Charlie Walker, a San Francisco entrepreneur and social justice icon who was played by Mike Colter in the 2022 biopic I’m Charlie Walker, died in his hometown on Thursday, it was announced. He turned 89.
Colter, perhaps best known for his turns as Marvel hero Luke Cage, starred alongside Safiya Fredericks and Dylan Baker in the June release of FAMM Films and Shout! Studios which was directed by Patrick Gilles.
The son of sharecropper parents, Walker became a successful truck driver and led protests in the 1960s to open public construction jobs to black contractors who were deliberately frowned upon.
He hired trucks to clean up San Francisco Bay after a devastating oil spill in 1971, helped close friend and then-Assembly member Willie Brown safely leave City Hall after the 1978 murders of Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk, and became one of the first black employees at the San Francisco Chronicle.
Last year, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed a resolution to honor Walker by renaming a street in his Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood Charlie Way.
“Charlie Walker was a true original,” Colter said in a statement. “Cut from the same cloth as men like my own father and uncles. Men from the 1970s who grabbed the opportunity by the horns. Charlie was unapologetic about his ambition and desire to make a place in the world.
“He paved the way for his family and was an example for future generations. He was a character who moved through the world with a certainty and swagger that people noticed. He deserved to have his story told. It was an honor to portray him. He will never be forgotten.”
Producer Mike Regen added: “We could go on and on about Charlie’s performance and the impact he had on so many, but we also know Charlie would tell us to get back to work. And that is exactly what we will do to continue to honor his legacy and amazing life.”
Survivors include his wife of 63 years, Annett; daughters Charlette and Ruedell; son Charles Jr.; 11 grandchildren; and 13 great-grandchildren.