This year has been a rough one for legendary character actors passing away. We can add another one to the list. Bill Nunn has passed away in his hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He was 62.
His death was announced by his friend Spike Lee through 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. 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.
This was followed by a reprise of Nunn’s Radio Raheem speech from Do The Right Thing:
Radio Raheem. Let me tell you the story of Right Hand, Left Hand. It's a tale of good and evil. Hate! It was with this hand that Cane iced his brother. Love! These five fingers, they go straight to the soul of man. The right hand: the hand of love. The story of life is this: static. One hand is always fighting the other hand, and the left hand is kicking much ass. I mean, it looks like the right hand, Love is finished. But hold on, stop the presses the right hand is coming back. Yeah, he got the left hand on the ropes, now, that's right. Yea, Boom, it's a devastating right and Hate is hurt, he's down. Ooh! Ooh! Left-Hand Hate KOed by Love. If I love you, I love you. But if I hate you…Mookie: there it is, Love and Hate. Raheem I love you bruh…
Nunn made his film debut in Lee’s second film, School Daze, a 1988 movie that lent a critical eye to historically Black colleges. His next pairing with Lee the following year would jump start Nunn’s career.
Lee cast Nunn as the aforementioned Radio Raheem in 1989’s Do the Right Thing. Raheem’s confrontation with Sal (Danny Aiello) leads that film to its explosive climax. Nunn would pair with Lee two more times, in 1990’s Mo’ Better Blues and 1998’s He Got Game.
Nunn would also appear in films such as New Jack City, Regarding Henry, Sister Act, and Kiss the Girls. Comic fans will recognize him from his role as Robbie Robertson in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man films. His most recent work was in the USA Network’s Sirens.
Cause of death is not known at this time.