Yesterday I found out, that a former acting coach of mine had died suddenly about eight years ago.
He was somewhat famous and out of respect to his family, I'm not going to mention his name here. Officially, his death is listed as a heart attack, but there are rumors on websites and on message boards on the IMDB that he actually committed suicide.
The class was held at an acting studio here in NYC. I remember I had to audition for the class. I took the class in part because I was familiar with his work and had respected it. I'm sorry to say the class was a dissapointment. Overall he was profesional. He always showed up on time, and was very organized. Unfortunately, there was a strong under current of bitterness that came through in his teaching.
His career was not stellar but far better than most actors I know. He had a major role on a few soap operas, appeared on television shows and did a lot of national television commercials. (Had even won an Emmy at one point) But I suppose he wasn't happy or satisfied with his acting career as it stood. He frequently commented that his old friends from the show he worked on back in the 80's no longer called him. It seemed like in every class he would remind us how cold and uncaring the acting world could be.
It was because of this negativity that I never took another class with him. I would sometimes see him on television shows for a year or two after. I realized a few days ago that I hadn't seen him in anything lately, and looked him up on the IMDB and learned of his death. I haven't been able to get him out of my mind for the last twenty-four hours.
I hope the suicide rumors are just that, rumors. In spite of the gloom in his attitude, I could tell that there was a light inside him. If he could just tap into that light he would be a happier man. If only he didn't measure his self worth by how much employment he could get as an actor. I know that he was a good man. A beautiful man with a lot to live for and a lot to give.
Right before I was diagnosed with stage III breast cancer in 2007, in the midst of doctors appointments and scans to just confirm what we all knew was the truth, I remember sitting on the subway platform at Sheepshead Bay waiting for the B train, I looked up to the sky and watched the wind blow through the trees, and felt the warm breeze. It's a simple pleasure, and sounds very corny as I type it out (I almost deleted it). I remember thinking that such simple pleasures are taken for granted. I remember thinking at the time "enjoy this now" and "why have you not appreciated this simple pleasure before". But at the time, I didn't think I would be around for much longer.
I'm still here, and I try to remember to go outside and look at the sky, smell the breeze and appreciate the little things. I try to remind myself that it doesn't matter that I'm not where I wanted to be in my life at this moment, it's good to be alive. Now that I've gotten back to the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it's easy to forget.
It seems that my acting coach forgot this back in 2004. I am so sorry to hear that. May he rest in peace.