Actor Al Brown, best known for his role as Baltimore City Police Maj. Stanislaus “Stan” Valchek on the television show “The Wire,” died Friday as he peacefully slept in his Las Vegas home after a two-year struggle with Alzheimer’s disease, his family said. He was 83.

Brown carved out a decades-long acting career, starting small as an extra in films like “Philadelphia,” “Beloved” and “Red Dragon,” until his breakout role on “The Wire” brought more lucrative work. He played General Pollack on “Commander in Chief” starring actors Geena Davis and Donald Sutherland and the role of a “psycho husband” in an episode of “Rescue Me,” with comedian Denis Leary.

But by far, Brown’s longest and most acclaimed run was his five season recurrence as the morally shady, irascible and vindictive major on the Baltimore-based television series “The Wire.”

David Simon, the show’s co-creator and writer, said Brown’s portrayal of the do-nothing, power-hungry Valcheck, who rose through police ranks to become commissioner, was one of the most realistic parts of the show. Simon saw Brown’s audition tape and called him back. He knew during the in-person audition that Brown was right for the part.

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“He had that great Tidewater accent and that face that always seemed to be in a permanent grimace,” Simon said, adding that Brown’s likeness exemplified someone from Southeast Baltimore.

Crew and cast alike enjoyed working with the actor, said Simon, who described Brown as a competent professional, who knew his lines and hit his marks. He described him as “confident” and “a gem” — one who he said had the potential to breakout in larger markets like Los Angeles and New York City.

His daughter, Jennifer Brown Thomas, one of three children, said that when her dad found out he had gotten the part on “The Wire,” he acted like it was all part of the plan.

“Being an actor was so intrinsic to who my dad was that he was waiting for everyone else to figure it out,” she said.

From the time Brown was in elementary school, he knew he wanted to be an actor, Thomas said.

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“He just felt energized when he was up there on stage,” she remembered her dad telling her.

Born in Reading, Pennsylvania, in 1939 to a homemaker and a salesman, Brown grew up with little money and college seemed out of the question, Thomas said. Against the odds, he attended Denison University on a full scholarship for which his high school English teacher made him apply, Thomas said.

Brown married Barbara Eberz in 1961 during his college years, and the couple started a family. He hit a pause on an acting career while the pair raised three children. But he never stopped looking for ways to perform, including one stint in which he and his wife transformed a church theater group into a money-making variety show for their church, Thomas remembered. Brown gladly served as master of ceremonies.

He finished his bachelor’s degree at Philadelphia’s La Salle University before joining the U.S. Air Force. He went on two tours during the Vietnam War, running a commissary for the troops. He retired after nearly 30 years as a lieutenant colonel, according to Thomas.

The military was Brown’s “safety net” and an ingrained part of his personality, Thomas said.

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“My dad was the colonel 24/7,” said Thomas, who remembers her dad using military time and telling her and her two older brothers to “fall out” when it was time to get in the car. “He wasn’t a regular dad.”

Thomas remembers Brown working multiple jobs to support the family.

“He was always just trying to pay the mortgage and make sure everybody had what they needed,” she said.

“My dad loved us,” she said. Brown held honor, family, and loyalty dear, and showed his family love through his sense of humor, Thomas said.

“He was a phenomenal story teller and always had a joke,” Thomas said. “He must have had 4,000 jokes memorized. … He was always performing.”

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Brown’s marriage to Barbara ended in 1990. Several years later, he met and married Janet Newhart, who was his best friend, Thomas said, expressing gratitude for how Newhart cared for her dad during his final days.

In addition to Newhart and Thomas, Brown is survived by his sister, Constance Brown; and brother John Brown, and his wife Jeanne; his sons, Christopher, and his wife AnnTrisha Ramrattan, his son, Timothy, and his wife Teresa; eight grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

Brown’s cremains will be interred during a military funeral at Washington Crossing National Cemetery in Newtown, Pennsylvania, on Feb. 17 at 11 a.m. The family has extended an invitation for the public to attend and asked anyone that does come to please be respectful of the occasion.