Members of the entertainment world are mourning the loss of actor and guitarist Mike Schank.
Schank, composer and co-star of 1999 documentary American Movie, died on October 13, according to the Milwaukee Record. He was 56 years old.
Known for instrumental prowess, as well as what A.V. Club described as a “low-key but friendly vibe,” Schank was a beloved figure at the intersection of music and movies. Fans and contemporaries have taken to social media to celebrate the late entertainer.
“RIP Mike Schank,” filmmaker Edgar Wright tweeted. “The sweet funny soul at the heart of the extraordinary doc ‘American Movie.’
“If you’ve never seen it, please do immediately,” Wright added.
RIP Mike Schank, the sweet funny soul at the heart of the extraordinary doc ‘American Movie’. Me, Simon & Nick were obsessed with it and since they included Mike’s home number on the DVD extras, we called him from London one night. If you’ve never seen it, please do immediately. pic.twitter.com/RCWm3uBAZz
— edgarwright (@edgarwright) October 13, 2022
“RIP Mike Schank,” actor Mark Duplass tweeted. “Watch him in AMERICAN MOVIE and learn how to be a good friend.”
“American Movie is undeniably one of the greatest films of all time, carried in part by Mike and Mark’s friendship,” Canadian filmmaker Jay Cheel assured, referencing Schank’s relationship with childhood friend and longtime collaborator, Mark Borchardt.
Schank, a recovering alcoholic and drug addict, last checked in with fans via his official Twitter account earlier this year.
“August 3rd was my 27 years clean and sober birthday,” Schank tweeted on August 7.
August 3rd was my 27 years clean and sober birthday
— Mike Schank (@schank_mike) August 7, 2022
Described by the Record as a “fixture on the East Side” of Milwaukee, Schank was also a member of the MKE Alano Club, an organization dedicated to sobriety and addiction recovery.
“He was the foundation of the Alano Club and a staple in so many’s recovery,” one of Schank’s peers told the Record. “He provided wisdom, good energy…he was such a good friend.”
“Beyond American Movie Mike Schank devoted his life to those struggling with addiction and helped a plethora of people with their recovery,” horror movie podcast Death by DVD echoed on Twitter. “Mike was much more than just a character.”
“Requiescat to Wisconsin’s own Mike Schank,” Minnesota Twins special assistant Kevin Goldstein tweeted. “The best character in any film from the 90s, only he’s real and the film is a documentary.
“In a world where being hateful and confrontational is so popular, Mike showed how cool it is to just be a good friend,” Goldstein added.
Borchardt, a fellow Milwaukee native, also took to Twitter with a simple message for his friend and American Movie right-hand man.
“Stay strong forever, Mike,” he wrote.
Stay strong forever, Mike…
— Mark Borchardt (@morethescarier) October 14, 2022
Newsweek reached out to Mark Borchardt for comment.
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