Actor Tom Sizemore, a man remembered for his movie roles as well as his turbulent personal life, has died at the age of 61 following complications from a brain aneurysm. He remained in hospital in a coma following the incident, at which point the family were made aware that there was no chance of recovery. Brain aneurysms are considered extremely lethal, and can strike without warning, making it very hard to save a patient’s life, especially if they live alone.
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Sizemore was best known for starring in a string of very influential and memorable films including Natural Born Killers, Devil in a Blue Dress, Heat, Pearl Harbor, and Black Hawk Down, but it was his front-and-center role as Sergeant Mike Horvath in Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan that truly elevated his Hollywood profile. Unfortunately, his off-screen antics and behavior would toxify that same profile, earning him a dubious reputation as an abusive bad boy.
The actor battled drug addiction since he was very young, a vice that would stick with him almost to the end of his life. During an interview with Daily Mail, Sizemore claimed “Drugs are a progressive disease. If I do drugs again, I go right back to where I was before. I was ineffectual. I could barely get dressed. I was hopeless.” After being shocked into brief sobriety at the sight of Robert Downey Jr.’s life being turned upside down by drugs, he quickly fell off the wagon again.
Sizemore also made headlines over a problematic relationship with Heidi Fleiss, the “Hollywood Madam” who spent years operating a high-class prostitution ring. She briefly dated Sizemore before she accused him of domestic violence. Eventually, both were sentenced to jail on different charges in one of Hollywood’s most bizarre scandals.
Tom Sizemore was born in 1961 in Detroit, Michigan. His first film role was in the 1989 prison flick Lock Up, where he played the character Dallas, a prison inmate who betrays Sylvester Stallone’s character Frank Leone in the third act.
He’d star in various roles throughout the 1990s in such films as Point Break, Passenger 57, True Romance, Wyatt Earp and Strange Days, before he eventually made his mark in Saving Private Ryan.
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Following the success of that film, Sizemore went on to star in Black Hawk Down, Enemy of the State and Dreamcatcher, before his career trajectory started to change. He starred in many low-key films, while broadening his acting palette in films like The Last Lullaby, which the actor was particularly fond of. Sizemore also acted in various TV roles on shows like 2002’s animated Justice League series, CSI: Miami, Entourage, Law & Order: SVU, and the 2017 return of Twin Peaks.
He also lent his voice acting talents to Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto: Vice City in 2002, where he voiced the character Sonny Forelli.
During a 2019 interview with YouTube’s Jon Bravo Films, Sizemore spoke about how the media unfairly and incorrectly attributed his passing of a kidney stone while filming a movie to a drug overdose. “Two years of sobriety kinda’ got stepped on, in the press. I didn’t lose it in my life, which is most important.” He then added “Addiction is a major disease, and I didn’t take it seriously, I really didn’t. I took my career for granted, I took a lot of things for granted, and I don’t anymore.”
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On screen, Sizemore was a charismatic and interesting actor who instantly stood out. He was adept at fitting himself into any role he took, and bringing that role to life by exhibiting commitment, enthusiasm and honesty.
In his personal life, Sizemore appeared to be a good man battling a host of very bad demons, which made him uniquely sympathetic in comparison to elitist and narcissistic actors involved in the business.
Fans of Sizemore have a ton of material to remember him by. Between 1989 and 2023, the actor starred in over 200 films. His death is a tragic and untimely one, but it’s an opportunity for fans to pick one of his many films, and spend Saturday night raising a glass to this troubled, yet unique Hollywood standout.
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