A fluid and protean character actor of the first order, Wendell Pierce brought palpable charm and presence to his vast array of film and television roles, which were capped by his five seasons as the cagey Detective Bunk Moreland on "The Wire" (HBO, 2002-07). A powerfully built man who could generate laughs and tension with equal ease, Pierce began his career in theater before moving into features and television in the late 1980s. His versatility earned him roles in films by such significant directors as Spike Lee with "Get on the Bus" (1996), Woody Allen with "Manhattan Murder Mystery" (1993) and Barry Levinson with "Sleepers" (1997), but it was his turn as a sweet if inept lover in Forest Whitaker's "Waiting to Exhale" (1995) that put him on the map. "The Wire" became one of his greatest showcases, with Bunk becoming an audience favorite by virtue of his old-school police principles and profane quips. The critically acclaimed series led to greater exposure for Pierce, who used some of his newfound fame to bring attention to his hometown of New Orleans after its devastation by Hurricane Katrina. In 2010, Pierce finally earned top billing in "Treme" (HBO, 2010- ), a drama series set in New Orleans that showed a new audience what Pierce's fans had been saying for over two decades: that he was among the best actors in the business, bar none.