April 01, 2010

Emmy-Winning Writer David Mills Dies at 48

The acclaimed scribe’s credits included some of TV’s most respected shows, including Homicide: Life on the Street, NYPD Blue, ER and The Wire.

David Mills, a Primetime Emmy-winning television writer whose credits included some of the most respected series on television — including Homicide: Life on the Street, NYPD Blue, ER and The Wire — died on March 30, 2010, in New Orleans. He was 48.

According to news reports, Mills died as a result of an apparent brain aneurysm.

Mills, who lived in Los Angeles, was in New Orleans at work on Treme, the new HBO series from The Wire creator David Simon. He wrote two episodes of the upcoming drama, which premieres April 11.

Mills began his career as a reporter for the Washington Post, before turning to television. He gained national attention for a 1992 Washington Post interview with hip-hop artist Sister Souljah, in which, regarding the rioting in Los Angeles following the trial of the police officers accused of beating Rodney King, she said, “If black people kill black people every day, why not have a week and kill white people?”

The article sparked controversy when Rev. Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Coalition organization invited Sister Souljah to speak at its convention, which drew criticism from Bill Clinton, at the time a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination. In his rebuke, Clinton cited the Mills story.

Mills segued into television through Simon, a friend from their days at the University of Maryland, and a former newspaper colleague. In 1994, Mills and Simon won a Writers Guild of America award for an episode of Homicide, the acclaimed police drama inspired by Simon’s book of the same name.

Mills won a second Writers Guild award in 2002, for The Wire, and was nominated on two other occasions.

He also earned six Primetime Emmy nominations, and won two, both for the HBO miniseries The Corner, in 2000.

In addition to his other credits, Mills was creator and executive producer of the 2003 NBC miniseries Kingpin.

Treme, set in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, marked another eagerly anticipated collaboration with Simon.

Mills also maintained a presence on the internet, posting frequently to his blog, Undercover Black Man.

He is survived by two sisters, a brother and several other relatives.

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