Death of Tom Sizemore: Actor suffered brain aneurysm

Actor Tom Sizemore, best known for his work in films such as Saving Private Ryan, True Romance and Black Hawk Down, has died at the age of 61 after suffering a brain aneurysm.

Sizemore died at a Burbank hospital on Friday, according to his manager Charles Lago. The actor was taken to the intensive care unit at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center in Burbank on February 18, where he was in critical condition and in a coma.

Earlier this week, Lago released a statement on behalf of the “Heat” actor’s loved ones: “Doctors have informed his family that there is no hope and have recommended an end-of-life decision.”

Lago said in a statement that Sizemore “passed peacefully asleep in his sleep … at St. Joseph’s Hospital Burbank.” His brother Paul and twins Jayden and Jagger were by his side.”

In 1998, Sizemore starred opposite Tom Hanks and Matt Damon in Steven Spielberg’s Oscar-winning World War II drama Saving Private Ryan. Sizemore portrayed Captain Miller’s (Hanks) right-hand man, Sgt. Mike Horvath, a loyal and courageous soldier who provides the film’s coverline and keeps memorabilia from every military tour he has completed.

Sizemore accepted Horvath’s career-changing role on a whim. He was about to start filming Terrence Malick’s The Thin Red Line in Australia when Spielberg called and asked him, “Do you want to go to Australia with Terry Malick, or come to the UK and Ireland with me and Tom Hanks?”

“I told him I wanted to go to the UK and Ireland,” he said in 2018.

“It was a groundbreaking experience for me because it was like being invited behind the curtain of Oz. Steven and his crew worked at a completely different level than I had ever experienced,” he added, “the scope of his vision, the attention to detail was beyond anything I had ever dreamed of.”

Tom Sizemore in 2014.

(Jordan Strauss/Associated Press)

Born on November 29, 1961, Thomas Edward Sizemore Jr. grew up in Detroit. His father was a lawyer and professor, and his mother was the city’s Ombudsman.

“I was a tough kid,” Sizemore recalled in 1995. “I don’t hit people anymore.”

Eventually, Sizemore’s family moved to the suburbs until his father divorced and the children returned to Detroit with their mother. At the age of 16, Sizemore “wanted to get on with his life”.

“I knew I wanted to be an actor,” he told The Times in 1995. “I wanted to get out of Detroit.”

After attending Wayne State University, Sizemore earned a master’s degree in theater from Temple University and moved to New York City to pursue acting. His first breakthrough came when Oliver Stone cast him for a small role in Born on the Fourth of July.

Sizemore played tough roles in films like Natural Born Killers, Wyatt Earp, and Heat in the 1990s, and later had a recurring role in the television series China Beach. In 2000, he received a Golden Globe nomination for his starring role as a former gangster on the run in the TV movie Witness Protection. He also had a starring role in the high-profile military drama Black Hawk Down.

Outside of his film and television work, Sizemore also dabbled in theatre. In 2011, he hosted a private reading of his one-man show I Am Not Sam at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles, which explored his multiracial identity. During the performance, he took on the voice of his black grandfather, who warned him never to reveal his multiracial heritage if he wants to make it in Hollywood.

“I hate this stuff,” Sizemore said as people gathered to congratulate him after the reading. “I’ll be leaving in a second.”

Sizemore has accumulated more than 200 acting credits in films, video games, theater and television. His last role was as a doctor in the 2022 comedy series Barbee Rehab.

Throughout his career, Sizemore has often made the headlines for his run-ins with law enforcement. In 2003 he was sentenced to 17 months in prison for abusing his girlfriend Heidi Fleiss.

During his trial, Sizemore’s lawyers disputed Fleiss’ claims and accused her of attempting to blackmail him. He was found guilty of domestic violence, criminal threats and harassing phone calls.

He was also arrested once on suspicion of assaulting another girlfriend in downtown LA and twice on suspicion of assaulting a former spouse. Additionally, he was previously jailed on suspicion of transporting or selling a controlled substance, and he pleaded no use of methamphetamine outside of a Bakersfield motel in 2006.

Sizemore has been open about his struggles with drug addiction — once even volunteering to detox on national television by participating in a season of VH1 reality series Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew” participated.

Appearing on Larry King Live in 2010, Sizemore told the late TV host that he became addicted to cocaine after first using the drug with “a famous actor” as his Hollywood dreams began to be fulfilled. He also struggled with addictions to heroin and crystal meth.

“If I hadn’t done it, there was nothing I could do. I couldn’t get out of bed,” Sizemore told King. “But I didn’t enjoy it and it ruined my career. … I’m an actor. I’ve been acting for 30 years and I don’t do it anymore. I had no money. … I was pretty hopeless.”

In 2011, Sizemore announced that he would write a book about his “substance abuse” experiences. In 2013 he published his memoir By Some Miracle I Made It Out of There.

“The fact that I’m now over two years sober — and that I’m acting as much as before — proves that people can overcome obstacles, even when they’re sure they can’t,” Sizemore said before the book release.

Sizemore is survived by his 17-year-old twin sons, Jagger and Jayden.

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