Academy mascot found dead in Hollywood
|Coroner's officials remove body of Hollywood icon from his home.|
The cause of death is still under investigation, but foul play “has been ruled out” said county coroner investigative officer Ramon Navarro. “He was beloved but, still, we have to check out every angle,” Navarro said. “Not everyone was happy with him.”
“We’re still in shock at today’s news,” said Cheryl Boone Isaacs, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. “Oscar was pure gold—a loyal, straight up guy in a business not known for those traits. He’ll be sorely missed.”
“I’m devastated,” said Academy Award winner Meryl Streep. “He was a mensch. We all thought he’d be around forever. He never seemed to age.”
“I just saw him two weeks ago and he seemed tired—like ‘fed up’ tired,” said longtime friend Jodie Foster. “He said a few things about the movies and lawyers and cable TV that I didn’t quite get. He was especially bitter about digital. It was just the usual ‘cranky Oscar’ stuff, you know? I gave him a ride home and didn’t think anything of it.”
Oscar became a mainstay during Hollywood’s “Golden Age,” often seen in the company of luminaries with names such as Gable, Huston, Cagney, Bogart, Ford, Peck, and Poitier as well as more contemporary stars like Tom Hanks, Jack Nicholson, Dustin Hoffman, and Al Pacino.
In the early 1970s, he head-butted George C. Scott who, after a night of drinking, called Oscar “washed up, a tin god,” said Ed Maven, a longtime bartender at the Formosa Café in West Hollywood, once a popular watering hole for Hollywood’s elite. “If he could’ve raised one of those arms, he would’ve put George in Cedars,” Maven said.
|Oscar at after-partywith activist Sacheen Littlefeather, who |
accepted Best Actor award for Marlon Brando, 1973.
A changing Hollywood put the kibosh on Oscar’s mood for socializing. In a 2011 interview with the Hollywood Reporter, he railed about a “lack of class” and actors showing up at premiers “dressed like their ten-year-old sons.”
“He’d been down for a long time," said director Steven Spielberg. "He said people would stop him on the street and ask him if he’d ‘had work done’ because he always looked so buff and smooth. Or they’d call him ‘C3PO’ and asking him to say things in that voice. It pissed him off at first, but he started to internalize it. Even Oscar had his pride.”
|Oscar awaits his entrance at the 83rd Academy Awards|
show in 2011, Kodak Theatre, Hollywood [Getty Images]
“Dad was always so proud of his position in Hollywood,” his daughter Annie said in a phone interview. “But he was frustrated that no one saw him for himself. He used to love to say, ‘Always a bridesmaid,’ but we didn’t know how his lack of recognition as a person really affected him.”
Services are pending, though a memorial at The Ivy is being organized by close friends.