By now you’ve probably heard all the trending Twitter rumors and unfortunately they are true: “Jackass” star Ryan Dunn has passed away.
Dunn passed away early Monday morning when his vehicle ran off the road outside his stomping grounds of West Chester. He will always be remembered for his hilarious antics with life-long friend Bam Margera — as part of the MTV Jackass franchise.
But to those who knew Dunn best, he was more than just the ‘jackass’ we’ve all grown to love.
Dunn was original to say the least. From his Grizzly Adams beard to his plethora of tattoos, Dunn knew how to be different and that’s what made him so likable. Yet what made him unique was his love for his family and friends.
You couldn’t find a more genuine guy who just wanted to enjoy life with the people he cared about.
I had the pleasure of working on several movies with Dunn. The first time I met him a few years back I thought wow, this guy is the living breathing Lebowski. He was The Dude. Yet the thing that struck me the most about him wasn’t his hilarious comedic timing that was more of a side-stitch, it was his professionalism towards everyone.
Believe it or not, Dunn took acting very seriously. As popular as the Jackass franchise made the 34-year old, his on-screen shenanigans could never prepare you for the genuine guy he really was towards everyone.
The last time I had a chance to really talk with him was last October 7th. I distinctly remember the date because Dunn, an avid Philadelphia sports fan, was beside himself that he missed Roy Halladay throw his infamous no-hitter against the Cincinnati Reds during his first ever career postseason start.
Dunn missed the game because he was flying from his Los Angeles “Jackass 3-D” premier to re-shoot several scenes as a pickle loving degenerate health inspector in the Philadelphia based comedy “Booted.” Exhausted and un-showered, which he bragged about with several headlocks, Dunn filmed late into the evening devouring dill pickles and Yuenglings with Eagles fullback Owen Schmitt and the rest of the cast and crew on a house boat on the Delaware River.
There would be other games and Dunn, dedicated to the craft of acting, came prepared and nailed his scene as he usually did despite various distractions.
At the end of that night’s shoot, despite all the questions about his new box office hit and taking countless photos with the cast and crew, all he could talk about was how glad he was to be back home with his wife and friends.
That’s the guy he was, too cool for cool. He never let his fame or popularity get to his head, which was usually bandaged. He was the kind of guy that stuck to his Philly roots and they were deep. Despite his short-lived life he lived it to the fullest.
I received countless texts about the passing of Ryan Dunn, including some from Schmitt, who sent me a photo of all of us eating pickles together — it couldn’t keep me from laughing.
I only knew Dunn for a brief time, but I’m proud to say he was a friend. It’s a shame he never had the chance to show his true acting talents. Some of his last works include the comedy “Living Will,” and a more serious role in festival bound “Close-Up”. Still, no one could make people laugh like Dunn and that was enough.
The news of his death is devastating but in a weird sense I envy him.
Sure he found fame and success but most importantly he found laughs, he found friends and he found love. It seems that only the good do die young.
By Matthew F. Nadu