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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

R.I.P. prolific poet and Oz actor Craig “muMs” Grant

 Billy Crudup and Craig muMs Grant at the Labyrinth Theater Company’s Celebrity Charades Gala in November 2015
Billy Crudup and Craig muMs Grant at the Labyrinth Theater Company’s Celebrity Charades Gala in November 2015
Image: Andrew Toth/Getty Images for LAByrinth Theater Company (Getty Images)

Poet and actor Craig “muMs” Grant died at the age of 52. Grant, who starred in HBO’s Oz and more recently in the Starz drama Hightown, died due to natural causes, according to his representatives at the Ellis Talent Group.

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Born and raised in New York City’s Bronx borough, Grant attended Mount St. Michael Academy High School. He became popular as muMs da Schemer, a stage name he used during his slam-poetry days. He appeared in the documentary SlamNation, which followed the 1996 Nuyorican Poetry Slam team he was a part of. He was a member of the city’s LAByrinth Company, an off-Broadway and ethnically diverse non-profit organization.

The actor’s film credits include Soderbergh’s Side Effects, Oscar winner Birdman, and the Safdie brothers’ crime thriller Good Time, among others. He has an uncredited role in Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman. However, it was his performance on HBO’s Oz that Grant truly broke out in 2003. He played Arnold “Poet” Jackson, a prisoner who performed poetry and offered commentary while behind bars. Grant’s role kept expanding as the show went on, and he becomes one of the few fictional inmates’ to survive the entire series’ run.

After Oz, he appeared in notable TV shows such as Chapelle’s Show, The Sopranos, Boston Legal, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, and Marvel’s Luke Cage. He had recurring roles in more recent ventures like the web series Horace And Pete, Netflix comedy She’s Gotta Have It, and the Jerry Bruckheimer-produced crime drima Hightown.

Grant was also a prolific stage actor, and performed his one-man show A Sucker Emcee, based on his personal life recollections and involving slam-poetry and hip-hop, for the LAByrinth Company in 2014. He also had a role in LAByrinth Company’s The Insurgents about rage among the free, brave, and disenfranchised. In 2007, he was part of the play A View From 151st Street, and in 2015, his play Paradox Of The Urban Circle was part of the Poetic Theater Production’s Poetic License Festival. The play, which and was about a young couple living in Harlem. was performed at the Wild Project

“We are heartbroken over the loss of one of the most genuine, caring, loving souls we have ever had the pleasure of representing,” his agency said in a statement. “Craig was more than our client, he was our dear friend. We all just lost a phenomenal man.”

At the time of his death, Grant was shooting a recurring role on Hightown in Wilmington, North Carolina. He was going to travel to Atlanta on Monday, March 29, to wrap a recurring arc on the BET streaming series All The Queen’s Men, according to The Hollywood Reporter Grant and also recently completed filming the Steven Soderbergh thriller No Sudden Move alongside Jon Hamm, Don Cheadle, and Benicio del Toro.

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Staff Writer (TV)