Jurnee Smollett Remembers Michael K. Williams on 1-Year Anniversary of His Death

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Jurnee Smollett is remembering her close friend and former co-star, Michael K. Williams, on the first anniversary of his death. The Lovecraft Country star died of an accidental drug overdose last year. 

"I really thought I'd get through this day fine. Thought if I kept my head down and focused on my work I would be good," Smollett captioned a montage of Williams on the set of the now-canceled HBO series. "Grief is quite unforgiving. Sneaks up on you in the quiet moments. For me…it’s mostly when you’re alone with your thoughts. And then it comes crashing like a ton of bricks. Alas…some things in life I’ll never understand. This is one of them."

"Missing you. Love you forever MKW," she ended the post.

Williams was laid to rest during a heartfelt service held at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Cathedral in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, which also streamed the event on Facebook for fans of the actor to share in the emotional, private proceedings. 

After his death, many of the actor's former co-stars, friends and fans shared tributes to his memory, including Jonathan Majors and Courtney B. Vance

At the 2021 Emmy Awards, Smollett and Lovecraft Country creator Misha Green paid special tribute to the late actor, who was nominated for Supporting Actor in a Drama Series that night. The duo wore special pins that read MKW, telling ET on the red carpet that they "just wanted a little piece of something here to remind everyone and to remind us that we’re supposed to have someone here with us."

"And he is here with us," Smollett added. "He's here in spirit. I can feel him in little moments. And his work is just so profound and everything that he's done, particularly what he brought to Montrose was just so special and brave. So it's just our way of honoring him."

Smollett wore her pin in her hair, while Green had it on her sleeve.

"In honor of Michael, we plan to dance because that's what he did so well," Smollett expressed. "There's something about the way Michael lived his life and the amount of joy that he brought to our lives that we want to celebrate tonight."

Jurnee Smollet Misha Green pins
Rich Fury/Getty Images

More recently, ET spoke with John Boyega on the red carpet at the 2022 ESPY Awards, where he presented alongside Lil Wayne, about working with Williams on his latest posthumous film, Breaking.

"Incredible," Boyega said when asked what it was like to work with Williams. "To see the trailer today brought back all those emotions and feelings and just being on set with him."

The Star Wars actor shared that he actually requested Williams to be part of the thriller, despite getting paid "peanuts" for his role in the film.

"I actually requested him to be in this movie, and he came through," he revealed. "Got paid peanuts just to be a part of the art, so we'll forever love you, brother."


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