Born on September 22, 1971 in New York City, New York, Larry Gilliard, Jr. is an actor best known for his role as D’Angelo Barksdale on the HBO drama The Wire. Growing up in New York City, he and his family moved to Baltimore, Maryland when he turned seven. He started studying classical music at Baltimore School for the Arts and Juilliard School but later decided to drop out and pursue acting professionally. He made his acting debut in the 1991 independent feature Straight Out of Brooklyn. He then went back to studying, enrolling at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, The Acting Studio and the Stellar Adler Conservatory.
Gilliard was often cast as a hoodlum, appearing in numerous episodes of such procedurals as Law and Order, Homicide: Life on the Street, New York Undercover, and CSI: NY. He landed a regular role as Baltimore drug dealer D’Angelo Barksdale on the HBO crime drama The Wire, followed by roles in The Water Boy, Gangs of New York, and later on, the short-lived A&E series The Beast, alongside Patrick Swayze.