Like most people I was a huge fan of the The Corner & The Wire, both series being inspired by the realities of inner city life in Baltimore. While the shows were very informative and entertaining the realities of that life are very real. Dead by 35.
(NY Times) DeAndre McCullough, whose experiences as a 15-year-old drug dealer in Baltimore inspired the writer David Simon and the former police officer Edward Burns to feature him in the book “The Corner: A Year in the Life of an Inner City Neighborhood,” which became anEmmy-winning mini-series on HBO, was found dead on Aug. 1 in Woodlawn, Md. He was 35.
Mr. Simon confirmed the death but did not specify a cause.
Focused on an open-air drug market at the corner of Fayette and Monroe Streets in West Baltimore in 1993, “The Corner” offered an intimate portrayal of Mr. McCullough and his two desperately addicted parents, Gary Castro McCullough and Denise Francine Boyd, known as Fran, as well as other impoverished people in the neighborhood.
“DeAndre and his contemporaries were 13, 14, 15, and they were sort of one foot on the corners and one foot on the playground,” Mr. Simon said in an interview. “We became fascinated by some of the kids, but especially DeAndre, because of his wit and his humor and how unguarded he was, at least as compared to a lot of kids on those corners.”
The mini-series won three Emmys and paved the way for “The Wire,” Mr. Simon’s critically acclaimed series, also on HBO, about urban life in Baltimore.
Mr. McCullough went from dealing drugs to becoming addicted himself, to heroin. But Mr. Simon did not forget Mr. McCullough. He got him a part in the final episode of “The Corner,” as a police officer who arrests DeAndre McCullough.
Mr. McCullough also played Lamar, an associate of the dapper hit man Brother Mouzone, in “The Wire,” and worked in set design and security on that show. He did security work as well for Mr. Simon’s series “Treme,” set in New Orleans, but his addictions became unmanageable.
“He went to work for the television shows, time and again lasting only as long as a paycheck or two,” Mr. Simon wrote in a tribute online.
DeAndre Lamar McCullough (his first name was sometimes spelled De’Andre) was born in Baltimore on May 23, 1977. He dropped out of school after ninth grade, but later completed his G.E.D.
While Mr. McCullough struggled, his mother cleaned up her life. She now counsels addicts and is married to Donnie Andrews, the inspiration for Omar Little, a bandit who robs drug dealers on “The Wire.” The two were introduced by Mr. Simon and Mr. Burns while Ms. Boyd was struggling to overcome her addiction and Mr. Andrews was in prison. Mr. McCullough’s father died in 1996.