He played one of the most memorable characters in Black cinema that took a hard look at police brutality and now he’s gone.
Bill Nunn, known for one of his most remembered characters, Radio Raheem from Spike Lee’s 1989 classic hit film, Do The Right Thing, has died just a month shy of his 63rd birthday.
Nunn’s wife, Donna, confirmed his death to the Associated Press and said he had been battling cancer.
Nunn was the son of a prominent Pittsburgh Steelers scout, also named Bill Nunn, and was briefly a ball boy for the NFL team.
Spike took to Instagram several times on Saturday to share his condolences and love for his friend.
“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,” he captioned an old photo of Nunn. “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 another post, Lee went into detail about his actor friend.
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 also had memorable roles in films like New Jack City, Sister Act, and most recently in the Spider Man trilogy.