Andre Braugher, ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ and ‘Homicide’ Actor, Dies at 61

Andre Braugher, an Emmy Award-winning actor best known for playing stoic police officers on the television shows “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” and “Homicide: Life on the Street,” died on Monday. He was 61.

His death was confirmed on Tuesday by his longtime publicist Jennifer Allen. She said that Mr. Braugher, who lived in New Jersey, had died after a brief illness. She did not elaborate.

Mr. Braugher had a breakout role as an intense cop on “Homicide,” a 1990s Baltimore crime show that chronicled the frustrations of policing a city beset with murders. He spent the last years of his life playing another serious police officer in “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” but in a very different register: The series was a sitcom, and he played his role as a police commander for laughs. He also earned plaudits for his portrayal of an openly gay cop who didn’t play to stereotypes.

In between, he showed his range by playing parts as diverse as Shakespeare’s Henry V, a car salesman named Owen Thoreau Jr. and an executive editor of The New York Times grappling with the investigative reporting that would kick off the #MeToo era.

“I’ve worked with a lot of wonderful actors,” the former Baltimore Sun journalist David Simon, who wrote the book that “Homicide” was based on years before he created the seminal crime drama “The Wire,” said in a post on the social media platform X, formerly Twitter. “I’ll never work with one better.”

Andre Keith Braugher was born in Chicago on July 1, 1962, and grew up on the city’s West Side. His mother, Sally Braugher, worked for the United States Postal Service. His father, Floyd Braugher, was a heavy-equipment operator for the state of Illinois.

“We lived in a ghetto,” he told The New York Times in 2014. “I could have pretended I was hard or tough and not a square. I wound up not getting in trouble. I don’t consider myself to be especially wise, but I will say that it’s pretty clear that some people want to get out and some people don’t. I wanted out.”

Mr. Braugher attended St. Ignatius College Prep, a prestigious, Jesuit Catholic high school in Chicago, and later earned a scholarship to Stanford University. His father, who wanted his son to be an engineer, was furious when he gravitated to acting instead.

“Show me Black actors who are earning a living,” his father told him at the time. “What the hell are you going to do, juggle and travel the country?”

After graduating from Stanford with a major in math, Mr. Braugher earned a Masters of Fine Arts from the Juilliard School.

One of his first professional acting roles was in “Glory,” an Oscar-winning 1989 film about Black soldiers fighting for the Union during the American Civil War. Its star-studded cast included Matthew Broderick, Morgan Freeman and Denzel Washington.

“I’d rather not work than do a part I’m ashamed of,” Mr. Braugher told The Times that year. “I can tell you now that my mother will be proud of me when she sees me in this role.”

Mr. Braugher, who insisted on living in New Jersey even though he often worked in California, would go on to star in many other films. Among the highlights were “Get on the Bus” (1996), about a group of Black men traveling to Washington for the Million Man March, and “City of Angels” (1998), about an angel (Nicolas Cage) who falls in love with a doctor (Meg Ryan).

One of Mr. Braugher’s last film projects was “She Said” (2022), a drama about New York Times reporters’ efforts to document sexual abuse by the film mogul Harvey Weinstein. Mr. Braugher played Dean Baquet, the newspaper’s executive editor at the time.

He also performed Shakespearean roles at the New York Shakespeare Festival and other venues. In 2014, he told The Times that he was saving the play “Pericles, Prince of Tyre,” for later in life.

“I’ve never read it because I’d like to see one Shakespeare play that I don’t know what happens,” he said.

Ms. Allen said that Mr. Braugher is survived by his wife, the actress Ami Brabson; his sons Michael, Isaiah and John Wesley; his brother, Charles Jennings; and his mother. His father died in 2011.

His most recent project, “The Residence,” a miniseries about a murder in the White House, had been scheduled to resume shooting in January after shutting down because of the Writers Guild of America strike, the entertainment site Deadline reported. It was unclear whether his character would be recast or written off.

Mr. Braugher was best known for his acting on acclaimed television series, which included the lead role of an unorthodox physician on the ABC drama “Gideon’s Crossing” (2000-2001) and the car salesman Owen Thoreau Jr. on the TNT series “Men of a Certain Age” (2009-2011). He also starred in the sixth and final season of the Paramount+ legal drama “The Good Fight” (2017-2022).

On “Homicide,” a police procedural that ran from 1993 to 1998, Mr. Braugher played Frank Pembleton, a Baltimore homicide detective. It was a breakout role that earned him an Emmy Award in 1998, along with two Television Critics Association Awards in 1997 and 1998 for best actor in a drama series.

In 2006, he won an Emmy for outstanding performance by a lead actor in a miniseries for his starring role as a gang leader in “Thief,” an FX miniseries about crime in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

And on “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” a comedy show that aired from 2013 to 2021, Mr. Braugher played Capt. Ray Holt, a comically stern precinct commander. He received four Emmy nominations and won two Critics Choice Awards for best supporting actor in a comedy series.

After the first few episodes of “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” aired, he told The New York Times that he saw parallels between that show and “Homicide.”

“I don’t want to go way out on a limb about this, you know what I’m saying, and be challenged about it,” he said. “But I think they’re both workplace comedies. In essence it’s taken 20 years to come full circle, but I think they’re in the same place.”

Rebecca Carballo contributed reporting.

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