Director Spike Lee led the tributes to Do the Right Thing actor Bill Nunn, who died Saturday at age 63.
Nunn died at his home in Pittsburgh after battling cancer, according to The Associated Press. The veteran character actor’s credits ranged from the Spider-Man movie franchise to Lee’s Do the Right Thing,He Got Game and School Daze.
Lee called out to Nunn by his most famous character, Radio Raheem from 1989’s Oscar-nominated Do the Right Thing.
“My Dear Friend, My Dear Morehouse Brother- Da Great Actor Bill Nunn As Most Of You Know Him As Radio Raheem Passed Away This Morning In His Hometown Of Pittsburgh,” Lee Tweeted with a picture of Raheem. “Long Live Bill NUNN. RADIO RAHEEM Is Now RESTING IN POWER. RADIO RAHEEM WILL ALWAYS BE FIGHTING DA POWERS DAT BE. MAY GOD WATCH OVER BILL NUNN.”
Nunn, a graduate of Morehouse College in Atlanta, was the son of a prominent Pittsburgh Steelers football scout, also named Bill Nunn. He was briefly a ballboy for the NFL team. Nunn broke through in movies in the late 1980s, first in Lee’s School Daze.
In Do the Right Thing, Radio Raheem’s ever-present boom box is the center of a street brawl that saw Raheem choked by police officers.
Lee tweeted about the chokehold from the film by showing the shoes Nunn wore as Radio Raheem in the scene.
“These Are The Nike Air Revolution’s (1988) Worn By Bill Nunn In His All Time Classic Iconic RADIO RAHEEM As He Was Murdered By The NYPD In The Infamous Michael Stewart (1983) And Eric Gardner (2014) CHOKEHOLDS, REST IN PEACE,” wrote Lee.
Nunn was also known for his role as a stuttering enforcer in the 1991 gangster film New Jack City. In the Spider-Man trilogy with Tobey Maguire, Nunn played sympathetic newspaper editor Robbie Robertson.
Nunn’s last role was in the TV comedy series Sirens from 2014-15 as a no-nonsense EMT and Vietnam vet Cassius “Cash” Clay.
Actor Chris Rock offered his condolences over Twitter.
Contributing: The Associated Press
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