Tom Sizemore, Saving Private Ryan and Heat Actor, Dead at 61
“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,” Sizemore’s manager, Charles Lago, announced on Friday (March 3rd).
Sizemore was hospitalized on February 18th after collapsing at his home in Los Angeles. Lago later confirmed that the actor suffered a brain aneurysm and was in a coma. On February 27th, doctors informed Sizemore’s family that there was “no further hope” and recommended an end of life decision..
The Detroit native was born on November 29th, 1961 and he remained in the city until graduating from Wayne State University with a bachelor’s degree in theatre. He continued his studies at Temple University in Philadelphia and achieved a master’s in theatre before moving to New York where he landed his first major role in 1989 in Oliver Stone’s Born on the Fourth of July.
Sizemore gained steam as a supporting player in early ’90s action thrillers like Point Break, True Romance, and Natural Born Killers while garnering critical acclaim for roles in 1993’s Hearts and Souls and 1994’s Wyatt Earp. The actor had a breakthrough year in 1995 when he delivered career performances opposite Denzel Washington in the neo-noir drama Devil in a Blue Dress and Robert De Niro in Michael Mann’s L.A. heist classic, Heat. The latter features one of Sizemore’s most famous line readings when his criminal lieutenant character agrees to a risky mission with De Niro’s master thief because for him, “the action is the juice.”
Following his first lead role in 1997’s The Relic, Sizemore ascended to his biggest stage yet as Sergeant Mike Horvath in Steven Spielberg’s WWII epic, Saving Private Ryan. As the cantankerous second-in-command, Sizemore marched alongside Tom Hanks, delivered the monologue that became the film’s namesake, and also threw his helmet at a Nazi soldier.
He returned to the battlefield in 2001 for both Ridley Scott’s Black Hawk Down and Michael Bay’s Pearl Harbor, and continued to serve as an action movie heavy and reliably unhinged antagonist in films like Ticker, Splinter, and Martin Scorsese’s Bringing Out the Dead. Despite a prolific output in the later-aughts, his most recent, notable credits appeared on television with Ryan Phillippe-led Shooter adaptation and a recurring role on David Lynch’s Twin Peaks: The Return.
Sizemore battled with substance abuse and incurred several legal controversies throughout his career, and his struggles were at-times documented on-camera as he turned to reality television for sobriety. The 2007 VH1 series, Shooting Sizemore, followed the actor as he aimed to overcome his addiction, and he later returned to the network in 2010 to seek treatment on Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew.