« "...From The Killingtons" | Main | DO THE WRITE THING »

The Great Matt Myers

The first time I saw Matt Myers act, he put me on my ass.

I’m not talking about the first time we saw him in a movie, I mean we’ve seen Hairspray, we’ve seen Beverly Hills Cop 3, we’ve seen Moonstruck, but I mean see him perform, in person, was on a film my friend Calvin Hill was doing and it was called STREET LIFE. The plot to Street Life is Calvin Hill (who was also directing) was playing a depressed, down on his luck man, wandering around aimlessly in a Philadelphia park, and he runs into a homeless man, played by Matt Myers and they strike up a friendship. Let’s throw this out there, it was being filmed in Philadelphia’s LOVE PARK and we didn’t have any permits, I don’t think there was much of a budget. Matt Myers was in full character, and since we didn’t close off the Love Park (we didn’t have THAT kind of money, we’re not George Lucas) people were stopping in the middle of a take, they didn’t see the cameras, and they gave Matt money, they gave him food, they brought him all kinds of things. Matt stayed in character, he was outstanding in this part. Another take, had Matt breaking down a little bit, again he was OUTSTANDING, again more people stopped to help him. It says something about that Matt Myers performance in STREET LIFE, it also says something about the kindness of people in Philadelphia. I don’t know if that film ever came out and if it didn’t, I wish it would, I have seen it, and I loved it. Matt and Calvin gave the sort of performances that stick with you. I got a parking ticket that day while being on set. 29$. I happily paid it, 29$ is a small small price to witness a performance like I had just witnessed.

I mentioned that performance to JJ Garvine who I was working on a film with at the time, and I have no recollection how the conversation went, but I remember getting the green light to call Matt and ask him to come be in “13th Grade” with us. I know I called him, I know I spoke with his wonderful daughter Irene, and before you knew it, Matt had invited JJ and me to a BBQ at his house with his great neighbors and his great family. This is how Matt did things. Anytime I’d talk business or work with him, Matt would do it in in the most warm way possible. Any film story was told with love (and he had many), any interaction was done with a booming voice, that huge laugh and hugs and warmth and even if time had passed, with Matt, it picked right up where it left off. Matt seemed to be like this with everyone, in Matt’s life, there really must have been 15,000 ongoing conversations, just waiting to be picked right back up. Soon after I was on set doing a TV movie about jersey firefighters, directed by STREET LIFE’s Calvin Hill, and starring Tony Devon and Matt Myers, I knew, as soon as I booked the part it wasn’t going to be easy for me, Matt and Tony are VERY WELL KNOWN for being the best part of every movie they’ve been in, and this film was no exception. I spent every day just trying not to get my ass handed to me on screen by these 2 incredibly talented heavy hitters.

Matt Myers left us last weekend. And time had passed since the last time we’d spoken (he’d called me after a tv appearance and had said some very very kind things that I’ll never forget) and the last couple days I’ve felt a great sadness. We lost a great man, a great husband, father, actor, but we lost a guy who I’d learned from and will continue to learn from, not just business (though I loved his approach to show business, no part was too big, no part was ever too small, he was just always wildly happy to be acting, no ego, he didn’t care about “status” he just exuded happiness for the craft, and I could learn a lesson or two from that approach). I’ll just keep saying warmth because that’s what drew you to him, that’s what you immediately loved about him and that’s what you’ll never forget. I’m sad I won’t hear that voice on the phone, the way he’d end his phone calls with “ciao” I’ll miss his humor, and how truly funny he was in “13th Grade”, I’ll really miss never finishing our ongoing conversation. I’m proud to have known Matt Myers, and the world is a lesser place for him having left it. Rest well, Matt, rest well.

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend