Death in Hollywood: Tom Sizemore, Troubled, Talented, Actor (“Saving Private Ryan”) Dies at 61

‘Saving Private Ryan,’ ‘Heat’ and ‘Natural Born Killers’ Actor, Dies at 61

The Detroit native, who had legal troubles and addiction issues, also stood out in ‘The Relic,’ ‘Strange Days’ and ‘Black Hawk Down.’

Tom Sizemore, actor who faced legal troubles and drug addiction during a career that saw him star as Sgt. Mike Horvath in Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan, and excelled in portraying cops, crooks and psychopaths, died Friday. He was 61.

Sizemore died at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center, his rep Charles Lago announced. The actor had suffered stroke and brain aneurism at his Los Angeles home on Feb. 18. When the doctors said there was no hope, family members made end-of-life decision.

“I am deeply saddened by the loss of my big brother Tom,” Paul Sizemore said in a statement. “He was larger than life. He has influenced my life more than anyone I know. He was talented, loving, giving and could keep you entertained endlessly with his wit and storytelling ability. I am devastated he is gone and will miss him always”

Sizemore’s résumé included lots of other notable films, Laurence Kasdan’s Wyatt Earp (1994), Carl Franklin’s Devil in a Blue Dress (1995), Scorsese’s Bringing Out the Dead (1999), Ridley Scott’s Black Hawk Down (2001) and Michael Bay’s Pearl Harbor (2001) among them.

In 2003, Sizemore was accused of molesting 11-year-old actress while filming Born Killers in Utah. He would deny those allegations when they were initially made public, calling them false and “so disturbing that I feel compelled to go against my legal team’s advice and speak out.”

He was allowed to return to the film for reshoots months later in Malibu. Following the allegations, producers confirmed that Sisemore had been dropped from some films.

In 2018, those allegations resurfaced after lawsuit seeking $3 million in damages against Sizemore over the alleged abuse was filed by the then-26-year-old actress who accused him of sexually assaulting her as a child on the Born Killers’ set.  Sizemore again denied the accusations, and in 2020, a Utah judge dismissed the suit.

Sizemore admitted that he had “battled substance abuse and related demons for years,” with several stays in rehab and drug possession charges in 2019 and 2007, which resulted in a 16-month prison sentence that was reduced to nine months. He spent time in solitary confinement in Chino State Prison.

Sizemore appeared in 2010-11 on Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew and its spinoff Sober House with his onetime partner, “Hollywood Madam” Heidi Fleiss. Sizemore had been convicted in 2003 of physically abusing her.

After the 2003 conviction, the actor was arrested on suspected battery in 2009 and 2011, In July 2016, he pleaded no contest to two misdemeanor charges of domestic abuse for assaulting his girlfriend. That resulted in 36 months of summary probation and protective orders associated with the charges.

Sizemore detailed much his ordeal in his 2016 memoir, By Some Miracle I Made It Out of There, along with his attempt to die by suicide.

The older of two sons, Thomas Edward Sizemore Jr. was born in Detroit on Nov. 29, 1961, and raised early on in Corktown, near Tiger Stadium. His father, Thomas Sr., was a corporate lawyer and his mother, Judith, worked for the city.

He said his dad and uncle took him to see the De Niro-starring Taxi Driver when he was 14, and the film convinced him to pursue acting as a career.

“There was something about the alienation and beauty of actors like Montgomery Clift, Brando, James Dean that captivated me,” he wrote in his memoir. “Still, it was more than reverence that I had for them; I somehow already identified with them and saw myself being at their level … My life had always felt heightened to a degree.”

Sizemore came to Los Angeles and landed small parts in the 1989 films Born on the Fourth of July — his first film with Stone — Lock UpRude Awakening and Penn & Teller Get Killed.

After recurring as romantic interest of Dana Delaney’s character on ABC’s China Beach in 1989-90 and appearing for Bigelow in Blue Steel (1990) and Point Break (1991), Sizemore portrayed gay serial killer in Where Sleeping Dogs Lie (1992) and cops in Tony Scott’s True Romance (1993) and Natural Born Killers (1994), both written by Tarantino.

Tom Sizemore OBIT
From left: Tom Sizemore, Edward Burns and Adam Goldberg in 1998’s ‘Saving Private Ryan.’ EVERETT

Playing Det. Jack Scagnetti in Natural Born Killers marked a turning point. “My first day shooting with Tommy Lee Jones, Oliver Stone came over to me and said, ‘Before we start today, I want to let you know that I’m making a table and I got three good legs and I need another leg, and you’re that leg. You’re not going to wobble, are you?’

“It didn’t instill a lot of confidence in me. I said, ‘I don’’’t have any intention to wobble.’ That was my introduction to the uncompromising way to make movies.”

De Niro staged intervention over Sizemore’s heroin use

Soon after finishing Heat, De Niro staged an intervention over Sizemore’s heroin use and arranged for him to enter rehab, in 1998.

He became leading man for the first time in the horror film The Relic, then sparkled as the heroic Horvath opposite Tom Hanks in Spielberg’s Oscar winning Saving Private Ryan (1998).

He reunited with Tony Scott with an uncredited role in Enemy of the State (1998), then worked on Play It to the Bone (1999), Red Planet (2001) and Stephen King’s Dreamcatcher (2003).

Sizemore continued to work on fewer high-profile projects, as his personal problems intensified.

He appeared on episodes of The Red RoadHawaii Five-0CSI: MiamiLaw & Order: SVUCobra Kai, Twin Peaks, Entourage, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Shooter and Lucifer and provided voice-overs for such games as Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and 24: The Game.

Sizemore wrote a 2007 episode of Head Case and appeared as himself on two installments of the Starz series, which centered on Dr. Elizabeth Goode, a therapist to Hollywood stars.

He has 230 acting credits on IMDb, plus another 33 credits in projects that have yet to be released.

Sizemore was married to Maeve Quinlan from 1996-99. Survivors include his children, twins Jayden and Jagger (born in 2005), with Janelle McIntire.