Who Was Verne Troyer?
Born on January 1, 1969, in Sturgis, Michigan, actor Verne Troyer started out as a stunt man. He first worked on the 1994 film Baby's Day Out, later appearing in Dunston Checks In (1996) and Mighty Joe Young (1998). In 1999, Troyer became famous for playing Mini-Me in the comedy Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, starring Mike Myers. He reprised the role for the 2002 film Austin Powers in Goldmember. Troyer appeared on the reality series The Surreal Life in 2003 and competed on Celebrity Big Brother in 2009. He died on April 21, 2018, at age 49.
Verne J. Troyer was born on January 1, 1969, in Sturgis, Michigan, and grew up in the small town of Centreville. He is one of three children born to Susan and Reuben Troyer. Verne Troyer was only a baby when he was diagnosed with dwarfism. Rather than be discouraged by his smaller stature, Troyer used it to his advantage during his school years. "There were a lot of times I'd hide in my locker and jump out and surprise people," he later told People magazine.
After graduating from high school in 1987, Troyer eventually discovered performing. He landed his first film job in 1993, working as a stunt double for a baby in Baby's Day Out (1994), starring Joe Pantoliano, Lara Flynn Boyle and Joe Mantegna. Troyer continued to do more stunt work over the next few years, often appearing in costume as animals. In Dunston Checks In (1996), he played an orangutan; in Mighty Joe Young (1998), he appeared as a baby gorilla.
With 1999's Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, Troyer quickly went from stunt man to movie star. Audiences loved his character, Mini-Me, the evil sidekick to the fiendish criminal mastermind Dr. Evil. (Mike Myers plays several roles in the film, including the title character and Dr. Evil.) Mini-Me proved to be so popular that dolls were made with Troyer's likeness—a true sign of pop-culture status.
His success with Austin Powers opened new doors for Troyer, who went on to land parts in such films as How the Grinch Stole Christmas, starring Jim Carrey, and Bubble Boy, starring Jake Gyllenhaal. He also appeared as Griphook the Goblin in the blockbuster hit Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001).
In 2002, Troyer reprised his role as Mini-Me for Austin Powers in Goldmember, the third installment of the popular spy spoof series. He also landed a number of guest appearances on television, appearing on such shows as the teen comedy Sabrina, the Teenage Witch and the educational drama Boston Public. Additionally, the actor became a reality-show personality, allowing cameras to film him living in a house with other celebrities on The Surreal Life.
While he continued to work over the next few years, Troyer was unable to recapture his earlier success on the big screen. He appeared in the commercial and critical flop Postal in 2007, and even reteaming with Mike Myers for The Love Guru (2008) proved to be disappointing. Troyer went on to work on Terry Gilliam's The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2009), which became a troubled project after star Heath Ledger died before filming was completed. Other actors were brought in to finish the film, but the end result received less-than-stellar reviews and did little at the box office.
That same year, Troyer appeared on the British reality competition Celebrity Big Brother alongside rapper Coolio and LaToya Jackson. He went on to appear on other TV programs, including Celebrity House Hunting in 2012.
Troyer was briefly married to Genevieve Gallen in 2004; he had their union annulled after about a month. In 2008, Troyer was involved in a legal battle over a video of him being intimate with his former girlfriend, Ranae Shrider. That same year, he reached an out-of-court settlement with the adult video company that tried to sell the tape.
Troyer, who struggled with alcoholism for years, was hospitalized in early April 2018 after a friend called police to inform them that the actor was drunk and suicidal. He was treated for possible alcohol poisoning and reportedly placed on life support. Additionally, his family said he was baptized around that time.
On April 21, 2018, his family confirmed that Troyer had passed away. His death was ruled suicide by alcohol intoxication.
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