The actor known for playing the most iconic role in Spike Lee’s breakthrough 1989 hit Do the Right Thing has died at the age of 62. It was Lee who announced the passing of Bill Nunn on September 24. The actor, also known for his roles in New Jack City and He Got Game, passed away in his hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He had been battling cancer, reports the Associated Press.
In his Instagram post, Lee referred to Nunn as “My Dear Friend, My Dear Morehouse Brother,” adding that Nunn was a “great actor.” In full, Nunn wrote:
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.
In 2014, Lee spliced footage of Nunn’s death in Do the Right Thing with clips of Staten Island man Eric Garner being choked to death by members of the NYPD.
Nunn is survived by his wife, Donna, and their two children. No cause of death has been made public. In his later years, Nunn could be seen walking with a cane in photos.
His father, William Nunn, was a legendary Pittsburgh Steelers scout who died at the age of 89 in May 2014 after suffering a stroke. Bill Nunn told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette after his father died, “I thought my dad was this really famous guy, and he was. He and my grandfather were known throughout the community. They were big shots. He seemed really huge to me, too, as a person. He seemed so strong all the time. He was still just full of life. His mind was not 89 at all. I guess the body caught up with him. His mind was very vibrant; he was still a funny guy.”