Andrew Koenig's Preventable Passing

26-Feb-10 11:57 AM by
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Andrew Koenig, actor and son of Walter Koenig (Star Trek's Chekov) and Judy Levitt, passed away this month from an apparent suicide.

Andrew KoenigMore than just the son of a star, Andrew had a diverse performance portfolio spanning decades, from Kirk Cameron's friend "Boner" on the television sitcom Growing Pains, to an appearance on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, to playing the villainous Joker in the acclaimed short Batman: Dead Enddescribed as "one of the ten most pivotal moments in fan film history." More recently, he appeared with his father in the independent film InAlienable, written by the senior Koenig, the pair's only collaboration.

Andrew also used his celebrity status for humanitarian causes. As described on Walter Koenig's site:

Andrew was an activist his entire life and was best known to those who knew and loved him as a compassionate, ethical man who lived according to his conscience. He was a vegan, active in environmental causes, and in animal and human rights and was quick to take an active role to help on a grass roots level. Most recently, he had been working on behalf of the people of Burma, and was arrested during the 2008 Rose Bowl parade for protesting American involvement in China's Olympics due to China's support of the Burma military regime.

I was first notified that Andrew was missing by an email to Star Trek: Of Gods and Men fans. I hoped for a happy resolution, but Andrew had been suffering from clinical depression, in which good decisions are hard to make. If Andrew could've understood how many friends and family cared for him and how hurt they are, he may not have chosen this permanent solution to a temporary problem.

Please do yourself and your loved ones a favor: know the signs of depression, and if you or someone you know needs help, call the Hopeline.

(Hat tips to Alyssa Milano and PostSecret)

Paul Newman's Own Way

30-Sep-08 5:06 PM by
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By now, we've all heard that Paul Newman passed away this weekend at age 83. Everyone has their own memories of this great actor; these are mine.

Paul NewmanMy own exposure to Mr. Newman's work is limited. The first I'd heard of him was when the pilot episode of Cheers dubbed Cool Hand Luke the "Sweatiest Movie Ever". Elsewhere, I'd hear that some men just get better with age — like Paul Newman. It wasn't until the 1994 film Nobody's Fool that I actually saw the 70-year-old actor, though I found this particular film forgettable.

Far more memorable were the classics for which he was best known, such as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and The Sting. For the past few years, I've heard reports that Mr. Newman wanted to collaborate one last time with Robert Redford, his sidekick from those films, but the timing and script never seemed right. I'm sorry he didn't get that chance to work again with his old friend.

Just as important as Mr. Newman's acting resume was his humanitarianism. His philanthropy involved more than donating a portion of proceeds from his salad dressing sales. He was also a political activist who donated generously of both his time and money. TIME, in commemorating the recently departed, put right in their headline that he was a "humanitarian and actor". The order of those titles is no accident.

I'll close this brief remembrance with the words of Bill Corbett: "It’s not a tragedy when an 83-year-old man dies, but it’s a mournful occasion for family, friends, and — where applicable — admirers. And it’s certainly an appropriate time to remember the life lived."