Actor Matthew McGrory passes away.
This entry is deeply personal. Matt McGrory, star of Big Fish, The Devil's Rejects and Carnivale among others has passed away at the too early age of 32.
Why does it bother me so much? I didn't know Matt. I had even passed on the chance of speaking to him at the Chicago Flashback Weekend my reason being that I respected him so much that I didn't want to bother him.
I think it has to do with his constant and abiding presence in my imagination. When I was a small child I recieved a marvelous book called Very Special People by Frederick Drummond. The book details the careers and personal lives of famous Sideshow performers with a genuine rspect and admiration for the way they turned what could have been debilitating disabilties into a life of making other people happy and becoming conduits for the precious commodity of wonder that is always in such short supply.
Matt was NOT a circus performer to my knowledge although I first saw him on the Guinness Book of World Records televsion show- he had the world's biggest feet size 29 1/2 I believe. As I remember the piece ended with him stating that he wanted to be an actor. I thought what any middle aged man would think. "Nice kid, too bad he'll probably never get to realize his dream."
Then I saw him in a host of TV and film appearances. Big Fish, Malcolm in the Middle, The Devil's Reject's, Carnivale. Matt carried on the proud tradition of actors like Richard Kiel and Ted Cassidy by being a living breathing slap in the face to our societies paltry idea of "normal." He wasn't just some guy tall enough to play a giant- Matt played giants from the inside out.
I saw him at the table in Chicago in his wheelchair signing pictures clearly thrilled to be talking to fans, hanging out with with his castmates and enjoying the fruits that his talent, hard work and good nature had won him. Being an actor meant something to Matt, he was a geek at heart, a person who had made it and never lost sight of how wonderful that was in spite of his debiltating arthritis.
Thanks Matt for the reminder to go out and live our own dreams.