Craig 'muMs' Grant, actor from Oz and Spike Lee projects, dies at 52
Actor and poet Craig muMs Grant, who starred in HBO's Oz and collaborated with the likes of Spike Lee, died on Wednesday. He was 52.
No cause of death has been determined yet. LAByrinth Theater Company, of which he was a member, released a statement announcing his passing.
"The LAByrinth Theater family is deeply saddened to share the news of the unexpected loss of Craig 'muMs' Grant," the post read. "We'll forever miss our friend, brother, LAB member, Emcee, mentor, poet, actor, spoken-word giant, and fire-breathing teddy bear. muMs' presence, performances, and words inspired a generation. His legacy will live on, from the Bronx and into the beyond. Keep rocking the mic, Schemer!"
On the acclaimed Oz, which ran from 1997 to 2003, Grant portrayed Arnold "Poet" Jackson, a heroin addict and prisoner who recites poetry for other inmates.
Grant worked with a number of revered filmmakers such as Spike Lee, appearing in the director's films BlacKkKlansman and Bamboozled. He also played Cash Jackson in the recent Netflix series She's Gotta Have It. His big screen credits include Steven Soderbergh's Side Effects, Alejandro G. Iñárritu's Birdman, and the Safdie brothers' Good Time.
On television, Grant appeared in series like Chappelle's Show, The Sopranos, Boston Legal, The Knick, Horace and Pete, and Luke Cage. At the time of his death, Grant was shooting a recurring role on Starz's Hightown and was set to wrap a recurring arc on Tyler Perry's BET+ show All the Queen's Men. He recently reteamed with Soderbergh for the film No Sudden Move starring Jon Hamm, Benicio del Toro, and Don Cheadle.
Born and raised in New York City, Grant was introduced to audiences through the documentary SlamNation, which followed him and his fellow Nuyorican Poetry Slam Team members as they competed at the 1996 National Poetry Slam. He was also featured on HBO's Def Poetry Jam series.
Grant joined the city's LAByrinth Theater Company alongside the late Philip Seymour Hoffman. LABryinth staged Grant's autobiographical one-man show A Sucker Emcee, which detailed his coming of age in the Bronx. Grant was in talks with the National Black Theatre and The Public to stage it in open-air venues this summer, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Those who knew and worked with Grant mourned the loss on social media.
"My brother from OZ, I spent too much time with this man onset. Too many amazing stories," Kirk Acevedo, who played Miguel Alvarez on the show, tweeted.
"An incredible poet.❤️ This is heartbreaking," he added. "God Bless U my brotha. U will be missed."
"He was a friend, a brother, a mentor, a confidant, a cheerleader, a collaborator, and a spirit guide," writer Jorge Rivera tweeted Thursday. "There will never be another like him. I'm absolutely gutted."
"One of the first poets I ever saw at the Nuyorican during my first ever summer in New York," producer and Black List founder Franklin Leonard recalled. "This one cuts deep. Damn."