Andre Braugher, a prolific and critically acclaimed actor whose simmering intensity and commanding presence earned him an Emmy Award for his role as a detective on television drama “Homicide: Life on the Street” and laughs as a stern, tart-tongued police captain on the sitcom “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” died on Monday. He was 61.

His death was confirmed on Tuesday by his longtime publicist Jennifer Allen. She said that Mr. Braugher, who lived in New Jersey, had died after a brief illness. She did not say where he died.

Projecting a no-nonsense authority, Mr. Braugher was a natural for police roles, which also included turns as a detective opposite Telly Savalas in television movie reboots of the 1970s police series “Kojak” in 1989 and 1990, and as another cop in “Hack,” a series about a disgraced police officer who becomes a taxi-driving vigilante, seen on CBS from 2002 to 2004.

Even so, Mr. Braugher, a Stanford University graduate who trained at the Juilliard School in New York, also enjoyed a fruitful and multifaceted career as a stage, film and television actor in roles that did not involve a badge or a sidearm.

He made his film debut as Cpl. Thomas Searles, a proper Boston intellectual turned soldier, in the 1989 film “Glory,” about the storied 54th Massachusetts Regiment, one of the Union’s first Black fighting units in the Civil War. The film also starred Denzel Washington (who won an Academy Award for best supporting actor for his role), Morgan Freeman and Matthew Broderick, who played the regiment’s white abolitionist leader, Col. Robert Gould Shaw. (Shaw was a childhood friend of Mr. Braugher’s character.)

Two men, one in a suit jacket, stare at each other across from an interrogation table.
Mr. Braugher as Detective Frank Pembleton with James Earl Jones in an episode of “Homicide.” He won an Emmy for the role.Credit…Michael Ginsbury/NBCU Photo Bank, via Getty Images

“I’d rather not work than do a part I’m ashamed of,” Mr. Braugher said in interview that year with The New York Times. “I can tell you now that my mother will be proud of me when she sees me in this role.”

Among his other big-screen roles were an egomaniacal actor in “Get on the Bus” (1996), Spike Lee’s talky road movie about a group of Black men traveling to Washington for the Million Man March; the captain of a capsized ocean liner in “Poseidon,” the 2006 remake of the 1970s disaster movie “The Poseidon Adventure”; and the United States secretary of defense in “Salt” (2010), an espionage thriller starring Angelina Jolie.

In one of his last films, Mr. Braugher brought gravitas to the role of Dean Baquet, the former executive editor of The Times, in “She Said” (2022), a drama about two Times reporters’ efforts to document sexual abuse by the film mogul Harvey Weinstein, which helped ignite the #MeToo movement.

He was also a respected stage actor who appeared in several New York Shakespeare Festival productions, including “Measure for Measure,” “Twelfth Night” “As You Like It” and “Henry V,” for which his performance in the title role earned him an Obie Award in 1997.

But it was his role as Detective Frank Pembleton on “Homicide” that proved indelible. A gritty police procedural series set in crime-ravaged quarters of Baltimore, “Homicide” ran on NBC from 1993 to 1999.

“We had a lot of great, incredibly talented actors on that show, but we could see that he would be the quarterback of the team,” Tom Fontana, the show’s executive producer, was quoted as saying in a recent article in Variety. “He has great nobility about him.”

While the role made him a familiar face in prime time, Mr. Braugher later expressed reservations about the heroic portrayals of police officers on television, particularly in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests.

A group of Black soldiers dressed in Union uniforms charges.
Mr. Braugher, far left, next to Denzel Washington, in the Civil War drama “Glory,” Mr. Braugher’s first film.Credit…Everett Collection, via Alamy

“I look up after all these decades of playing these characters, and I say to myself, it’s been so pervasive that I’ve been inside this storytelling, and I, too, have fallen prey to the mythology that’s been built up,” he said in a 2020 interview with Variety. “It’s almost like the air you breathe or the water that you swim in. It’s hard to see. But because there are so many cop shows on television, that’s where the public gets its information about the state of policing. Cops breaking the law to quote, ‘defend the law,’ is a real terrible slippery slope.”

With “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” Mr. Braugher would get the opportunity to upend some of those cop-show clichés by lampooning them.

Andre Keith Braugher was born in Chicago on July 1, 1962, and grew up on the city’s West Side. His mother, Sally, worked for the United States Postal Service. His father, Floyd, was a heavy-equipment operator for the State of Illinois.

“We lived in a ghetto,” he told The Times in 2014. “I could have pretended I was hard or tough and not a square. I wound up not getting in trouble. I don’t consider myself to be especially wise, but I will say that it’s pretty clear that some people want to get out and some people don’t. I wanted out.”

Mr. Braugher attended St. Ignatius College Prep, a prestigious Jesuit high school in Chicago, and later earned a scholarship to Stanford. His father, who wanted him to be an engineer, was furious when he gravitated to acting instead.

“Show me Black actors who are earning a living,” he recalled his father telling him. “What the hell are you going to do, juggle and travel the country?”

Mr. Braugher, dressed as a police captain, sits at a desk smiling and making air quotes.
Mr. Braugher took a marked detour into comedy in 2013 as Capt. Raymond Holt on the sitcom “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,”Credit…FOX Image Collection, via Getty Images

After graduating from Stanford with a major in mathematics, he earned a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Juilliard School.

Mr. Braugher insisted on living in New Jersey even though he often worked in California. Among his other roles in acclaimed television series, he played an unorthodox physician on the ABC drama “Gideon’s Crossing” (2000-1) and the car salesman Owen Thoreau Jr. on the TNT series “Men of a Certain Age” (2009-11). He also starred in the sixth and final season of the Paramount+ legal drama “The Good Fight” (2017-22).

Mr. Braugher won an Emmy for “Homicide” in 1998 and another in 2006 for his role as the steely leader of a heist crew in the FX mini-series “Thief,” set in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

He is survived by his wife, the actress Ami Brabson; his sons, Michael, Isaiah and John Wesley; his brother, Charles Jennings; and his mother. His father died in 2011.

Mr. Braugher took a marked detour into comedy in 2013 with “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” playing Capt. Raymond Holt, an erudite if stiff precinct commander. He received four Emmy nominations and won two Critics Choice Awards for best supporting actor in a comedy series.

It was a counterintuitive role on a number of levels. For one, Mr. Braugher had little experience playing for laughs — indeed, it was a joke on the show that his character was so rigid, he had to strain to smile, even if he was always good for a devastating wisecrack.

“I’d never done it before,” he told Variety. “ Am I any good? I remember turning to my wife and asking her, ‘Is this funny?’ And she said, ‘Yes, of course, you’re not being deceived.’ But I kept looking at it, saying to myself, ‘Is this good?’ I couldn’t really judge.”

He also flouted stereotypes with his portrayal of Capt. Holt as a gay character whose sexual orientation is merely a matter of fact, not a source of amusement.

“As long as there’s no pink hot pants and singing ‘Y.M.C.A.,’ then everything’s OK,” Mr. Braugher said in a 2018 video interview. “Typically, when you see gay characters on shows, they’re goofballs or caricatures,” he added. “But this is one more facet of Holt as opposed to being Holt’s defining characteristic, so that’s what’s important to me.”

His teenage son, he said, asked him, “You’re playing a gay police captain?” “I said ‘No, I’m playing the police captain who’s gay.’ So we have to sit down and understand what that distinction is.”

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