Even though I watched it faithfully, I was always somewhat frustrated by the TV series Angel. The show had some very cool ideas at the core of it — I especially liked the notion that Los Angeles is full of supernatural beings who go about their business right under the noses of we oblivious humans — but it never really seemed to find its footing, even after five seasons on the air. Sometimes it was like a detective series with monsters instead of criminals, sometimes a variant of Highlander in its focus on immortal angst, sometimes a dark, apocalyptic fantasy about the fast-approaching end of the world, and sometimes it was a satire of all of the above. While Angel‘s parent series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, was also a mish-mash of different elements and story types, Buffy gelled into a coherent whole more often than not. By contrast, I never got a clear sense of what the spin-off was actually supposed to be. I kept tuning in, though, because I liked the characters, the thing that keeps me coming back to a lot of shows that really aren’t all that good (and keeps me away from some, arguably, that are; in the final analysis, a big reason why I never warmed to Ron Moore’s Galactica was the fact that I disliked his characters).
Anyhow, one of Angel‘s more memorable characters was a gent named Krevlornswath of the Deathwok Clan, a.k.a. Lorne, a gentle-souled, green-skinned, telepathic demon who owned a karaoke bar and could psychically “read” others when they sang. My understanding is that he was originally intended as a one-episode plot device, but, like so many other secondary characters who go on to steal a show, Lorne proved popular enough that he was brought back for an encore, then became a semi-regular and finally a full cast member with the actor’s name — Andy Hallett — in the opening credits. Andy would appear as Lorne in 76 of Angel‘s 110 episodes.
I was shocked and saddened this morning to learn that Andy Hallett died on Sunday at the far-too-young age of 33. According to a story on NPR, Hallett’s been suffering from congestive heart failure for five years, basically ever since Angel wrapped production. Hallett’s entry on IMDB indicates he appeared in only three other projects, the last of which was a voiceover job in 2005. What a damn shame… even my grandfather, who died young of heart failure and has always kind of been my personal benchmark for these things, made it to 37.