Canadian comic actor Tony Rosato, who has starred in the sketch-comedy TV shows “Saturday Night Live” and Canada’s “SCTV,” died on Jan. 10 at the age of 62.
Rosato’s former agent, Larry Goldhar, confirmed his death to the media on Jan. 10, saying an autopsy is being performed. It is though that Rosato died from a heart attack.
“It’s heartbreaking,” Goldhar said, The Star reports. “He is truly one of the gentlest people I have ever met. He was just such a kind person.”
Goldhar remembered that Rosato was “grateful all the time” and that working with him was easy and enjoyable.
“I can tell you, every time I saw him he would tell me, ‘I love you.’ Like, every single time. You know? That’s the kind of person he was,” he said.
Apart from starring on “SCTV” and “Saturday Night Live,” Rosato also performed at Toronto comedy venue The Second City, as well as in “Street Legal” and regularly acted on “Night Heat.” He would later play a lead actor on the TV show “Diamonds” and was “busy all the time,” Goldhar stated.
He also played the voice of Luigi in a couple of “Super Mario Bros.” TV series.
He made an impression as the “SCTV” character Marcello, an awkward and clumsy TV chef whose “Cooking with Marcello” in-kitchen lessons always ended in a mess.
“Aside from one of the most talented people I ever met in my life, he’s probably the gentlest person I think I ever met,” Goldhar said, The Globe and Mail reports.
“He broke his butt every audition, and he got the jobs, but he would come back to you all the time and thank you for setting it up.”
Rosato battled with mental illness issues and incarceration in later years.
In 2005, while exhibiting symptoms of mental illness, he was charged with aggressively harassing his wife. As a result, he was placed in a Canadian maximum security jail as he awaited trial.
While in jail, he was diagnosed with Capgras delusion, a condition that made him think his wife and daughter were replaced by imposters.
He was found guilty but was sent to a mental institution instead of prison. Rosato spent a total of four years incarcerated or institutionalized. His marriage later broke down.
“There’s no question that it had a big impact,” Goldhar said.
“He had been a creative, dynamite force prior to that … He was still gifted and creative, but he didn’t have the spark anymore. I think the medication took it away from him.”
Funeral details were not yet available.
Sources: Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail / Photo credit: Steve Russell/Toronto Star