Baltimore-raised actor played Prop Joe on HBO show

Robert Chew, who played Proposition Joe on the HBO series “The Wire,” died at his Baltimore home Thursday after suffering a heart attack. He was 52.

The character Prop Joe was a highly intelligent and ruthless yet polite and diplomatic Baltimore drug lord.

“Robert was not only an exceptional actor, he was an essential part of the film and theater community in Baltimore,” David Simon, creator of ‘The Wire,’ told the Baltimore Sun. “He could have gone to New York or Los Angeles and commanded a lot more work, but he loved the city as his home and chose to remain here working. He understood so much about his craft that it was no surprise at all that we would go to him to coach our young actors in season four. He was the conduit through which they internalized their remarkable performances.”

Chew also appeared in TV shows “The Corner” and “Homicide: Life on the Street” and the 2004 TV movie “Something the Lord Made.”

He grew up in Baltimore and studied music at Morgan State U. for two years. He worked as music director for the Arena Players community theater.

Survivors include three sisters and his mother.

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