Slash Film

When he was first cast in “The Wire,” Brown never expected that he would go on to appear in 20 episodes. “I was astounded when they got in touch with me, when it was time to start thinking about the second season,” he recalled in an interview for the behind-the-scenes book “All the Pieces Matter: The Inside Story of the Wire.” He had grown used to appearing in single episodes of TV shows here and there: “As an actor, I hadn’t missed church for a whole bunch of weeks. As far as I knew, I was a day player, one shot and I was done. And suddenly, a year after that, pretty much that season was largely about me.”

Chris Bauer, whose character Frank Sobotka also appeared prominently in the season 2 storyline as a personal nemesis of Valchek’s, had high praise for his co-star:

“I loved Al and was obsessed with his accent, a very nice guy. I thought, ‘There’s no way that guy could be an actor. He’s gotta be the real thing.’ It was as if they went and handed some commander at the nearest precinct a couple pages and told him, ‘Go.’ He’s one of those Peter Lorre types who just stands there and talks, and the audience is transfixed. There were a lot of those bastards on ‘The Wire.’ Naturals.”

Brown’s daughter told TMZ that before her father became an actor he had served in the Air Force for 29 years, including two tours of Vietnam. Though his background may have been in the military rather than the police force, he was indeed the real thing.

/Film – ‘Slash Film: Actor Al Brown, Best Known For Playing Stan Valchek In The Wire, Has Died At 83’
Author: Hannah Shaw-Williams
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January 16, 2023

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