Monday, March 06, 2023

Obituary: Troubled actor Tom Sizemore 1961-2023

From the time of this blog's inception as The Colonel's Eagle in 2005 until 2007, actor Tom Sizemore was a regular subject to be reported on, so much so that he even had his own link-label. It wasn't so much for his acting prowess but rather his colourful and nefarious antics that ended a stellar Hollywood career after some 40 major film roles between 1989 and 2003.

Sizemore's first credited movie role was in the Sylvester Stallone starring prison movie Lock Up. From '89 to '91 he expanded his portfolio in movies such as Born on the Fourth of July with Tom Cruise and Point Break with Keanu Reeves

I first distinctly recall Sizemore in 1992's Passenger 57 where he plays Wesley Snipes' wisecracking boss. He furthered his career considerably over he next three years by working with some of the greatest directors of the day such as Tony Scott in True Romance, Laurence Kasdan as Bat Masterson in Wayatt Earp, Oliver Stone in Natural Born Killers and Michael Mann in Heat.

After recovering from the 1997 flop The Relic which was also his first leading role, he portrayed one of his best and most memorable roles as SFC Mike Horvath in Saving Private Ryan which would also become his most financially successful project.

Sizemore had a string of flops at the turn of the century with the disastrous misstep Red Planet, narratively flawed Pearl Harbor, and bomb-disposal thriller Ticker for which the director has publicly apologised for.  He had one more hit in 2001 when he played real life U.S. Army Lt.Colonel Danny McKnight of the 75th Rangers as part of an award-nominated ensemble cast for one of the finest war movies ever made, Ridley Scott's Black Hawk Down

The last movie I recall seeing him in was 2003's Dreamcatcher but it was by this point that Sizemore's Hollywood career had crashed and burned at the foot of his conviction for domestic violence against "Hollywood Madam" Heidi Fleiss and repeatedly failing drug tests while on probation. He continued his substance abuse and domestic violence tendencies throughout the following twenty years despite appearing in some 150 low-budget, direct-to-video or short film projects.

After his exile from Hollywood, Sizemore did make a number of Television appearances including CSI: Miami, Crash, Entourage, Hawaii Five-0, Law & Order: SVU, Lucifer, Shooter and Twin Peaks, Season 3. His TV roles ended in 2017 however, following allegations of sexual assault against an 11 year old girl on the set of a movie in 2003.

While my respect for the man waned and turned into morbid curiosity as the 2000's went on, there was a time when I would have wanted him to portray me on screen should there ever have been a movie of my life in the Corps. Few actors could spin from the intensity of my battle-hardened death-stare to my charismatic lady-killing smirk on a dime like Tom Sizemore. That dream was permanently laid to rest on March 3rd when he passed away following a brain aneurysm at 61. 

May he find the peace in death that he clearly hadn't in life.

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