April 21, 2018, is a day that will forever live in infamy. It was on this day that Verne Troyer, the actor most famous for playing Mini-Me in the Austin Powers series passed on. It was after his passing that his final Instagram pictures popped up and they were heartbreaking.
Stepping Onto The Scene
When Verne was born in 1969, it was pretty obvious to doctors that he had achondroplasia, a condition known for causing dwarfism. At two feet eight inches, Verne was one of the shortest men on earth. However, this did not lead to his parents treating him differently. The accepted his condition.
Size Didn’t Matter
During a 2015 interview with The Guardian Vern talked about his height never being an issue. “I didn’t really think about my size until I got older, a few years before high school. I never got much trouble off other kids either, although there was one incident in third grade where a kid who was much taller than me called me the M-word [midget], which is very offensive. So without even thinking, I just jumped in the air and punched him in the nose. He never bothered me again.”
Verne Goes Hollywood
It was in the early 1990’s that Verne decided to try his luck in Hollywood. His career would get it’s feet off the ground when he was contacted to be in the 1994 film Baby’s Day Out. He would play a stunt double for one of the babies. Once he succeeded in this role, the phones began ringing and he was wanted for all sorts of bit roles. He could be seen in Jingle All The Way and Men In Black.
Verne’s Big Break
He would be hardly recognized in those earlier releases. What made him a star was his portrayal of Mini-Me in 1999’s Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me. Before the film’s release, it was shown to a test audience. They so loved Mini-Me, that Myers decided to reshoot a lot of the scenes and add him in. They also had plans to kill him off in the movies, but scrapped the idea and made room for him in Austin Powers: Gold Member, the third installment of the series.
Verne was not prepared for the fame he’d receive. It became the role that people would forever associate him with. In a 2016 interview with Oprah, Verne stated, “I had no idea how famous this character was going to be. Once we started rehearsal, Mike kept adding more parts.” Despite skyrocketing into popularity, he still took bit parts when offered.
Appearing In Harry Potter
Another one of his more notable films was Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. He portrayed a goblin named Griphook. In the titles to follow, the role would go to Warwick Davis, a fellow little person. Verne wasn’t bothered by losing the role. He would go on to acting opposite of Heath Ledger in The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. He would also get accepted to work on Celebrity Big Brother.
Struggling Behind The Scenes
While his life looked like it could only be a happy one, especially since brushing with fame, behind the scenes Verne was battling mental health issues and addition. In 2017 he was taken to the hospital for alcohol poisoning. TMZ stated, “Verne has struggled with substance issues for years … he almost passed in 2002 from alcohol poisoning and has gone to rehab multiple times,”
Returning To The Hospital
April 3, 2018, saw Verne again enter the hospital as a result of his substance and mental issues. TMZ was the first news outlet to report the bad news, “Police rushed to Verne Troyer’s home Monday night after getting a report the Austin Powers star was suicidal. We’re told cops and fire department paramedics responded, and Verne was transported to a hospital for possible alcohol poisoning.”
A Somber Message
It was on that same day, a somber message was left on Verne’s Instagram. It read, “Asking you to keep Verne in your thoughts and prayers. He’s getting the best care possible and is resting comfortably. Appreciate the support from family, friends, and fans around the world. We will keep you updated here.”
While most people assumed that Verne would make a full recovery, they quickly got a crushing update that the little man had succumbed to his condition. “It is with great sadness and incredibly heavy hearts to write that Verne passed away today,” Verne’s Instagram reported. The further stated that mental health is a serious matter and to take someone’s depression seriously.
Many stars left touching tributes to the actor on their Facebook and Twitter accounts. Amongst them were Carmen Electra, Vanilla Ice, and Marlee Matlin. Mike Myers, the man responsible for launching Verne into stardom left this touching message, “Verne was the consummate professional and a beacon of positivity for those of us who had the honor of working with him. It is a sad day, but I hope he is in a better place. He will be greatly missed.”
Opening Up About His Struggle
People were shocked upon learning the news of his personal sadness. Thousands upon thousands of people began scanning his Instagram pictures for a sign of sadness. Amidst the pictures, they only found ones where he looked really happy and fulfilled with his life. The whole cover-up of his sad emotions made everyone feel a lot sadder. Had he opened up to more people, he could have been helped.
Time In London
Before his unfortunate passing, Verne spent a good amount of time in London. It was a place that he had always loved and felt happy in. He took lots of charming pictures while there amongst the city’s landmarks. One of the more charming pictures was one in front of Big Ben. Here captioned it with, “Big Ben getting a facelift behind me.” The actor will surely be missed.
What fans found most upsetting was that if you look at his pictures, you would never be able to tell that this was a man struggling with mental woes by looking at his pictures. These were pictures that any friend or family member could have posted. Verne’s pictures from London were filled with messages from fans saying “rest in peace.”
Not So Uncommon
While fans felt blindsided by a very happy man’s sudden fall to his depression, this actually isn’t uncommon. Many times when some decided to end it all, nobody could see it coming, not even their closest friends and family members. When Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington suddenly left us all, his wife posted a video of him laughing with his family the day before and left a caption saying, “This is what depression looked like to us.”
The Dwarfism Community
Of all the people who were hit hard by Verne’s passing, the Dwarfism Community was hit the hardest. A few days after his passing, Rebekah Bailey, a disability advocate who also has dwarfism spoke with Men’s Health about the problem that plagues the Dwarfism Community. “Depression among the community is a pretty common thing,” she said.
During an interview with The Guardian, Eugene Grant touched further on the situation with the community. “Among those [people with dwarfism] who participated in academic research, more than a third reported experiencing mental health problems. Loneliness and isolation are not unusual. Over the years, several actors with dwarfism have done the unthinkable”
Looking Into His Demise
TMZ got a hold of his death certificate on April 30, 2018, and shared its contents with the audience. His family had him flown back to where his life started in Michigan. It was there that they cremated him and held a private service. Meanwhile, the death certificate that TMZ got their hands on gave little to know answers. List under the cause of his passing was the word “deferred.”
The Message Left Behind
While the story isn’t one of happiness, it does come with a much needed. It shows us that good and bad mental health is something that can’t be spotted by merely looking at someone. That was the message that Verne left behind on his Instagram. Dozens upon dozens of smiling photos held behind them a pain we couldn’t see. One memorial post read, “You never know what kind of battle someone is going through inside. Be kind to one another.”
The Message Left Behind
While he may have left us, he left behind a lot of material that will continue to make people laugh and smile for years and years to come. A lot of people don’t leave with a lasting impact left behind. Hopefully, people look at Verne’s story and decided to open up about anything that they might be feeling.