Sep 12, 2011

Spartacus Has Fallen: RIP Andy Whitfield

Over the course of my time in Los Angeles, I worked with, for and around a number of extremely talented actors.  Some were petulant and annoying, some were gracious and friendly.  Andy Whitefield was most definitely the latter.

Whitfield starred in the title role of the first season of the Starz hit series Spartacus: Blood and Sand.  His stoic and savage portrayal of the legendary gladiator generated a whole lot of buzz around town and Whitfield looked poised to breakout into stardom.  However, as they geared up to begin the show's second season, Andy was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma and was unable to meet the physical demands of the production.  Astoundingly, Starz agreed to turn the second season into a prequel season that followed a different character, rather than recasting Whitfield.  However, despite being in more than peak physical condition, (I think he was down to something crazy like 8% body fat during filming) he never fully recovered and eventually Liam McIntyre was brought on to take up the Spartacus mantle.

I worked for Andy Whitfield's agent over the course of a year, spanning the end of his time filming Spartacus  through the show's first season and Whitfield's eventual diagnosis.  Whenever I spoke to Andy, he was always full of a boundless energy and an excitement for the work he was doing.  When he came to Los Angeles for two weeks of meetings, he bounced all over town, happy to meet with whomever we could get him in a room with, and never once did he complain about what could only be called a grueling schedule.  Andy Whitfield was the very definition of classy and charming, with classic movie star looks and a genuinely kind soul.  His loss is nothing short of tragic, and I can't help but think of all the great performances we'll never get to see.

Andy Whitfield was 39 year old.

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