Craig “Mums” Grant, an actor and poet who appeared in all six seasons of HBO’s prison drama Oz among dozens of film, TV and stage credits, died Thursday, apparently of natural causes, according to his representatives. He was 52.
Billed as muMs da Schemer, the name he used during his early slam-poetry years, Grant guested or recurred as Arnold “Poet” Jackson on Oz during its entire 1997-2003 run, appearing in all but seven episodes. His character was a heroin addict who is released from “Emerald City,” only to return after killing a drug dealer. A member of the Homeboys prison gang, the character often recited poems about social and political injustice endured by Black Americans.
Born and raised in New York City, Grant competed in at the 1996 National Poetry Slam as a member of the Nuyorican team and was featured in the 1998 feature documentary Slam Nation: The Sport of Spoken Word. He also was featured on early seasons on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam. Grant later became a member of the LAByrinth Theater Company, which staged his one-man show A Sucker Emcee.
After Oz wrapped in 2003, Grant guested on such popular TV shows as The Sopranos, Chappelle’s Show, Law & Order, Boston Legal, Cold Case, Blue Bloods, Nurse Jackie, Luke Cage, High Maintenance and The Last O.G. He also recurred as Cash Jackson on the 2017-19 Netflix dramedy She’s Gotta Have It.
He recently wrapped a role in Steven Soderbergh’s No Sudden Move, starring Jon Hamm, Benicio Del Toro and Don Cheadle. At the time of his death, Grant had been filming a recurring role on Starz’s Hightown and was scheduled to travel to Atlanta next week to wrap up an arc on Tyler Perry’s BET+ series All the Queen’s Men.
His other film credits include Monsters and Men, Breaking Point, The Good Heart, Ball Don’t Lie, Interview and Dark Water.
On Broadway, Grant took part in the annual The 24 Hours Plays four times during the 2000s.
“We are heartbroken over the loss of one of the most genuine, caring, loving souls we have ever had the pleasure of representing,” his longtime representatives Ellipsis Entertainment Group, Headline Talent Agency, and Ellis Talent Group said in a joint statement. “Craig was more than our client, he was our dear friend. We all just lost a phenomenal man.”