Off The Record
Tom Sizemore, The Star From ‘Saving Private Ryan’ Dead At 61
Tom Sizemore, who played tough guys in movies like “Saving Private Ryan,” passed away at the age of 61.
On February 18, Sizemore suffered a brain aneurysm that has left him in serious condition. His Hollywood success has long been marred by legal issues and addiction.
The actor lapsed into a coma and was taken to intensive care. A statement released on February 27 says that doctors told the family “there is no further hope” and encouraged them to make a decision to end the patient’s life.
The actor’s manager, Charles Lago, revealed in a statement to Variety that the family decided to turn off life support on March 3.
“It is with great sadness and sorrow 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,” Lago’s statement reads. “His brother Paul and twin boys Jayden and Jagger (17) were at his side.”
“I am deeply saddened by the loss of my big brother Tom,” his brother Paul Sizemore said in a statement, per Variety. “He was larger than life. He has influenced my life more than anyone I know. He was talented, loving, giving and could keep you entertained endlessly with his wit and storytelling ability. I am devastated he is gone and will miss him always.”
Sizemore’s birthday is November 29th, and he was born in Detroit. His Hollywood career began with bit parts in films like Born on the Fourth of July, Point Break, True Romance, and Natural Born Killers.
His career flourished even further with a supporting role in the critically acclaimed 1995 heist picture Heat and a reoccurring position on the TV series China Beach.
Sizemore played Sgt. Mike Horvath in Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan, a landmark film on World War Two.
In one iconic scene, Sgt. Horvath considers the possibility that “saving Private Ryan” was the “one decent thing” they accomplished during the war.
The film Saving Private Ryan earned the most money at the box office and was nominated for multiple Academy Awards. His performance was well-received and helped advance Sizemore’s career, but he did not win any prizes for it.
Other action and war films featured Sizemore, such as Pearl Harbor and Black Hawk Down. In addition, his voice was featured in the acclaimed computer game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.
Addiction and legal troubles
Unfortunately, Sizemore’s achievements were sometimes overshadowed by his lengthy history of substance abuse and legal problems. In an interview, the actor said that he had struggled with addiction ever since he was 15 years old.
“First I drank. People could tell if you were drunk, so then I was like, ‘Hey, look, let me find a drug where I feel comfortable in my own skin,’” he told the Associated Press. “But I did. I found a drug and it was called cocaine. I did it for a while. Then I found an even better drug and it was called heroin.”
Addiction was a major factor in Sizemore’s run-ins with the law. Sizemore’s ex-girlfriend Heidi Fleiss testified against him in 2003, and he was found guilty of domestic violence for punching her in the jaw.
After failing multiple drug tests while on probation, he was given a 7-month prison sentence in addition to his probation, rehabilitation, and anger management requirements.
While on probation for an earlier conviction, he was caught for meth possession in 2007. He was charged with assaulting his girlfriend in 2017, and he entered a no contest plea. In the same year, 2017, a woman accused Sizemore of sexually abusing her when she was 11 on set; Sizemore rejected the allegations and the lawsuit was eventually dropped. Sizemore was booked for a narcotics possession violation in 2019.
Rehab and later career
Sizemore has been transparent about his difficulties with substance abuse and staying sober throughout the years.
“I’ve been trying to get sober since 1991,” he told Fox News Digital in 2021. “It became really big news much later than that, but I was trying to stop. I’ve had a problem for a long time. I had periods, long periods, of sobriety and I would end up relapsing.”
Sizemore claims that his co-star from the film Heat, Robert DeNiro, convinced him to enter rehab by warning him he was “about to die” in his memoir published in 2016.
“I walked in to see my shrink and I walked in and there were all these people there… I sit down and Bob [De Niro] came in and goes, ‘OK. OK, now we can talk… Now you listen to me, I’m no psychiatrist… but you’re either going to go to rehab or go to prison — and in walks a cop”.
In 2010, Sizemore was a guest on the third season of Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew.
Despite his personal problems overshadowing his profession, actor Tom Sizemore continued to feature in dozens of films. He appeared often on Hawaii Five-0, Shooter, and the Twin Peaks revival in 2017.
Jagger and Jayden, Sizemore’s 17-year-old twin sons, are his only known surviving family members. Sizemore’s ex-girlfriend Janelle McIntire is their mother.
Tom Sizemore, you are now at peace. His outstanding acting in so many classic films will outlive his turbulent life.
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