I think the only reason I am writing right now is to keep from losing my mind.
David Hess passed away last night off the heels of this 69th birthday. As a matter of fact, I just spoke to him on that birthday as he was getting ready to celebrate with his friends and family for dinner. The very last words we spoke to each other were “I love you.” That is probably the string that is holding me together right now. I got to say I loved him for the last time and got to hear it back from him. That gives me some solace right now.
Most of you knew David from his amazing and chilling portrayal as Krug in the original Last House on The Left. I remember letting my GASH co-hosts know he was going on and laughing at their reactions of fear because had an image of a woman raping and murdering fiend coming onto the show. When even the hardest core horror chicks are terrified of an actor because of their character, you know it was definitely an iconic performance.
There was so much talent and spirit that David possessed, it was almost unfair to the rest of the world. For naysayers who may disagree with that, think about the abstract. Had he not made Krug his first major performance, he would have never been typecast into the killer role that terrified women as his face graced the screen and could have went on to be some lame lover type character. But I for one am absolutely thankful that he took that role. If he hadn’t, I probably would have never met him nor any of you hardcore fans. He was a writer, a musician, an actor, a director, a father, a husband, a son, and an incomparable talent. He was also a best friend, one of my best.
I met David through Chris Garentano after a conversation about David’s music. He said I should write to him and get an interview when I was still very new in the industry. I wrote David at that time and never got a response. I didn’t think about it too much until I wanted to play one of his songs on my podcast. I wrote him again to ask for permission and got the response “Hell no. Not until you tell me why it has taken you this long to write me after Chris told me you were going to so long ago”. If you know me, you know that cemented the fact that I liked this guy. Turns out he didn’t get my message but it didn’t matter after that, I played the song and we became fast friends. Emails turned into phone conversations and eventually I met him in person for the first time in Vegas. For any of you that were at that Fango convention, you know how protective he became over me. Any time some guy tried to talk to me, he quickly took me by the arm and let them know he would kill them if they wouldn’t stop taking my attention. This still makes me laugh. He said it was fun to mess with people because they looked at him as Krug.
I have heard all of the stories of his “bad behaviors” and loved to ask him about them. I frequently made fun of him for some of the things he did and his response was just about always the same “shut the f*ck up” followed by a laugh and some inappropriate innuendo to try to take my attention from what I had heard. I will leave many of these stories out of this due to their content and honestly, because I don’t think I can repeat them without laughing which would turn into a breakdown. But I will say that he was the source of many fun stories to make fun of him for.
We always had this strange sixth sense with each other. When I was having a really hard time, I would get a call with the “and what the hell is wrong with you” greeting. Funny thing is, no one would have a clue that I was going through anything but he said he would feel it. I did the same. I would sit here and just feel like I needed to call him and say that I loved and missed him only to find out that he was going through something. Today was no exception. I signed into facebook to see a message on my wall that said that if the news was true, I must be heart broken. No name or situation was mentioned but I knew in my chest something was wrong with David. The first thing I did was google him but when nothing came up, I went back to facebook to see the news. It’s not fair. I can’t call him up to say “and what the hell is wrong with you now” because I know he won’t answer. I actually did call him and when it was not him who answered the phone the second time, well… my heart is currently swimming in my gut and being eaten by stomach acids. I have to stop here on this…
One thing David has told me through the years is I needed to stop being so nice. I know many of you find it funny that someone thought I was actually “too nice” but he ripped my ass about it constantly. When I would work for free he would tell me “don’t you know how talented you are. You don’t need to work for free! Bums work for free, you’re better than that”. One person can attest to that as he called them and pretty much demanded I got paid for the work I had done for them. Those were some fun phone calls after that. I know he did that because he believed in me. He believed in me more than most. I always said he saw something in me that no one else did and he said I did in him as well. No matter what was going on in our lives, we supported each other when it seemed no one else did. How can you repay someone for love that like?! We joked, we razzed, we argued, we laughed, we cried, and we always stuck by each other no matter how wrong what the other had done. If you can’t figure out what I am saying by now, it’s that David was the best person anyone could have on their side and I had him on mine. Now I feel like there is going to be this massive hole where I had him. I can already feel the pain of not having him to call and cry to because someone I loved was taken from me. Because it was him.
I am having a really hard time continuing not to keep this a sad post. I know David and I know that he would tell me to stop crying and go get laid or something. As a matter of fact, that was the solutions to most of my problems in his opinion. I broke up with my boyfriend, I need more sex. I was having an issue with people in the industry, it was because I needed more sex. I had writers block, I needed to get laid. I broke a toe, nothing some ass couldn’t cure. And because I was one of the women that never slept with him, it was always offered up as a solution that I could make a move on him. He was like the Billy Mays of penis. Well I don’t care what he said, sex won’t take away this hurt.
But I do feel so blessed and so lucky that I got to know David on a level that most people never knew existed. I know all about his children, all about his wife, all about his fears, all about his down falls, all about his dreams, and all about the enormous heart that he hid behind quick wit and sharp tongue. We could spout off each others histories as if we had been side by side with each other through them. This is thanks to many MANY hours of phone conversations and late night complaining sessions where we admitted the things we had regretted doing and swearing each other to secrecy that if anyone knew we had hearts, we would have to lie about each other. All in fun of course because no matter what, I would never tell what he told me and I trusted him with my life.
I know many of you who knew him loved him, admired him, and cherished him. He was worth ever bit of that because he sincerely adored all who cared so much for him. He really did have a heart of gold. He made many mistakes, some of them he regretted very much, but he always had hope. Hope that no matter what he did or who he hurt, they would know how much he loved everyone in the end. He always had hope that people would find the best in themselves and hone that part of them as he tried to do himself.
I loved David very, very much. He was one of the only people that I loved like this and just because he simply existed on this earth. My heart is broken for many reasons at this point but most of all because I know what he had left to finish on this earth. He was so much to so many people and I for one know I am a better and stronger person thanks to his constant pushing of me in the right directions.
My heart and thoughts are with his family at this time and the fans who appreciated him.
David will live forever through his films, music, and us.
RIP David, I will always miss you and forever love you.
David Hess (September 19, 1942 – October 7, 2011)