Tom Sizemore, after suffering a brain aneurysm on February 18 and remaining in a coma since, died on Friday at 61.
The actor was known for playing tough guy roles, and appeared in several films now considered classics, most famously Saving Private Ryan in 1998.
Starting in 1989, Sizemore appeared in small roles in Born on the Fourth of July, directed by Oliver Stone, then two early movies by Kathryn Bigelow, Point Break and Blue Steel. Slowly, Sizemore worked his way into increasingly larger roles in Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man, Passenger 57, True Romance, Natural Born Killers, and Devil In A Blue Dress.
Sizemore was born in Detroit and grew up watching movies with his mother. He was fascinated with Robert DeNiro’s role in Taxi Driver.
“I saw that movie every week for, like, two months when it was playing in the theater,” he said. “I saw it 11 weeks in a row. That’s when I first started thinking, ‘Whatever that is they’re doing up there, I want to be part of it. I want to do that.’ And I started to figure out how to become an actor.”
He eventually acted with his hero DeNiro in Heat.
But after a few more action flicks including Black Hawk Down and Pearl Harbor, life began to unravel for Sizemore.
He was convicted of assaulting his then-fiancée Heidi Fleiss, who had been known as the “Hollywood Madam,” in 2003. He was arrested multiple times for driving under the influence, possessing drugs and for domestic violence. And he allegedly behaved inappropriately with an 11-year-old girl on a film set, according to some cast and crew members, although the claim was dismissed in 2020.
He repeatedly tried to get clean, entering rehab nine times, and described his times of sobriety as his happiest.
By 2016, he was beginning to gain some respectability again, and appeared in streaming and TV shows Lucifer, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, the Twin Peaks reboot and Cobra Kai.