy-drama film also starred Smith, Damon Wayans and Savion Glover.
  7. In 2003, he made his Broadway debut by playing Toledo in the revival of “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” For his performance, he was nominated Best Featured Actor in a Play by Tony Awards.
  8. He played Uncle Jeb in “Brooklyn’s Finest,” which was written by Michael C. Martin and directed by Antoine Fuqua. Released on March 5, 2010, the crime drama film also starred Wesley Snipes, Ethan Hawke, Don Cheadle and Richard Gere. Also released in 2010, comedy film “Bronx Paradise” featured him, Shalin Agarwal, Neville Archambault and Michael Basile.
  9. He played Deacon Zee in “Red Hook Summer,” which was screened at the Sundance Film Festival on January 22, 2012 and released in Brazil on May 17, 2013. James McBride co-wrote the screenplay with Lee, who directed the film, which also starred Jules Brown, Daniel Breaker, Quincy Tyler Bernstine, Jonathan Batiste, De’Adre Aziza and Turron Kofi Alleyne.
  10. He played Bishop Zee in “Da Sweet Blood of Jesus,” which premiered at the American Black Film Festival on June 22, 2014. Written and directed by Lee, the romantic comedy thriller also starred Stephen Tyrone Williams, Zaraah Abrahams, Elvis Nolasco and Rami Malek.
  11. He played Apollo in “Chi-Raq,” which was produced by Amazon Studios and released on December 4, 2015. Lee directed the musical crime film and co-wrote the screenplay with Kevin Willmott based on “Lysistrata” by Aristophanes.
  12. He played Stokely Darling in “She’s Gotta Have It,” which was released on Netflix from November 23, 2017 to May 24, 2019. Lee created the series based on his comedy-drama film of the same name, which was released on August 8, 1986.
  13. He played Jimmy in “The Last O.G.” Season 3 episode 5 “Family Feud,” which aired on May 5, 2020. At around 10:00 p.m., he was walking home from a store on Cascade Road in Atlanta when African-American man Antonio Demetrice Rhynes got out of his Chevrolet Impala shot him. At 1:45 a.m. on October 3, 2020, he was found unresponsive with multiple gunshot wounds in his back and pronounced dead by local paramedics in his home in Atlanta. He played Abner in the drama film “Freedom’s Path,” which will be released posthumously.

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