‘Do the Right Thing’ Actor Bill Nunn Dead at 63, Spike Lee Pays Tribute

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Veteran character actor Bill Nunn, best known as Radio Raheem in Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing, died after a battle with cancer. He was 63.

Nunn died Saturday (Sept. 24, 2016) at his home in Pittsburgh, according to The Associated Press.

Lee paid tribute to Nunn and his most famous character by tweeting, “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, got his start as actor in the late 1980s, starring in Lee’s School Daze. He also starred in Lee’s He Got Game.

In Do the Right Thing, however, Nunn’s performance as Radio Raheem is pivotal, as his ever-present boom box is the center of a street brawl that sees Raheem choked by police officers.

On Instagram, the outspoken director wrote, “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.

Lee also posted a poem on his Instagram:

An Original Poem By Lemon Andersen …And than there was Radio Raheem, Flat top, tight fade, Built like an ’89 NY Giant, The Majestic Brother you could hear two blocks away in any direction pumping Public Enemy from the horns of his Ghetto Blaster, the Conscience brother who wanted nothing but to be alone and live in the loud solace of his Radio… A Young, Black, Beautiful Man who died in the hands of Blue Fear and White Fury. People walked across the street when Radio Raheem came down the Block, the Starch in his frame scared them away from the Gap in his smile. The four fingered rings were seen like Brass knuckles when if you stopped him like Mookie did as the sun set On that Hot summer day in BK, Brooklyn You would see Raheems hands like his mind were worth its weight in Gold.

A photo posted by Spike Lee (@officialspikelee) on

Nunn also starred in films such as New Jack City and the Sam Raimi Spider-Man trilogy. The actor’s last role was in the TV comedy series Sirens. #RIP