Actor in Cult-Favorite American Movie Dies at Age 53: Mike Schank, a musician best known for playing the good guy in the prestigious documentary “American Movie,” was 53 when he passed away, according to a close friend.
Schank battled cancer recently, according to Jackie Bogenberger, and passed away on Thursday. The 1999 documentary “American Movie” tracked the creation of the horror short “Coven,” winning best documentary at the Sundance Film Festival by independent filmmaker Mark Borchardt, with Schank—closest Borchardt’s friend—shown supporting Borchardt’s dream of becoming a filmmaker despite numerous obstacles.
Schank became a beloved and enduring character thanks to the deadpan humor and understated sweetness of “Movie,” as well as his candor in his battles with drinking and gambling addiction. He not only composed the soundtrack for “Coven,” but he also contributed a wonderfully bloodcurdling scream.
The success of the 1999 documentary led to a number of possibilities, including a part in the 2001 movie “Storytelling” and a voice cameo on the animated sitcom “Family Guy” as himself.
Schank, according to Bogenberger, remained “one of the most wonderful and unselfish human beings this earth has ever graced with” despite his battles with addiction and disease.
On Twitter, relatives, friends, and other people expressed tribute. Comedian Patton Oswalt just tweeted “RIP.” Actor Rainn Wilson tweeted, “This is tragic. Mike Schank forever.” “Lord of the Rings” actor Elijah Wood referred to Schank as a “legend,” adding, “Mike Schank forever.” LOVED this amazing person.
Borchardt, Schank’s closest buddy, simply tweeted: “Stay strong forever, Mike.” Schank tweeted in August that he had been sober for 27 years. According to Bogenberger, Schank started informing his loved ones about his cancer diagnosis around three months before his declaration.
Mike Schank, the guitarist best known for his appearance in the documentary film "American Movie," has died at age 53. https://t.co/67SgelwPwN
— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) October 18, 2022
A memorial service for Schank will be placed at the Milwaukee Alano Club on November 12th, according to Bogenberger. Schank volunteered there for 20 years. This item has been modified to reflect the fact that Schank passed away on Thursday, not Wednesday, and that he was 53 years old, not 56.
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