His brother, Stanley Boyd, confirmed his death and said he did not know the cause.
Ms Andrews, known to her friends as Fran, has devoted years of her life to rehabilitating people often dismissed as hopeless ‘junkies’. David Simon, an executive producer of ‘The Corner’, which aired on HBO in 2000, once told the New York Times that he “didn’t have many heroes left”, but that Ms Andrews was one of them. them, and that his life was a testimony to the truth that “everyone can write his end”.
Simon, a former journalist who is also the creator of the acclaimed HBO drama ‘The Wire’, met Ms Andrews when he was reporting the book ‘The Corner: A Year in the Life of an Inner-City Neighborhood’ (1997) with former homicide detective Edward Burns. The book became the basis for the 2000 HBO miniseries.
The “corner” in the show’s title refers to the drug market around the intersection of Fayette and Monroe streets in West Baltimore. When Simon and Ms Andrews first met in this neighborhood, Simon told The New Yorker magazine, she refused to speak to him, assuming he was an undercover police officer.
But over time, Ms Andrews opened up about her life and her addiction, providing a window into the destruction the drugs had wrought on her life, her family and the families around them.
According to her own account, the Baltimore Sun reported, Ms Andrews first tried heroin when she was 23, the night of her sister’s funeral. She fell into a years-long addiction and into a state, she told The Times, in which “all your worst never comes true.”
His son De’Andre L. McCullough began dealing drugs as a teenager, and his father, Gary McCullough, died of an overdose in 1996. Their struggles became the focus of Simon and Burns’ book as well as the HBO miniseries, which won three Emmys, including Outstanding Miniseries.
Ms Andrews, who was portrayed on-screen by Khandi Alexander, described the show as “good, focused”, although it “brought back a lot of memories that I really didn’t want to relive”.
“But over time,” she told the San Jose Mercury News in 2000, “it showed me how far I’ve come.”
In the mid-1990s, Ms Andrews went into convalescence. She attributed her change of heart in large part to her future husband, Donnie Andrews, a former heroin user who years earlier had turned into Burns after killing a drug dealer and whose early life changed. inspired the character of Omar Little in “The Wire”.
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Deeply impressed with the way Donnie Andrews had reformed in prison, Burns introduced him to Fran, hoping the connection might show him a way forward in his own life.
Their relationship began with daily phone calls while Donnie Andrews was incarcerated and continued after his parole in 2005.
“I was often in bad shape when I answered that phone, but no matter what I did or said, Donnie never criticized me,” Ms Andrews said. “He kept giving me reasons why I should do something else, saying if he can change, I can change. In the worst times, I kept sticking to it.
Their romance and eventual engagement, which led to their 2007 wedding, made headlines in The Times.
By this time, Ms. Andrews had long established herself as an addictions counsellor. Hired in 1997 at what was then Bon Secours Hospital in Baltimore – now Grace Medical Center – she guided drug addicts to treatment and promoted HIV prevention. In addition to two sons, she raised two nieces and a nephew and supported the mother of a grandchild, helping them attend college and graduate school and start a career.
“No matter what was going on, we were always well taken care of,” her son De’Rodd Hearns, a firefighter, told The New Yorker after his mother’s death. “We were different from some of the other kids in the neighborhood, who weren’t being looked after.”
Denise Francine Boyd, the fourth of six children, was born in Baltimore on October 15, 1956. Her father was a construction worker and her mother was a homemaker.
Ms. Andrews attended Community College of Baltimore County and worked for about a decade for the Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Co.
She made several appearances in “The Wire”. In “The Corner,” she played a rehab worker who turns down Fran Boyd’s character when she shows up early for treatment, an indictment of the medical system and her inability to cure patients plagued by the addiction.
De’Andre L. McCullough died of an overdose in August 2012 at age 35. Donnie Andrews died four months later after suffering a ruptured aorta.
Besides her brother and son De’Rodd Hearns, Mrs. Andrews’ survivors include the nieces and nephew she raised, Kennyetta, Ashley and Byron Bell; the mother of his grandson, Tyreeka Freamon; and many grandchildren.
When a reporter for the Irish Independent once asked Ms Andrews what lessons she had learned from her life, she replied that ‘it should be ‘never say never’. ”
“I firmly believe,” she said, “there is hope for everyone.”