I’ll be perfectly honest. I never knew Glenn Shadix by name until he died. To me, he was simply ‘Otho.’ I think he was probably that for a lot of people, as the role of the snooty, flamboyant and trendy interior designer and occult hobbyist in Tim Burton’s “Beetlejuice” is surely his most significant. Some may have viewed him as just another character actor relegated to the common moniker ‘that guy!,’ recognizing his face in “Demolition Man” or “Dunston Checks In.” Perhaps some identified his voice underneath his orangutan suit in Burton’s remake of “Planet of the Apes,” or providing the Mayor’s lines in “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” Outside of “Beetlejuice” I always loved him best in “Heathers” as ‘Father Ripper,’ the priest who officiates the many funerals and recommends the teens of Sherwood, Ohio, get to know the “righteous dude” Jesus Christ.
Born William Scott, the openly gay Alabama native, who Burton discovered playing Gertrude Stein in a stage play, died Tuesday from blunt force trauma to his head after falling in his Bessemer, Alabama, condo (he was very intoxicated and wheelchair bound at the time, according to this disturbing video). He was only 58. Shadix seems to have had a troubled early life, having gone through shock treatment as a teen to “cure” his homosexuality and subsequently attempted suicide. He also experienced some tragedy since returning to his hometown a few years ago. In late 2008 his dream home, a Queen Anne Victorian purchased after his departure from Hollywood, was completely destroyed in a fire. He had more recently returned to Birmingham theatre for a production of “The History Boys.” A memorial will be held in that city on September 11.
I leave you with some of Shadix’s sermons from “Heathers” after the jump.
For this one, fast forward to the 3:40 mark:
And here’s a recent interview with Shadix, during which he talks at length about his shock therapy and suicide attempt at the age of 17: