Thursday, September 4, 2008

R.I.P. Mark Priestley

From his recently updated Wikipedia page

Mark Priestley (9 August 1976 – 27 August 2008) was an Australian actor. Born in Perth, Western Australia, he graduated from the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) with a degree in Performing Arts (acting) in 1999. His first big TV break was when he appeared in The Farm in 2000 and met director Kate Woods. She gave him a role in her mini-series Changi in 2001.

Priestley played a semi-regular role in The Secret Life of Us and appeared in Blue Heelers before his first on-air appearance in All Saints in July 2004. Priestley was a long-time friend of Wil Traval, his co-star on All Saints. The two were known to get up to countless pranks on set.

Priestley also had some notable theatre credits. He worked with the Bell Shakespeare Company, playing Silvio in The Servant of Two Masters, as well as with The Sydney Theatre Company in Major Barbara, both in 2003.

On the afternoon of 27 August 2008 Priestley checked into the Swissotel in Market Street, Sydney, under the name 'Damien Barker'. He was found dead on an awning of the Myer store at Pitt Street, on the corner of Market Street, at 2pm. Police sources said the 32-year-old jumped from the Swissotel and was killed instantly. There are unconfirmed reports he plunged from a 22nd-floor room. The actor was believed to have been suffering from depression.

A statement issued by the Seven Network said that Priestley was a "tremendous young person" who was loved and respected by the cast and crew of All Saints. Seven’s Director of Programming and Production, Tim Worner, wrote in the statement: "Mark was such a brilliant artist ... his work on stage and screen was admired by everybody who knew him."

How thoroughly sad. And it always makes me feel connected, like with Charmaine Dragun's suicide, when they reveal they have depression, like I know what he was going through, even though I'm sure I don't really. Just the sheer loneliness, having nobody to talk to, life being too painful and unbearable. I can imagine the split decision, jumping before you lose your nerve. I do hope he is at peace now. Maybe that is a stupid thing to say. I don't know anything about death, I don't think I believe in heaven, so maybe there is no peace for someone who kills themselves. But I do mourn him.

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