Actor Tom Sizemore dies at 61 | Culture | The USA Print

Tom Sizemore poses in New York in April 2013.John Carucci (AP)

Actor Tom Sizemore died this Friday afternoon at the age of 61 in a Burbank hospital. The death has been confirmed by the representative of the artist, who rose to fame as Sergeant Mike Horvath in the 1998 war classic directed by Steven Spielberg, Saving Private Ryan. A few days ago, doctors had told his family that they didn’t have much hope after he suffered a brain aneurysm when he collapsed in his Los Angeles apartment on February 18.

The interpreter died in a coma. He was admitted to St. Joseph Medical Center, where he was being treated for the cerebral incident, which followed a heart attack. The medical team informed his two children and his brother, Paul Sizemore, on February 27 that the prognosis was very unfavorable. The recommendation to the relatives was to choose to disconnect Sizemore from the device that helped him breathe.

“He was a great character,” Paul said of his brother in a statement shared by the actor’s publicist, Charles Lago. “He was talented, caring, generous and could keep you entertained to no end thanks to his wit and storytelling abilities,” added his brother. The Sizemores were born in East Detroit. They were the children of a college philosophy professor who became a lawyer. His mother was an official in the city council.

Thomas Edward Sizemore studied theater at an eastern university. He continued his studies in Philadelphia and moved to New York at the end of the eighties. He built a solid career during the 1990s, where he played various tough guys on screen, usually men enlisted in the police or military. He worked for some of the most important directors of that decade, almost always strengthening the cast for works by filmmakers like Oliver Stone (Natural Born Killers and born on july 4th), Tony Scott (True Romancewith a script by Tarantino), Michael Mann (Heat), Kathryn Bigelow (Point Break), Martin Scorsese (Bringing out the dead) and Ridley Scott (Black Hawk Down), among several others.

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Tom Sizemore and Heidi Fleiss, in 2002, during a red carpet at the Film Institute.
Tom Sizemore and Heidi Fleiss, in 2002, during a red carpet at the Film Institute.REUTERS

Although he never stopped working, his career drifted away from big productions and the most renowned directors due to his repeated problems with drugs, which began with alcohol and cocaine and led to heroin and methamphetamines, as well as conflicts in his personal life. The first decade of the two thousand was especially turbulent for the actor, who was nominated for a Golden Globe for his role in the series Witness Protection.

In 2004, when he was 47 years old, he was convicted of abusing his girlfriend, Heidi Fleiss. Sizemore met the controversial woman, known as the madame de hollywood for heading a prostitution ring in California, when she was released from prison facing charges for organized crime and tax evasion. Sizemore was sentenced to six months in jail for his crime. The judge who handed down the ruling also ordered him to join a drug rehabilitation program (Robert De Niro also insisted on the importance of detoxification at another time).

“I have allowed my personal demons to take control of my life,” he said in a letter to the judge, stating that if it weren’t for the substances, he would control his behavior. The following year, he violated his probation, earning him a 17-month sentence behind bars.

In 2009, the actor was arrested again by the Los Angeles police, who accused him of sexist violence against his fiancée at that time. Months earlier, Sizemore had had another run-in with the law when elements of the police captured him in a large anti-narcotics operation carried out in the city of Bakersfield, north of Los Angeles.

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The controversy does not end there. In 2017, The Hollywood Reporter brought to light the alleged sexual abuse of an eleven-year-old actress on the set of the film Piggy Banks, released in 2005. The incident, which occurred two years earlier, led to the production team temporarily expelling Sizemore from filming. The victim explored the possibility of suing the actor and his own parents.

The various legal problems accumulated and caused him to lose some 18 million dollars. In 2005 he had to get rid of his house, which had once belonged to Gary Cooper, and filed for bankruptcy. To try to recover some money, the actor tried sell some porno tapeshomemade script that he had filmed together with nine different women. They were the darkest years of an artist who lived to the fullest, like the characters he brought to the screen.

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