Andre Braugher may have only appeared in six episodes of Law & Order: SVU, but the actor left an indelible impression on fans. His performance as defense attorney Bayard Ellis was memorable every time he appeared onscreen, largely due to the chemistry he had with franchise star Mariska Hargitay.
Braugher died on December 11, 2023 at the age of 61. The actor's cause of death is unclear, but Variety reported that he had recently been contending with an illness. Hargitay took to social media to praise her former co-star, and detail what made him such a special presence on SVU, as well as the other shows he frequented.
Former Law & Order: SVU star Andre Braugher dies at 61
Hargitay posted a black-and-white photo of Braugher, with a lengthy caption that read:
""So sad and heartbroken. What a loss for all of us who knew and loved and admired you. I’ve never met anyone like you. Full of grace, full of light. Elegant, noble, clear, curious, nuanced, generous, eminently human and real. A consummate artist and meticulous craftsman. There was nothing you couldn’t do. We lost one of the great hearts.""
Braugher was universally praised for his ability to bring depth and worldiness to his characters, even when said characters had a small amount of screen time.
The "grace" that Hargitay refers to is always present in his appearances as Bayard Ellis, and the actor alluded to how important it was to maintaining right and wrong in the Law & Order universe during an interview with Give Me My Remote. "There’s so [many] sides to the evidence to assert what’s going on, but the credibility of the witnesses is a powerful tool to unlocking justice," he noted.
Hargitay's message wasn't the only tribute issued after Braugher's death. NBC issued a statement, praising the actor for his decades of quality work on shows like SVU, Homicide: Life on the Streets and Brooklyn Nine-Nine:
""Andre Braugher was the actor that others in the profession would always aspire to be. He infused Det. Frank Pembleton on Homicide: Life on the Street with both righteous ferocity and quiet dignity. In addition to his prowess as a dramatic actor, his comedy chops were also on full display as the determined and passionate Capt. Holt in Brooklyn Nine-Nine. His performances will continue to inspire future generations and we will miss him tremendously.""
Braugher is survived by his wife Ami Bradson and three children.