Bill Nunn, who worked regularly with Spike Lee and enjoyed a successful career on screens both big and small, has died. He was 62.
Nunn, who was born in Pittsburgh in 1952, saw his early life was dominated by American Football. His father was a sports journalist and renowed scout, and his paternal grandfather was the first African American player at George Westinghouse High school. As a younger man, Nunn worked as a ball boy for the Pittsburgh Steelers before graduating college in 1976 and began acting. His first job was playing a bouncer in an uncredited role in Sharky's Machine in 1981.
But it was Lee who gave him his real start, playing Grady in School Daze in 1988, and then in Do The Right Thing, where he co-starred as Radio Raheem, the part for which he'll be most fondly remembered.
Among Nunn's other movies were Mo' Better Blues, New Jack City. Regarding Henry, Sister Act, Money Train, Extreme Measures, He Got Game, and Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy, which saw Nunn as editor "Robbie" Robertson, a friend but often exasperated colleague to J. Jonah Jameson. On TV, he was seen in shows including The Job and Sirens.
When he wasn't acting, Nunn dedicated a lot of time to helping others enter the world of performance via Bill Nunn Theatre Outreach Project, with Point Park University, which helped underserved public school students in the Pittsburgh region to learn theatre arts from professionals.
Nunn, who had developed cancer in the last few years, is survived by his wife, Donna and two children. Lee paid tribute to his friend and colleague on Instagram. "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 wrote. "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."