Verne Troyer dead at 49; TV credits include The Surreal Life, Scrubs

Verne TroyerThere’s some very sad news to report today: Actor Verne Troyer, best known arguably for his work in the Austin Powers movies, has died at the age of 49.

According to a report from TMZ, Troyer died on Saturday after a recent health struggle. His death is sad, not only for him as a person but also his status as one of Hollywood’s most famous little person performers. His credits were immense, as was his status in pop culture, especially in the early 2000’s.

While Troyer’s work in the cinema is certainly going to be what stands out to many people, he also had a lengthy background both in reality and scripted television. He was a part of multiple seasons of VH1’s The Surreal Life (pictured above), and to go along with that also appeared on an overseas season of Celebrity Big Brother many years back. He also made a string of appearances on Celebrity Juice over the years. Boston Public, Scrubs, and MADtv are among some of his more notable scripted TV credits. He did have a natural comic timing and wasn’t afraid to go big for a laugh. We wish we had more opportunities to see him in scripted programming over the course of the past several years, especially with there being such a larger array of roles available these days than there was at the turn of the millennium.

In a statement (via People), Troyer’s family had the following to say about his passing:

“It is with great sadness and incredibly heavy hearts to write that Verne passed away today. Verne was an extremely caring individual. He wanted to make everyone smile, be happy, and laugh. Anybody in need, he would help to any extent possible.

“Verne hoped he made a positive change with the platform he had and worked towards spreading that message everyday. He inspired people around the world with his drive, determination, and attitude. On film & television sets, commercial shoots, at comic-con’s & personal appearances, to his own YouTube videos, he was there to show everyone what he was capable of doing.

“Even though his stature was small and his parents often wondered if he’d be able to reach up and open doors on his own in his life, he went on to open more doors for himself and others than anyone could have imagined. He also touched more peoples hearts than he will ever know. Verne was also a fighter when it came to his own battles. Over the years he’s struggled and won, struggled and won, struggled and fought some more, but unfortunately this time was too much.”

Troyer faced such an obvious struggle through much of his career, working to make it in an industry that, in his heyday, simply didn’t offer enough chances beyond some of those stereotypical roles. We do at least hope that his presence opened some doors on a larger scale. We’re sure that there will be some tributes that come out for him over the coming days. His name has quickly climbed to the top of Twitter’s trending topics list since news of his death first surfaced.

Our thoughts go out to some of Troyer’s family and loved ones during what has to be a very difficult time. (Photo: VH1.)

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