Tuesday, May 6, 2014

R.I.P. Steve Parlavecchio (1970-2014)

I’ve just learned that my friend Steve Parlavecchio died yesterday.  I don’t know the circumstances.  He was 43 years old.  I tried to contact Steve a couple of weeks ago on Facebook.  He didn’t respond.  I wish like hell that he had.

Steve starred in my first feature film, Mr. Id.  The film is not very good, but Steve’s performance is outstanding.  It’s the only reason to watch the damn movie.  Before we shot the movie, I told Steve to watch every Bogart movie he could find.  He did.  And he channeled Bogart like he was the man’s ghost.  There’s a particular scene where he’s confronting a woman who owes him money and refuses to pay with cash.  If you close your eyes when you watch that scene, it’s hard to believe it’s not Bogey and Bacall going at it.  I guess Steve was a bit of a method actor because he really took to the Bukowski lifestyle (the character he played, Jack Maggot, was based on Bukowski) during the shoot—drinking a lot and trying to score with every woman on the set.  He didn’t act quite so wild in his normal life (though there were nights in Los Angeles I had to wrestle his car keys from him and insist on driving, something he absolutely hated). 

I walked off the set of Mr. Id halfway through the shoot.  It was the nastiest crew ever assembled for a movie and the producer made it clear that I didn’t have his support.  Steve was the only person who tried to keep me from leaving.  He said I’d regret it and, ultimately, he was right.  My “career” as a movie director never quite recovered.

For reasons Steve would never make clear, his career never went to the places it should have either.  He starred in Amongst Friends, an independent film about Jewish kids getting into crime, directed by Rob Weiss, who was one of the creators of Entourage.  For a few moments in 1993, it looked like Steve would become a big name in Hollywood—this was the final, glorious year of Sundance, when independent films actually were independent—but something happened.  Steve refused to star in big budget movies, and I think that hurt him.  His only other major film was Bandwagon, which a lot of people like.  He made other movies (including Mr. Id), but he never achieved the success I think his talent deserved.

When I lived in L.A., things were often difficult and I had few places to go where I could commiserate with other people who were struggling to pay their bills and find a way into the movie business.  Steve was the only reliable friend I had there.  He was a typical actor with typical actor foibles, but I could see that, underneath the shields he put up to maintain the attitude required to survive in Hollywood, he was a very good person.  It’s very sad to know his kindness is no longer a part of this world.

9 comments:

  1. so sorry to hear this... Steve was my friend.

    Lee aka Tony

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  2. He was a talented, good human being. Did not deserve the drama he'd been through the last few years.

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  3. Steve was a excellent actor and an excellent person. I had the privilege of directing Steve in "Father Son Holy Ghost" after I saw him as the lead in Ed Barkin's "Unforeseen" in 2002 at Cinequest.

    Steve drove up here to see himself as the lead of of a 35mm Dolby feature on the biggest screen in northern California before he passed, and I will try to get a 4K transfer of his work on that piece.

    Steve will be remembered.

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    1. Please let me know when this film will be available. I saw lots of pictures from the shoot just after Steve worked on the film and it looked pretty interesting.

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  4. I knew Steve from Long Branch. Were there any details about his death? So shocking.

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  6. I like to know what happened to Steve too? I first saw Steve in Amongst Friends and felt like he was perfect for a film I was writing called “Sistaz.” I left a message with his mother and he called me back. We met in person in NYC and we talked about my independent film called “Sistaz” and I gave him a copy of the script. In March 1999 he wrote me an LOI (Letter of Intent) saying he was interested in working on my project which I still have including his reel of work and a great photo of him which I don’t’ know why but for some reason the other day I put it into a frame and added it to my family photos. In 2016 I heard he was a Firefighter and had passed away, but no other information was given. I really want to know what happened to him. He was such a great guy. I real sweet person who in my eyes was a rising star who never made it big after his great role in Amongst Friends. RIP my sweet friend.

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  7. Wow, I apologize for the delay in responding to these comments. Steve had a tendency to date women with issues, something I called The Savior Complex. I had it when I was younger and I did my best to encourage Steve to get over it and date women who had their shit together. I did not speak to Steve much after I left Los Angeles in 2009. My last phone conversation with him was in 2011. He was complaining about getting a speeding ticket in Indiana (where I'm from). I told him I was going to graduate school in Minnesota and he warned me about Minnesota (and just as he didn't listen to me with regards to troubled women, I didn't listen to him with regards to Minnesota, but that's another story for another time). I heard the news of Steve's death from a mutual friend of ours from Japan. I messaged some of Steve's family from New Jersey and the story I heard was that Steve had entered into a rough marriage and, essentially, drank himself to death (the actual cause of his death was pneumonia, which, I believe, should not kill a 43 year old man who spent most of his adult life exercising and watching his health).

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