There’s only a handful of truly talented actors and directors that we can think about. Phil (as people call him) was a passionate workaholic that always looked for the ‘truth’ in his work. His mission was to create reality of whatever dramatic project he was involved with. Besides an entertaining soul, he was also inspiring in many ways, his words to describe life and his struggles with life is so well thought out and simple, “I had insecurities and fears like everybody does, and I got over it. But I was interested in the parts of me that struggled with those things.” I am truly, personally sad to see him leave us so soon.
For quite a while, I thought he was related to Matt Damon who calls him ‘a beautiful person’. News of his death shocked the entire industry. He enjoyed every aspect of his career both in acting and directing and you can clearly see it through his work. A disciplined man, he was just like you and me, very approachable but also very private. He has only achieved his success by focusing on creating what he thought was the best that reality can be portrayed through film. Phil was respected on his commitment for his work, “I think you should be serious about what you do because this is it. This is the only life you’ve got.” Jeffery Horowitz, his best friend said, ‘He was a regular guy who wanted to be a regular guy’, he had genuine interest in people and talent. He never took a role just for a pay check, he was a private man that acted for the art of acting rather than for the fame. With over 50 movies and 20 nominated roles on Broadway, I thought that as he got older, his acting and directing will keep surpassing the last work he did making it finer than the last.
Through observation and as more info on this incident is released, I’m starting to believe that this man deliberately took his own life due to severe depression. I can see a strange similarity between him and a friend of mine that I lost 2 weeks ago. Both men were highly successful, highly intelligent (you would think intelligence would interfere in overdosing on harmful substances?), disciplined, loved by many, approachable, kind and all the wonderful things you can think of. Separation from your wife and drug abuse can naturally have an impact on your rationality. But then we all know that the chemical imbalance in the brain caused by abusive drugs always win in the end over your own intelligence and sense of control. Depressed people normally show the opposite of what they feel and somehow try to bring happiness to people around them while fighting pain in their own mind. His family will suffer, surely the most. If you think a friend or family is depressed, don’t be shy to ask them if they need to talk..
I sometimes wish I had met him in person for a coffee or a drink. But on missed opportunities, he said “In life, do you ever really know if you’re missing an opportunity? No, you really don’t.”. His realistic, matter of fact wisdom and character forever inspires me and will always be remembered.