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)

Truth, Justice — All That Stuff

21-Apr-07 9:19 PM by
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Whether it's my Superman dogtag or my Superman keychain or the contents of my bookshelf or the films I show in my classroom, it's not hard to discern my admiration for Superman and his embodiments. So it was inevitable, despite any lack of affection for Ben Affleck, that I see Hollywoodland.

I knew only that this film dramatized the death of actor George Reeves, who played Superman on the 1950s television show that I grew up watching. I did not know how Hollywoodland would do so, or if it would do so tastefully. As it turns out, the film is structured to parallel George Reeves' life with that of a fictional private detective, played by a famous actor I'd never heard of, Adrien Brody. The movie opens with Reeves' death and follows Brody's investigation into same, but also alternates with following Reeves' life from years before he was cast as Superman. The movie thus also ends with his death.

It's that past tense half of the film that the producers claim to be historically accurate, and while Brody is nonexistent, the facts he reveals and personalities he encounters are supposed to be true as well. Brody starts the show as a quiet mumbling type (which ironically is the kind of actor his character criticizes), but as the movie develops, so does Brody. We learn more about how he struggles with love, family, and self-identity, much as Reeves did. Though Superman may be the subject of the film, Brody is the star.