Tom Sizemore, the talented but troubled actor who brought tough-guy bravado to films like Heat, Natural Born Killers and Saving Private Ryanhas died at the age of 61, Rolling stones confirmed.
The actor died on Friday after his family made the decision to take him off life support at a Los Angeles-based hospital.
“It is with great sadness and sorrow that I have to announce that actor Thomas Edward Sizemore (‘Tom Sizemore’) aged 61, passed away peacefully in his sleep today at St Joseph’s Hospital Burbank,” his manager Charles Lago said in a statement to Rolling stones. “His brother Paul and twin boys Jayden and Jagger were by his side.”
“I am deeply saddened by the loss of my big brother Tom,” said Paul Sizemore. “He was larger than life. He influenced my life more than anyone I know. He was talented, loving, giving and could keep you entertained to no end with his wit and storytelling. I am devastated that he is gone and will always miss him.”
The actor was found unconscious after suffering a brain aneurysm from a stroke at his home in Los Angeles in the early morning hours of February 19. He was transferred to Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center in Burbank after his collapse, where he remained in critical condition and in a coma under intensive care. On February 27, a representative confirmed that his family was “determining end-of-life issues” and that doctors stated there was no chance of recovery.
After a brief role in Oliver Stone’s 1989 anti-war film Born on the Fourth of JulySizemore seemingly exploded in Hollywood overnight: Within a year, he was appearing with Robert De Niro in Guilty on suspicionWillem Dafoe in Escape of the Intruderand playing the villain in the 1991 biker film Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man.
In the 1990s and the turn of the millennium alone, the Detroit-born actor and his unique, intimidating presence on the big screen were recruited by major directors such as Tony Scott (True romance, Enemy of the state), Steven Spielberg (Saving Private Ryan), Ridley Scott (Blackhawk down), Martin Scorsese (Bringing Out the Dead), Kathryn Bigelow (Blue steel, Point Break, strange days), Michael Mann (Heat) and Michael Bay (Pearl Harbor).
After establishing herself as a supporting role for the movie elite, Sizemore landed the lead role in the 1997 horror film Relicand portrayed both John Gotti and baseball great Pete Rose in the made-for-TV biopics Witness the mob and Congestion, respectively. The actor also notably voiced the character of Sonny Forelli in the 2002 cult video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.
But Sizemore’s substance abuse problems – he claimed to have been addicted to drugs since he was a teenager – would ultimately halt his promising career. The descent itself began in 2003, when he was convicted of domestic violence against his then-girlfriend, Hollywood madam Heidi Fleiss. Sizemore served seven months in prison and another four months in a drug rehabilitation center after repeatedly failing drug tests while on probation.
Sizemore’s drug problems with heroin and methamphetamine continued throughout the 2000s, with his attempts to end his addiction the focus of a 2007 docu-series Shooting Sizemore. Three years later, Sizemore would appear on the VH1 reality series Celebrity rehabilitation and Celebrity Rehab: Sober Housethe latter reunited him with Fleiss after her restraining order against him ended.
Over the past two decades, Sizemore appeared in dozens of direct-to-DVD movies, though in 2017 he was back in front of mainstream audiences thanks to roles in Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House and David Lynch’s Twin Peaks revival. However, that same year, Sizemore pleaded no contest to domestic abuse charges and was accused and sued of molesting an 11-year-old girl on a film set in 2003. The lawsuit was ultimately dismissed by a judge in 2020.
Despite his off-screen troubles, Sizemore’s co-stars often spoke glowingly of working with him; De Niro, his Heat co-star, even reportedly paid for one of the actor’s rehab stints. “He has that myth about him,” Sizemores The red road co-star Jason Momoa told Rolling stones in 2014. “He’s the sweetest guy. I had the best scenes with him. He is super supportive, constantly running lines and very approachable. He’s been through so much and he’s so open that he’s not afraid to fall flat on his face. He doesn’t stop pushing so it really helps you do what you need to do. He does it effortlessly and it’s really, really fun to be around.”
In 2013, Sizemore opened up about his personal struggles and his career in a memoir he called By some miracle I got it out of there. Lago, Sizemore’s manager, added that there will be a “private cremation service for the family with a larger celebration of life event planned in a few weeks.”