Well, what a way to start off the week on a comedy website with this tragic news. Andy Whitfield, former star of the Starz network hit TV series Spartacus: Blood And Sand, died this morning in Sydney, Australia at the age of 39. Whitfield played the lead role in Spartacus (which was, of course, Spartacus) for the first season back in early 2010 and achieved critical acclaim from critics for his compelling performance. Unfortunately, he had to depart from the show after one season because of his sudden cancer diagnosis. After a few years of ups and downs–most recently at this summer’s Comic Con, he said that he was feeling 10 years younger and well–he lost the battle and passed away. This just goes to show you how fragile life can be and how sudden things can turn. So cherish it, make the best of it, and treat people well, guys!
Whitfield’s performance was so iconic and acclaimed, that Starz even halted production of the 2nd season for over a year and only would replace him as a last resort. In light of that, they made a prequel series that aired this past January, which took place before his character was introduced. They finally decided to recast him for season 2 late last year after learning from Whitfield that he wouldn’t be able to reprise the role of Spartacus; it is currently filming and will air early next year.
Personally, Spartacus was one of my favorite new shows when it came out. It started out a little weak but boy, oh, boy did things ever pick up. Along with the over-the-top violence and stylistic cinematography, the show had great performances by all the leads and supporting cast, particularly with Andy Whitfield who brought a lot of heart to the brutal show. Anyway, go show’em how it’s done in heaven, Andy.