"There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with
power to endanger the public liberty." - - - - John Adams

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

RIP - Andy Whitfield

The gladiator: Whitfield was a virtual unknown when he was cast as the legendary Thracian slave in Spartacus

A most sad day

Actor Andy Whitfield died of cancer Sunday in Australia at the age of 39, following his 18-month battle with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, his family said in a statement.

Andy was one of those rare actors that appeared from out of nowhere.  It was if he was born to play the part of Spartacus.  He had that elusive "it" factor.  He dominated the screen.

Gone at age 39.  It is not right.

The Welsh-born Whitfield became a star in January 2010 when his physical and emotional portrayal of the title character during the first season of Starz's "Spartacus: Blood and Sand" earned him and the epic action series an immediate and rabid following.

The father of two young children was a complete unknown before landing the title role of the rebellious Thracian slave in US TV series Spartacus: Blood and Sand.

His wife Vashti yesterday paid tribute to her “beautiful young warrior” who died on a “sunny Sydney morning” in the “arms of his loving wife”.

His co-star Lucy Lawless said that he had left an “indelible mark” on the Spartacus cast and crew.

“He was a gentle man who never said a bad word about anyone, a gifted photographer, engineer (no really!) and a brilliant actor,” she said in a statement.

“Andy’s incandescent film presence made men want to be him and women want to marry him. Andy’s two babies will always know that their daddy cherished them and their mother Vashti above all things.

“How lucky we were to have him grace all our lives. Godspeed, Andy!”

Spartacus director Steve DeKnight wrote on Twitter: “’No words to express the depth of such a loss. You will be deeply missed, my brother.”

Whitfield left Wales to study at Sheffield University before moving to Australia to study drama in Sydney and work as a diagnostic engineer.

He told American television: “I grew up on an island off the north coast of Wales and I gravitated towards Australia because I met a girl and I like sunshine, of which there is none in Wales. That’s how I ended up Down Under!”

He worked as a model before becoming a regular on Australian TV, but only came to worldwide attention in 2010 at the age of 38, appearing in the first season of Spartacus, which caused a storm Stateside with its graphic depictions of sexuality and violence.

After landing his big break, he said: “This is my dream role – the fighting, the sandals, the blood, the legend. And it’s the greatest script I’ve ever read.”

The cast:  Lucy Lawless, John Hannah, Andy Whitfield and Peter Mensah

Co-star: Lucy Lawless starred alongside Whitfield in Spartacus and paid tribute saying he was a 'gentle man'

[Addressing Spartacus and the new recruits]

Doctore:  What is beneath your feet?

[No Answer]

Doctore:  Answer! What is beneath your feet?

Kerza:  Sand?

Doctore:  Crixus! What is beneath your feet?

Crixus:  Sacred ground, Doctore. Watered with the tears of blood.

Doctore:  Your tears! Your blood! Your pathetic lives forged into something of worth. Listen! Learn! And, perhaps, live - As Gladiators! Now Attend your master.

Batiatus:  You have been blessed! Each and every one of you, to find yourselves here at the ludus of Quintus Lentulus Batiatus, purveyor of the finest gladiators in all of the Republic!

[Gladiators Cheer]

Batiatus:  Prove yourselves in the hard days to follow, prove yourselves more than a common slave - more than a man! Fail and die, either here where you stand, or sold off to the mines. Succeed, and stand proud among my titans!

[Gladiators Chant "Batiatus!"]

Doctore:  A Gladiator does not fear death. He embraces it. Caresses it. Fucks it. Each time he enters the arena, he slips his cock in the mouth of the beast, and prays to thrust home before the jaws snap shut.

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