Barksdale, Inspiration Behind ‘The Wire’ Dies

Nathan “Bodie” Barksdale, the former Baltimore gangster who inspired characters on the hit television series, The Wire has died.

He was 54.

Barksdale, who passed away in a North Carolina prison on Saturday, was a notorious Baltimore criminal in the 1980s, running a violent heroin-dealing operation in the Murphy Homes public housing complex.

Key characters on The Wire included the drug kingpin “Avon Barksdale” and a dealer named “Bodie Broadus.”

Barksdale worked with the anti-violence Safe Streets program. But in 2014, he was arrested and pleaded guilty to taking part in a heroin conspiracy with members of the Black Guerrilla Family gang.

Nathan Barksdale embraced his connection to the show. He released a DVD that chronicled his life, in which he was interviewed by the actor Wood Harris, who played the Avon Barksdale character.

“In real life he was one of the most notorious and resilient gangster drug kingpins Baltimore has ever seen,” the narrator says. “He was a magnet for violence.”

Read more at The Baltimore Sun.