John O'Brien

John O'Brien didn't have to research alcoholism
when writing Leaving Las Vegas - he lived it.
A heavy drinker most of his adult life,
O'Brien, like his main character Ben,
struggled greatly with the disease.
Though the film was a great success
both commercially and critically,
and O'Brien was commissioned to begin a new screenplay,
the author took his own life on April 13, 1994,
just two weeks after he learned
his book was being made into a film.
His father said that he left behind a suicide note,
and that note was Leaving Las Vegas.
He was only 33 years old.

I believe some of the greatest souls
can be some of the most fragile.
The loss of what could have been,
the talent snuffed out due to insurmountable pain
damages us all more than we will ever know.
They leave us way to early, and we inherit the pain.

John O'Brien has three books published,
Leaving Las Vegas, Assault on Tony's,
and Stripper Lessons.

I believe Assault on Tony's would be a great movie.
It was almost finished, down to the last chapter when he died.
His sister finished it from notes and outlines he left behind.
She did an excellent job.

"He tosses into the flames
those things that he will not keep,
but doesn't want anyone else to possess.
The job has been well done.
How right, he thinks,
that what I have done so well here
is to undo.
And indeed,
he continues to be a tireless architect of his own undoing."

-John O'Brien 1960-1994

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