Tom Sizemore was an actor who life was almost as large and as intense as many of the roles he played on the big screen.
Born Thomas Edward Sizemore Jr in Detroit on 29th November 1961 to a lawyer father and a council employee mother he got his degree in the City’s University in 1983 gaining a Masters three years later. But it was 1989 that saw him make his TV debut in ‘Gideon Oliver’ and also alongside Stallone in ‘Lock Up’ and by the time they were released he had already shot roles in ‘Born of the Fourth of July’, and also the Jamie Lee Curtis film, ‘Blue Steel’. The work started coming thick and fast and though rarely the lead he would stand out in films ‘True Romance’, ‘Natural Born Killers’. Having already worked for Oliver Stone other A-list directors started casting him most notably Spielberg in, ‘Saving Private Ryan’ a role he took dropping out of director Terrence Malick’s long awaited comeback film ‘The Thin Red Line’ to do so. He was a magnetic on screen tough guy persona.
Blu-ray disc review of, ‘Lock Up’
Having grown fascinated with Robert De Niro’s role in ‘Taxi Driver’ he found himself working alongside him in Michael Mann’s superb heist thriller, ‘Heat’. He would go on to play notable roles in Ridley Scott’s ‘Black Hawk Down’ and Pearl Harbour for Michael Bay but by now his personal life was becoming increasingly troubled. Having married to actress Maeve Quinlan in 1996 they were divorcing by 1999.
In 2003 He was convicted of assaulting his then fiancé the alleged Hollywood Madam Heidi Fleiss and in subsequent years he would be arrested for drink driving, drug possession and further domestic violence incidents. His drug use was well known and he went into rehab on several occasions and his off screen life was becoming as notorious as the many tough guy roles he played on screen. He would claim that he had been addicted to drugs since he was a teenager and by 2003 his impressive career working alongside A list stars and directors was starting to falter. The drugs and convictions, for which he would on one occasion serve prison time, hindered a promising career and his issues with class A drugs hardly helped.
Blu-ray disc review of, ‘True Romance’
2005 saw him become a father to twin boys with Janelle McIntire but fatherhood didn’t settle him. And having lost his $7m mansion in 2007 by 2010 he was appearing in Celebrity Rehab TV show ironically alongside Heidi Fleiss after the restraining order she had taken out against him had ended. At one point even Robert De Niro himself had even paid for Sizemore to enter rehab in order to get him back on the straight and narrow.
And yet Tom Sizemore still kept working gradually appearing in better films although in 2017 there was even an allegation of him behaving inappropriately to an 11 year old girl on a film set though it was thrown out of court by a judge in 2020.
Cinema’s biggest battle scenes
On February 18th 2023 He was found unconscious at his home having had a stroke that caused a brain aneurysm and slipped into a coma and was put on life support but after appraisal doctors informed the family that there was little hope of him making a recovery and on 3rd March he died aged 61 years old. Sizemore’s brother Paul and his twin sons Jayden & Jagger, 17, were at his side when he died according to his manager.
Further obituaries : Raquel Welch
Interviews: we chat to Ian Ogilvy