Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Host Has Left the Building

Singer & actor Andy Hallett died yesterday. I just found out on the way home from work. He was only 33 years old, but his heart must have been much older. It gave out, and he is gone.

Many of you won't know who Andy Hallett is. For those of us who loved the Buffy the Vampire Slayer spinoff "Angel", we know him as Lorne, the green-skinned, red-horned, lovable demon with a Rat Pack swagger and a heart of gold. Lorne ran a safe haven karaoke bar in Los Angeles where demons and humans came together without violence, and Lorne used his gift to "read" people's fate/path/you name it, as they sang. Sometimes horribly. Sometimes hilariously horribly.

But Lorne himself? Damn, he had a set of pipes on him.

Andy Hallett was discovered - if Wikipedia can be trusted - when Joss Whedon saw him singing in a Universal City Blues Revue gig. Based on his pretty fabulous singing gift, Whedon crafted a character for him on "Angel." Initially, the character, called simply "The Host" initially, was only supposed to be featured in a handful of episodes in the series' second season. But the character that Hallett brought to life was such a delight - funny, witty, and utterly L.A. - he became a regular, appearing in 76 episodes, right through the apocalyptic finale of Season Five.

We came to know him as Lorne (full name: Krevlornswath of the Deathwok Clan.) He was a charming musical misfit from another dimension - a dimension filled with bloodthirsty demonic "champions", no humor, and absolutely no music. (Did I mention his mother had a beard the Smith Brothers would have been proud to sport?) Lorne found a home in Los Angeles, where green skin, flashy suits, and a killer singing voice probably wouldn't make anyone blink. (I've seen worse at American Idol auditions.) Lorne was, quite possibly, my favorite character on the show. I was bummed when it went off the air in 2005, but it had run its course. And, of course, there are always the comic books that pick up where the show left off.

Apparently, shortly after filming the final episode back in '05, Hallett had a bad tooth infection. That, terrifyingly, led to a case of cardiomyopathy.

Friends, let this be a reminder - don't ignore your teeth. They might not only go away; dental infections can lead to serious heart problems. I can still remember my mom telling me that when I was a kid, which freaked me out so much, I have outrageously good dental hygiene to this day.

Sadly, Andy Hallett never recovered from his heart problems. What a shame. What a damn shame to lose someone at 33 - someone clearly talented, and, from all reports, a seriously lovely person.

For those of you who never watched "Angel" - and for those who just want to remember those sweet pipes that got him that wonderful gig in the first place, here's a little Lorne for you:

Goodnight, Lorne.

Rest well, Andy.

Thank you for charming the socks off me again and again. Tomorrow morning's "Angel" reruns on TNT just aren't going to be quite the same knowing you're gone.


suze said...

Lorne was my favourite character on that show (aside from my undying love for Angel/Angelus of course). So sad to know he's gone. And so shocking to see he's the same age as me. And to learn that a tooth infection can lead to this. Eep!

* said...

ach! this is so sad. Thanks for posting because I didn't even know about it. I'm booking our dental appointments first thing tomorrow morning.

Anonymous said...

He and Fred are my favorites. One of this mornings episodes had him back in his home dimension. I love the scene where all his friends look into the bucket that holds just his head. When he opens his eyes, everyone (except Fred) jumps back in suprise. I was almost late to work because I wanted to see that scene.
I'm so glad I can still see him on the reruns, but sad that that is all we've got.