Lance Reddick made it easy to carry the weight of the world. The actor, who died Friday at his Los Angeles home, was widely known for playing authority figures. Usually it was cops: Cedric Daniels on ThreadPhillip Broyles in Fringeand Irvin Irving in Bosch.
As for many artists, a role, or a type of role, is extremely insufficient to sum up a life and a career. Reddick’s resume was extensive, spanning a wide variety of movies, TV procedurals, quirky comedies, animated series of all stripes, and video games. In the scope of his work, Reddick embodied not just authority, but dependability – his assured performances were a strut on which a writer could rest any kind of scene, and his generosity enabled his partners to shine scene. It never took up more space than it needed, but you never, ever forgot it was there. It’s an attribute that was made literal in his performance as Charon, the unflappable janitor from the John Wick movies who preferred to disarm you with manners but could also work a room with a shotgun if polished finesse couldn’t. not do the job.
It’s also what made him such a natural candidate for the authority roles he’s become known for. Reddick knew how to sound stern yet moving. He could commission a play because he knew how to play a character who earned that commission the hard way. You never knew what one of his characters had to sacrifice to get where he was, but you knew it was costing them something.
Actors like Lance Reddick were the hardest to appreciate in their time. They rarely take center stage, even when they can hold it with magnetic intensity – whether that’s when playing multiple versions of his character on Fringeor bellowing”I wish I was LeVar Burton!” on The Eric André Show. Reddick wielded this intensity as deftly as a conductor’s baton—ranging from graceful stoicism to the urban tragedy of Thread to gonzo mania like executive Christian DeVille In Business.
Lance Reddick always seemed to know where he was needed and how much of himself to give. You could always count on Lance Reddick. He made sure no one ever had to think about how much they needed him.