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Actors Who Performed During Their Darkest Days


We all know how tough it can be to get through
a standard work day when we’re dealing with tough personal circumstances. Many of your favorite actors may have dealt
with dark nights of the soul while still showing up to work every day, only in their cases,
the record is there for all to see. Since 2009, Reid Ewing has appeared on the
ABC sitcom Modern Family as Haley’s boyfriend Dylan. He landed the role at 21, when he was struggling
with what he now knows to be a body dysmorphia disorder. Since his early teens, the handsome actor
hasn’t been able to look in a mirror without seeing a horribly ugly person staring back. Ewing had his first plastic surgery at the
age of 19. More procedures followed, each one causing
a new perceived problem that he felt could only be fixed by more surgery. He eventually sought help after experiencing
suicidal depression in 2012. With the aid of therapy and medication, he’s
come to understand his disorder while working as an advocate for those suffering from it. “And I remember looking at that photo, and
that was the moment where I said I had to get, you know, cosmetic surgery because, like,
no one was allowed to be that ugly.” Irish actor Devon Murray had the luck, or
perhaps misfortune, of beginning his career with a role in one of the most beloved film
franchises of all time. At 11 years old, he was cast as Seamus Finnegan
in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, a role he’d reprise in all eight films in
the series. This might seem like a dream gig, but the
prolonged periods of separation from his friends and family in Ireland eventually took a toll
on the young star. In an interview with Irish National Broadcaster
RTE, Murray elaborated: “It was my 16th birthday and I was staying
in this fantastic hotel suite over in London and my room was full of presents from everybody
and I should have been happy but I wasn’t.” Murray struggled with depression, and he very
nearly committed suicide in early 2016. He sought help at the urging of family, and
has since spoken publicly about his experiences. Team America: World Police is perhaps Trey
Parker and Matt Stone’s greatest film, a hilarious satire of both action movies and American
foreign policy. It’s a pretty remarkable achievement, especially
considering that it nearly destroyed the lives and partnership of its creators. Stone famously vowed to never make another
movie with puppets or Parker again, so toxic was their working relationship on the film. South Park is still going strong over a decade
later, but Stone has remained true to his word. The duo have never made another film together,
and even though the world is just screaming for a Team America sequel right about now,
it’s unlikely in the extreme that we’ll get one. The fatal overdose of River Phoenix in 1993
instantly cut short what was almost certain to be a long and important acting career. The 23-year old was the definition of a hot
rising star, not to mention a prodigally gifted actor, and few of his friends were hit harder
than Keanu Reeves. Reeves, who had been close friends with Phoenix
for years and co-starred with him in My Own Private Idaho, was at work on the set of Speed
when he received the news. Phoenix had developed his lethal drug addiction
during the filming of Private Idaho, a role Reeves had persuaded him to take. The production of Speed was nearly shut down
completely. But it restarted after a short break, with
cast and crew giving Reeves plenty of space and consideration as he dealt with his grief. The filming of Francis Ford Coppola’s 1979
Vietnam War masterpiece Apocalypse Now was legendarily taxing on everybody involved. Coppola pushed cast and crew alike to their
absolute limits, none more so than star Martin Sheen. For one infamous scene in a hotel room early
in the film, Sheen was kept drunk for two days while being goaded mercilessly by Coppola. The actor became sick and lost weight, and
during a break from filming, he openly admitted to friends that he wasn’t sure if he’d survive
the shoot. He finished the film having had a heart attack
and a nervous breakdown, and at one point he was so ill that a local priest administered
last rites. The late, great Robin Williams is a case study
in how the funniest and most engaging people can still struggle with serious physical and
mental health issues. The actor dealt with depression for much of
his career while working constantly, and he ended his own life in 2014 at the age of 63
after a prolonged battle with a degenerative brain disorder called Lewy’s body dementia. It’s likely that evidence of Williams’ struggles
could be found in a great deal of his body of work, but one example late in his career
stands out. Released the year of his death, The Angriest
Man in Brooklyn tells the story of a perpetually raging New Yorker given 90 minutes to live
after a brain aneurysm. At one point, he goes on an extended rant
about the meaninglessness and injustice of life, and cinematographer John Bailey was
taken aback while filming the scene. He called the performance a glimpse into the
“Swiftian darkness of Robin’s heart,” and went so far as to call it his defining role. If you’re struggling with suicidal thoughts,
please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

100 Comments

  1. MrProofMan Author

    You got that Matt and Trey thing so wrong. They vowed to never make another PUPPET movie, nothing about working together. They're one of the tightest partnerships in Hollywood and have said multiple times they'd like to do another film.

    Reply
  2. BrightNeonBrilliancy Author

    Wanted to see Vanessa Hudgens on this list. Performing live the day after your father's death? Damn. And she was one of the best parts of the show!

    Reply
  3. Wisty Boy Author

    If you have been affected by any of the issues mentioned in this video, please consider buying some Looper branded merchandise….We have a stylish collection of Branded T-Shirts, Sweatshirts and ties…

    Reply
  4. Joey Author

    No! Robin Williams suffered from bitc* ass ex-wives being able to bleed him dry!
    His drinking and depression was to much heavy a burden for them to handle, but walking out of the courtroom with suitcases of his money wasn't to much heavy a burden for them to handle.

    Reply
  5. Titanic Truths Author

    Thr angriest man in Brooklyn is one of the (if not the) hardest Robin Williams movie to watch. I have it, and it is painful to see his story arc in the film. And when he reads the dates on his own tombstone, and they are the real dates of his birth and death. The first time i watched it, i almost shut it off right there.

