Ben Woolf, who portrayed Meep on American Horror Story: Freak Show and Infantata on the first season of the popular FX show, has died from injuries sustained in an accident last week, according to TMZ.
Woolf had been heavily sedated since being hit in the head by the side view mirror of a passing SUV while he was crossing a Los Angeles street. The actor suffered a stroke and died on Monday, a source told the gossip site. He was 34 years old, according to his Facebook page.
Not much is known about the short life of Woolf, but based upon his own words, one thing is resoundingly clear: The man was so much more than just a character on American Horror Story. In fact, Woolf was a talented and humble man who overcame many obstacles on his way to success in Hollywood.
In a January 2015 interview, Woolf candidly talked about his life and his acting with FX, revealing all of the things that made him a unique artist, including how he brought his love of teaching children into his own acting process.
Woolf’s personal struggles undoubtedly started early in life, when he said he was diagnosed with pituitary dwarfism. “When I was younger I went through chemotherapy which caused my bones to close at an early age,” he said. The tribulation, which could have made it easy for Woolf to shy away from his ambitions, actually had the opposite effect. “One goal I have: Just to be successful in whatever I choose to be doing,” he said.
Meep struck a chord with AHS fans and it’s unclear if Woolf even realized his talent or the depth he brought to his portrayal of the character whose vocabulary was limited to just the word “meep” itself. He had to convey all of Meep’s emotion without the crutch of dialogue, which was an extremely arduous task that the actor executed flawlessly. Woolf recognized that Meep was extraordinary, but didn’t seem to give himself credit for bringing the role to life. “When I play Meep, I like people to just feel happy and realize that even though he doesn’t say a lot, that he’s saying a lot in that one word that he says,” Woolf said.
In perhaps the most touching moment of the very poignant interview, the pain of what Woolf went through while trying to realize his dream as an actor, and probably at many other times in his life, was palpable. “It’s very challenging for me when I go out in Los Angeles, where I live,” he said. “It’s kind of hard there, which is weird, because you don’t think it should be. You’d think that they’d be more accepting of people who are different and it’s kind of not. It’s kind of the opposite actually. Sometimes a lot of people don’t treat me, or don’t realize, that I’m an adult and don’t give me the value that I deserve. I just ignore it and do what I can do to the best of my ability.”
Woolf really seemed to identify with the freak show aspect on the program. His words were much more profound than he probably ever realized and hit home for everyone who has ever felt like they don’t fit in.
Despite everything Woolf went through in his life, he kept a smile on his face and an optimistic point of view on his own uniqueness. “We’re all freaks in our own way,” he said. “If there were no freaks, then everyone would be normal.”
Watch the full interview below.
Image: FX Networks/YouTube