“Unfortunately I have some sad news Leon Reedjik suffered a massive heart attack on Tuesday and has been in Wgtn ICU since. He was deprived of oxygen for 37 minutes the result of which was severe damaged to vital organs which has been supported by scans. The family has decided to turn off the life support in the morning. Would like to offer our support and condolences. End of a hairy era!”
Woke up to this on my Facebook.
Leon was one of the “Laketowners” together with myself on the set of the Hobbit movies. Giant of a man. Big full natural beard. Friendly and gentle. A common purpose bonded us Laketowners. Maybe 80 of us. Not all of us there on set at the same time or called in on the same days. But many of us spent a considerable number of hours, sitting around, eating great meals, sitting around, being moved to sit around somewhere else, standing around on set, waiting, eventually standing around on set with a purpose ordained by the director, joy of joys, running around or being allowed to be animated, sometimes under lights so hot we had to have ice packs pushed down our costumes. Jostling to get to the crew member carrying water in order to be handed a plastic cup of precious water between takes. All this for maybe 10 plus hours a day. For acquaintances sharing a common purpose most of us got to know each other comfortably well. Genuinely enjoying our time together.
I remember Leon as that friendly uncomplicated gentle giant. Sitting on the set of Laketown the canal wharf to our side the medieval buildings of Laketown in front, the towering wall of the studio draped in green screen, wind machines, lights scaffolding and more lights; Leon and I waiting for the next shot to be set. Likely to be off camera but giving ourselves a role to pass the time. We salvaged a stone jar of rather quaffable Elvish wine which we shared, enjoyed and made merry with. Eventually, there was a call of “action” we continued to pass the jug.
Won’t find that scene anywhere but in my memory now.
“The proper, wise balancing
of one’s whole life may depend upon the
feasibility of a cup of tea at an unusual hour.”
― Arnold Bennett, How to Live on 24 Hours a Day
or I may add the occasional jug of wine.