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‘The Wire’ and ‘Commander in Chief’ Actor Dies at 83  

Al Brown, who portrayed Stan Valchek, the eventual police commissioner for the Baltimore Police Department in David Simon’s The Wire, died Friday. He was 83.

TMZ reported that the actor, who had Alzheimer’s disease, passed away Friday in Las Vegas, according to his daughter, Jenny. On Saturday, a statement posted to a Facebook account dedicated to the actor announced his Jan. 13 passing.

The actor is best known for his role as Col. Stanislaus Valchek in HBO’s The Wire. The critically acclaimed series, created by David Simon, was set in Baltimore and followed the city’s criminal dealings through the eyes of law enforcement and those involved in its illegal drug industry. The show also explored the impact the government, schools and media have on the narcotics scene.

From 2002-08, Brown appeared in 20 episodes of the HBO hit in a recurring role as the commander of the Baltimore Police Department in charge of the Southeastern district. His character would often appear corrupt, having more of a focus on his rank and political connections rather than creating strategies for investigations to reduce crime. He would eventually rise in rank to police commissioner through the same dealings that had not earned him any friends by the end of the show’s fifth and final season.

Brown also made appearances in other notable crime dramas and procedurals, including Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, where he played corrections commissioner Tom Sablone in a Season 8 episode. Additional TV credits include The HustlerMaronCommander in ChiefRescue MeForensic Files and The F.B.I. Files. 

On the film side, the actor had smaller roles, including his appearance as a policeman in Terry Gilliam’s sci-fi hit 12 Monkeys, which starred Bruce Willis and Brad Pitt in an Oscar-nominated role. Brown also counted Red DragonLiberty HeightsThe Replacements and Shot in the Heart among his movie credits.

His daughter Jenny told TMZ that before starting his acting career in the ’90s, Brown served in the U.S. Air Force for two tours in Vietnam.

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