David Rappaport (November 23, 1951 – May 2, 1990)

“David Rappaport was as determined to die as he had been to live.” -L.A. Times, March 9, 1990

English actor, David Rappaport, is the first dwarf to star in his own television series,"The Wizard.” His first bit of success is in the 1979 children’s BBC show “Jigsaw” - alongside Sylvester McCoy who is best known for playing the 7th incarnation of the Doctor in the long-running science fiction television series "Doctor Who" from 1987 to 1989. Rappaport also appears alongside McCoy in the "Secret Policeman's Ball" where McCoy introduces him as: “Not the smallest man in the world, but fucking close.” Rappaport's most popular role is as Randall, the leader of the gang of dwarves in the Terry Gilliam film “Time Bandits” in 1981.

Rappaport struggles with depression. Just before his death, he is cast and begins filming for the darkly comic role of Zibalian trader Kivas Fajo on "Star Trek: The Next Generation" episode “The Most Toys.” During filming, Rappaport attempts suicide, and the scenes he completed are discarded when actor Saul Rubinek is hurriedly brought in by producers to replace him - Rappaport’s scenes are eventually included on the Season 3 DVD release of "Star Trek: The Next Generation." This isn’t the first time he tries to commit suicide. He tries two weeks before his wedding day in March 1989 - he parked his car on a hidden stretch of road and ran a garden hose from the exhaust pipe to the interior. He passed out, but somebody finds him.

According to the L.A. Times article, "A Life and Death in Hollywood : Acting: David Rappaport was Trapped by his Mind," on May 2, 1990, the day of his son’s 14th birthday, Rappaport slips out of the house and drives to Laurel Canyon Park - a favorite spot of his in the San Fernando Valley. He says hello to people on the path and passes the man and his dog who will later find his body. Deep in the park, Rappaport chooses a bramble-covered spot on the hillside, lays down on his back and stares up at the tree tops. He pulls out a pistol, points it downward at his chest, and shoots himself through the heart.  

His cousin considered, then rejected, theory after theory: "Perhaps his thoughts were telling him--falsely--that the woman he was about to marry might one day leave, unable to love a dwarf who might not always be the toast of Hollywood. Perhaps they told him that despite enormous success, he was still trapped--as trapped as the dwarf he had seen years earlier, caged in an English asylum for mentally retarded children. Or possibly, in the way that mind-records have, they exaggerated recent stops and starts in his career until it seemed that all he had worked for, all he had done to escape invisibility, was gone or going.”

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