I recently watched the latest Star Trek movie which was shortly followed by the death of an amazing young actor Anton Yelchin in June of this year, and there really is nothing like seeing wonderful actors and actresses who put smiles on faces and entertain people, part with us. I wanted to take the time to do an article that is a little change of pace and sort of off beat for us here at WGG. Here are 5 major losses to the film industry over the years and I assure you, there is no order of significance, because the world would be filled with more happy people to this day if they were all still with us. On the note of Star Trek I would like to introduce Mr. Leonard Nimoy
It hits home to know Nimoy grew up in the West End of Boston and took acting classes at Boston College. Of course Nimoy is most known for his Role as Spock in the original Star Trek series and films, a series that helped establish science fiction and space exploration as a mainstay in cinema forever. Besides his major role, Nimoy also had a stage career and did a ton of voice casting work for television series and even videogame series. He lent his voice to games such as Civilization IV, Star Trek MMO, and Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep. Nobody can argue the significance Star Trek played in modernizing sci-fi and nerd culture to the standards it has reached today, and we thank you Leonard “Mr. Spock” Nimoy.
Another hit home loss now that I live in Chicago, is the Blues Brother, John Belushi. Belushi grew up just west of where I am currently residing and writing this article, in Humboldt Park outside of Chicago. Belushi was one of those burn bright and fast actors that came from the Comedy College we know as Saturday Night Live. When his time came, Belushi could out comedy anyone on set and with ridiculous antics, absolutely shine on SNL. His film career took off afterwards working very well in tandem with another great Dan Akroyd, especially in one of his titular roles as Jake Blue, as well as his key role in Animal House. Belushi lived for rock and roll and making people laugh. He was even said to have been working on a role in the original Ghostbusters alongside Akroyd once again, which I’m sure would have been an ever lasting character, no doubt.
Speaking of Ghostbusters, one of my favorite movies of all time, the world took Egon Spengler from us far too soon, just two years ago. Harold Ramis was not just a phenomenal actor, but his writing and directing work is immortalized in films such as Caddyshack, Groundhog Day, and of course Animal House. When I heard the Ghostbusters franchise was getting a reboot, and the original cast planned on making cameos, I shed a tear for not being able to see Ramis once again, however in on of the opening scenes in the college, there is a brief easter egg bronze bust of Harold Ramis in the background. He made me want to be a strap on a proton pack and be a Ghostbuster and he is missed.
ROAD HOUSE! Patrick Swayze grew up in Houston and was a singer and dancer leading up to his spur in the acting fields. How many millennials here had to read The Outsiders in middle school? I know for a fucking fact if you went to school with me you sure as hell did. Well Swayze made his big break in the film adaptation of The Outsiders as Darry. He was then cast in Red Dawn, Dirty Dancing, Ghost, and most importantly in my opinion, ROAD HOUSE. James Dalton, the baddest, hottest bouncer to ever grace Missouri was spin kicking bad guys left and right and flooding movies theaters all over the world. I can only imagine the amount of money Swayze had to donate to theaters to replace sopping wet seats. Sorry, fangirled right there. Anyway, Swayze is one of those lost actors who is still brought up in TV today, specifically the incredible amounts of tributes Family Guy throws out in his favor. I’m in the radiation oncology field so it always hurts to know we lost him to pancreatic cancer, but strangely enough, Ben Gazzara, who played Brad Wesley, the main antagonist in ROAD HOUSE also died of pancreatic cancer just 3 years after Swayze. ROAD HOUSE!
This one really might not come as a surprise to anyone, but to me one of the greatest losses to film and comedy more specifically is Chris Farley. This is one of those rare cases of, if you know Farley was in it you knew it was going to be funny. He began his comedy career in Wisconsin and soon took off to Chicago where he later joined the SNL cast alongside Chris Rock. He was THAT guy on SNL that everyone loved, and I don’t care who you were then or now, if you watched it at the time or even now, you can;t argue his importance and stage presence. Farley had some of the most memorable SNL characters and skits that hold so strong almost 30 years later. I also recently watched the documentary I Am Chris Farley in which his family and friends talk about his life and how much of an absolutely amazing and selfless person he was. It was a real tear jerker, but I implore you to watch it.
I just wanted to thank everyone for reading this one. I know it’s not our typical type of article, but these actors have given us so much over their years I felt the need to give a small tribute back. There is so much talent lost in cinema and I may bring this topic up again in the future. For now I tip my cap to Spock, Jake Blue, Egon Spangler, Dalton, Matt Foley, and the wonderful actors that portrayed them helping to drive my desire to be doing this crazy website shit today. Rest In Peace