    But i do want to say, robins death wasnt truly suicide as the media made it out to be. It was actually a bit more twisted, and actually mirrored another one of his films. His death was featired in the Premier episode of celebrity autopsy (i think thats the name). The examiner who did robins autopsy said that there had been a cloth around the belt to protext his throat. A sign autoerotic asphyxiation. Something his on screen son died of in the film worlds greatest dad. Its a lesser known film, if you havent seen it i recommend watching it. His son is played by the kid from spykids. And what he does to try and hide the death and give his son some dignity makes for one hell of a story. And its got an ending you would NOT expext from Robin Williams.

    Reply
  6. Parade The Gospel Author

    Please wash the free short film the exit movie. its on YouTube just search for it. Very powerful and the covers the topic of depression and suicide. 39 minutes. Towards the end it's very powerful

    Reply
  7. earlene wallace Author

    I've dealt with depression most of my adult life. Someone once said that trying to say what it's like to suffer from it is like trying to explain what the taste of water is like. Robin Williams and the others on this list who suffered and still suffer from an mental health issue that can completely debilitate you, were and are brave to share their struggles because even in this day and age, mental health problems are still looked upon as a sign of weakness.

    Reply
  8. Shantéwokon Author

    Every time a beloved actor or television personality I respect deeply for living with depression and suicidal thoughts dies from it I feel broken. Just keep on for as long as you can in the end it’s all we can do.

    Reply
  9. Jordan Felix Author

    The Devon Murray inclusion made no sense since his considered suicide happened 5 years after the last Harry Potter Film. And are you honestly saying that staying in a fancy hotel surrounded by presents but missing your friends is something so horribly, terribly dark and depressing…?

    Reply
  10. Jeffrey Elya Author

    Actors and celeberties are very much human. There are hundreds of people, even thousands who have suffered with depression and suicidal thoughts. What people need to hear from friends and family is 'they are not alone'. That's great that you guys put a hotline at the end of the video. There's one big looming factor to everyone who has survived suicidal thoughts and ideas, it is going to stay with them the rest of their lives.

    Reply
  11. Connor Urwin Author

    Your message at the end should say "for people in America". Someone calling the lifeline and no one picking up could be the last straw for them.

    Reply
  12. phoenixfriend Author

    Wow, I didn't even know about Devon Murray and I'm a big Potter fan. Also, poor Martin Sheen. I understand that actors have to do some taxing things sometimes but putting your own or someone else's health on the line for the sake of 'art' (or money) is not right.

    Reply
  13. Crofregernish Author

    Don't forget Dame Maggie Smith 😊 She continued to film Harry Potter while she battled breast cancer. She said she didn't want to disappoint fans.

    Reply
  14. Vousie V Author

    The bit about Apocalypse Now & Martin Sheen… That's not "film making". That's just plain *abuse*. People need to stop celebrating filmmakers' abusive tactics just because the end result is good. In my opinion, that movie and others like it should be pulled off the shelves (and really, never have been released in the first place) because this only rewards filmmakers who use these tactics.

    Edit: Just came back to this comment and realised: Don't they actually do that for animals – stop the movie from being released at all if the filmmakers abused animals to get what they wanted?

    Reply
  15. Charlie Louise Author

    Mara Wilson’s mother died of cancer during the filming of Matilda

    Director Danny Devito asked her if she wanted to stop filming, but she said no

    Reply
  16. Rolling Ormond Author

    Poor bastards, getting paid thousands of dollars a day for brief moments of action between long waiting periods of sitting around while most of the world is stocking shelfs in a Wal-Mart for the rest of their lives. A crying shame.

    Reply
  17. Sk3tchen Author

    Don't think too much of the life they didn't get to live but of the days that they pushed through when they wanted to end it and their bravery. Robin Williams' roles and comedy was such a huge part of my life, as were understanding his troubles akin to mine. He decided to leave this world and I still admire him for fighting to make us laugh and hope he finally has some peace now

    Reply
  18. Anja Author

    I think its horrible how you can know a person so good.
    I had a brother, only 6 people know.
    Maybe we should leave the people alone.
    Awesome what they did, but to personal for public.

    Reply
  19. Allan Thormod Sander Frederiksen Author

    Shelley Duvall, in The Shining? She suffered mental breakdown while filming… something that has affected her throughout her life.

    Reply
  20. Adarcus Author

    Jackie Chan literally shut down production on a movie when he discovered that his Chinese Opera Master had died. Production had to completely closed for a week so that he could attend the funeral.

    Reply
  21. Netherwolf6100 Author

    That's the thing, a lot of times people forget that our favorite celebrities are still human just like the rest of us. They feel stress, pain, loneliness and discomfort yet like the rest of us they deal with it when they can and how they can. Its a shame that the masses prop celebs up on these pedestals as if they're gods and we forget that they have problems too.

    Reply
  22. Game Changer Author

    Really cool that they added the national suicide hotline phone number at the end of the video. God bless these beautiful people who's life's were cut short.

    Reply
  23. Jude Samson Author

    Martin Sheen punched the mirror and it cut him for real. The blood and his reaction are all completely unscripted because it's completely real.

    Reply
  24. elblondie69 falconer Author

    It's been tough through the festive period watching so many films with Robin Williams in them.
    I feel so sad knowing what he went through and how his life ended.
    Bless him .

    Reply
  25. Kitty Viveen Author

    Poor Robin Williams. Try to make the world laugh, while you feel dead inside. He did that to survive himself. Until he couldn't do it anymore. Respect for you, Robin.

    Reply
  26. Trajen Author

    Body Dysmorphia aka vanity and being rich enough to afford plastic surgery at 21. Why is this a “dark time”? It’s more like an entitled, 1%, stupid time.

    Reply

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