Actor Vern Troyer, best known for his portrayal of “Mini Me” in the Austin Powers films, passed away earlier today at the age of 49.
The diminutive actor, who was born with achondroplasia, a genetic disorder that is one of the causes of dwarfism, stood at a mere 2’8″ tall and was one of the smallest in the world. He started his career as a stunt double for Baby Bink in 1994’s Baby’s Day Out, and moved into acting in bit parts until he became Dr Evil’s miniature clone in Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me. He would reprise that role in Austin Powers in Goldmember, and appeared as the goblin Griphook in Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone. He also appeared in a number of reality programs and make frequent appearances at conventions and fan events.
His family released an official statement on his Facebook page:
It is with great sadness and incredibly heavy hearts to write that Verne passed away today.
Verne was an extremely caring individual. He wanted to make everyone smile, be happy, and laugh. Anybody in need, he would help to any extent possible. Verne hoped he made a positive change with the platform he had and worked towards spreading that message everyday.
He inspired people around the world with his drive, determination, and attitude. On film & television sets, commercial shoots, at comic-con’s & personal appearances, to his own YouTube videos, he was there to show everyone what he was capable of doing. Even though his stature was small and his parents often wondered if he’d be able to reach up and open doors on his own in his life, he went on to open more doors for himself and others than anyone could have imagined. He also touched more peoples hearts than he will ever know.
Verne was also a fighter when it came to his own battles. Over the years he’s struggled and won, struggled and won, struggled and fought some more, but unfortunately this time was too much.
During this recent time of adversity he was baptized while surrounded by his family. The family appreciates that they have this time to grieve privately.
Depression and Suicide are very serious issues. You never know what kind of battle someone is going through inside. Be kind to one another. And always know, it’s never too late to reach out to someone for help.
In lieu of flowers, please feel free to make a donation in Verne’s name to either of his two favorite charities; The Starkey Hearing Foundation and Best Buddies.