Brooklyn Nine-Nine Actor Andre Braugher Dead at 61

Andre Braugher, who starred on Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Homicide: Life on the Street, has died at age 61 after a brief illness.

By Lindsay Weinberg Dec 13, 2023 3:17 AMTags
Watch: Brooklyn Nine-Nine's Andre Braugher Dead at 61

It's time for the 99th Precinct to say goodbye to Andre Braugher.

The actor—who portrayed Captain Raymond Holt on Brooklyn Nine-Nine from 2013 to 2021—died on Dec. 11 following a brief illness, his rep confirmed to E! News. He was 61. 

Further details on his cause of death have not been shared.

His costars were among those to mourn the loss, with Terry Crews writing on Instagram Dec. 12, "Can't believe you're gone so soon. I'm honored to have known you, laughed with you, worked with you and shared 8 glorious years watching your irreplaceable talent. This hurts. You left us too soon."

Born in Chicago, Braugher studied at Juilliard before entering Hollywood during a time when roles for African American actors were "few and far between," he told the Associated Press in 2019.

He scored his breakout role in the 1989 movie Glory alongside Morgan Freeman and Denzel Washington, but it was in four years later that he rose to fame playing detective Frank Pembleton in Homicide: Life on the Street. In addition to earning an Emmy for the role, Homicide was a special moment in his career, as he was able to costar with his wife Ami Brabson, who he had married in 1991.

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As a crime show alum, Braugher may have seemed a natural fit to play the strict police captain on Brooklyn Nine-Nine nearly two decades later. However, the actor was admittedly nervous to step back into the uniform and make the move into comedy.

"Everything's new. I'd never done it before. Am I any good?" Braugher recalled of his thought process to Variety in 2020. "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."

Art Streiber/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

But according to costar Andy Samberg, Braugher already had the comedic skills to play the stern-faced police captain.

"He has gotten even better as the seasons have gone on," Samberg told Variety. "And very often when he's concerned that a joke is sacrificing the greater good, his instincts are correct."

For Braugher, playing law enforcement characters for years made him question how police are perceived, especially following the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor in 2020.

"I look up after all these decades of playing these characters," he told the outlet. "I, too, have fallen prey to the mythology that's been built up... It's almost like the air you breathe or the water that you swim in. It's hard to see."

He believed the public had developed views about police from the many procedurals they see on TV, noting, "That's something that we're going to have to collectively address—all cop shows." 

John P. Fleenor/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

When he left the badge behind on set each day, Braugher stepped back into his role as father to three adult sons with Brabson, who he called "like-minded" due to growing up in similar neighborhoods.

"We share the same values," the City of Angels star explained. "She knows me like the back of her hand, and I'm grateful for that."

FOX Image Collection via Getty Images

Though he said he prioritized spending time with his family over advancing his career, Braugher was able to star in films including Frequency (2000) and The Mist (2007), in addition to the 2006 TV miniseries Thief, which earned him another Emmy and a Golden Globe nomination. Most recently, Braugher appeared in the film She Said—which was centered on the #MeToo movement—and the CBS show The Good Fight alongside Christine Baranski and Audra McDonald in 2022.

"It's been an interesting career, but I think it could have been larger," he shared. "I think it could have spanned more disciplines: directing, producing, all these other different things. But it would have been at the expense of my own life."

Read on to see stars' tributes to the actor:

Melissa Fumero

"I will remember all the advice you gave me. I will remember all the times we laughed because your laugh was one of the all time greatest laughs to have ever existed. I will remember the deep love and loyalty you had for your family. I will remember it every time I ask work to make time for me to be with my family...I will remember so much."

Chelsea Peretti

"Love you. Will miss your dulcet tones. Forever lucky to have gone on such a journey with you. Ringside seat. You were so funny to me and the epitome of still waters run deep. I will always cherish our conversations, often with me hanging in your doorway barring your exit, and the insane opportunity to be your sidekick. Is it weird that I am also grieving for what Captain Holt meant to Gina? I really hoped and knew I would see you again. Hate that I won’t."

Terry Crews

"Can’t believe you’re gone so soon. I’m honored to have known you, laughed with you, worked with you and shared 8 glorious years watching your irreplaceable talent. This hurts. You left us too soon. You taught me so much. I will be forever grateful for the experience of knowing you. Thank you for your wisdom, your advice, your kindness and your friendship. Deepest condolences to your wife and family in this difficult time. You showed me what a life well lived looks like. Rest In Peace, Andre. I love you, man."

Joe Lo Truglio

"So many wonderful stories will be told about Andre but for now, all my love goes to his wife Ami and his three boys, who he loved very much and flew back every weekend from the show to be with. We all know how powerful an actor he was, but even more, Andre knew exactly well his most important role and was deeply proud of it. He spoke often about his sons, and knew how lucky he was to have Ami. I’m grateful to them for allowing us to share eight years with him. He was committed and passionate about the things he loved. And that voice. It laid anchor to the roughest of dialogue. What you probably don’t know is that Andre could sing too, and did often at lunch, belting bassy vocals from his dressing room to whatever new music he found. At first, it was odd because well…*it was Andre Braugher crooning at full volume from behind closed doors*…but then very quickly it made all the sense in the world because the man was so full of song and that’s why the world took notice. I miss him so much already. What an honor to work with a man who knew what it was really all about. I feel blessed and thankful. Miss you Capt Holt. Love, Porkchop."

Stephanie Beatriz

"Andre. [heart emoji]"

Marc Evan Jackson

"O Captain. My Captain."

Dirk Blocker

"Fiercely intelligent, remarkably kind, supportive, generous and possessed a deep and extraordinary talent, and had even more to offer. I am devastated. I love him. The 9 years I was able to work with him and to just be in his presence was truly a blessing. My heartfelt condolences go out to his family."

Joel McKinnon Miller

"An actor prepares… Sending love to Andre’s family and friends and all of us who had the honor of working with him. #brooklyn99."

Kyra Sedgwick

"Heartbroken to hear about the passing of the brilliant Andre Baugher. Sending love to all of his family and friends. Playing his other half in Brooklyn Nine-Nine will forever be one of the highlights of my career."


“Everyone at FOX is devastated by the sudden loss of our friend and colleague, the incredibly talented Andre Braugher. He will most certainly be remembered for his iconic comedic and dramatic roles across both film and television, but he will be remembered mostly for his big heart, kindness and the lasting impact he made on his friends, family and fans everywhere. Andre was the heart and soul of the Nine-Nine and will forever be our Captain. Our thoughts and deepest condolences are with Andre's family and loved ones at this time.” 

Phil Lord

"I got to know Andre a little while doing the Brooklyn Nine-Nine pilot. He was a kind, thoughtful, supremely talented person. The way he and Andy’s opposite approaches to acting baffled & then slowly influenced each other was a magical dynamic that was the heart of the show."

Beth Dover

"Just so gutted to hear about the loss of Andre Braugher. He was always so gracious and nice to me in those early days of Brooklyn Nine Nine. The first event I went to as Joes plus one, I was self conscious and didn’t want to get in the way of the cast doing their thing, so I walked around alone and ended up at an empty card table. Andre saw me there and came over to keep me company when he absolutely did not have to. He made me feel like I mattered. I have never forgotten that kindness. I have a feeling he did that for a lot of people. We have lost a wonderful man and an incredible talent. May his memory be a blessing."

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