Francis Mossman death: Friends and actors cite ‘epidemic of loss’ amid Covid lockdown


Soap star Francis Mossman was struggling to cope with constant uncertainty of lockdown as an extended Covid outbreak decimates the arts industry.

The 33-year-old actor, who was living in Sydney but originally from New Zealand, was found dead on Saturday after quietly struggling with his mental health.

Those who knew the Shortland Street star will forever remember him as a beacon of light who had immense talent, a ‘loveable, infectious smile’ and a ‘debatable love of Hanson’.

Paul Layton, who starred alongside Mossman in web series The Horizon, told Daily Mail Australia the going has been tough for actors as he joined a chorus of industry insiders urging artists to reach out if they need help. 

He said Mossman’s death was yet another blow after a tragic 18 months, in which on top of the Covid pandemic there appeared to be an ‘epidemic of loss’ among actors.

‘There seems to be an epidemic of losing people in isolation these days that nobody seems to be talking about,’ Mr Layton said.  

Paul Layton, who starred alongside Mossman (pictured together) in web series The Horizon, told Daily Mail Australia the going has been tough for actors as he joined a chorus of industry insiders urging artists to reach out if they need help

Mr Layton said on Monday the world ‘doesn’t seem as bright’ since Mossman’s death, admitting he wished he was 'there for [him] more' in recent months

Mr Layton said on Monday the world ‘doesn’t seem as bright’ since Mossman’s death, admitting he wished he was ‘there for [him] more’ in recent months

‘The unfortunate thing about Franny, I think, was his good looks. They were the least interesting thing about him because he was so funny and weird and I loved it. He was such a beautiful person in every sense of the word.’ 

There are mounting concerns that artists are struggling with extended lockdowns, with Covid uncertainty exacerbating stress and pressure on performers.

Just three weeks ago, ’90s Home and Away heartthrob Dieter Brummer tragically died after his work as a window washer dried up during the pandemic.

The Casting Guild of Australia issued an urgent plea with performers and artists not to stay silent if they’re struggling.

They’ve established the ‘Shoulder2Shoulder’ campaign to support those in need, with President Dave Newman urging any businesses within the entertainment sector that are doing well during the pandemic to donate.

‘No generation of actor has gone through the upheaval and emotional turmoil that you guys have been through in the last 18 months,’ he said in a joint video message released by the CGA.

‘Ironically it is you guys that are culturally lifting us out of this sh**fight. You’re the ones we’re binge watching, you’re the ones who we’re hanging on your every word. You’re essential.’ 

'The unfortunate thing about Franny, I think, was his good looks. They were the least interesting thing about him because he was so funny and weird and I loved it. He was such a beautiful person in every sense of the word,' Mr Layton said in a moving tribute to his friend

‘The unfortunate thing about Franny, I think, was his good looks. They were the least interesting thing about him because he was so funny and weird and I loved it. He was such a beautiful person in every sense of the word,’ Mr Layton said in a moving tribute to his friend

Mr Layton said Mossman’s death was yet another blow after a tragic 18 months, in which on top of the Covid pandemic there appeared to be an ‘epidemic of loss’

Mr Layton said on Monday the world ‘doesn’t seem as bright’ since Mossman’s death, admitting he wished he was ‘there for [him] more’ in recent months.

The pandemic and subsequent lockdowns has put a strain on relationships globally, and Mr Layton said it was no different among performers. It’d been difficult to keep in contact with Mossman despite their close friendship. 

‘It felt like we found each other in the dark of all this. I think I’ll look for you in crowds for the rest of my life, old friend.’ 

Several other friends revealed he’d been struggling during the extended lockdowns, one telling Daily Mail Australia she hoped he was now at peace. 

Mossman was fully vaccinated against the virus and itching to get back to work. 

But the lockdowns seemed never-ending and he was struggling to keep positive, particularly after the death of his five-year-old dog, Hoff, back in May. 

'There seems to be an epidemic of losing people in isolation these days that nobody seems to be talking about,' Mr Layton explained

‘There seems to be an epidemic of losing people in isolation these days that nobody seems to be talking about,’ Mr Layton explained

Mossman and Mr Layton hoped to work together again after their stint on The Horizon, when they would 'work on character and scenes well into the night' at the latter's 'tiny apartment'.'

Mossman and Mr Layton hoped to work together again after their stint on The Horizon, when they would ‘work on character and scenes well into the night’ at the latter’s ‘tiny apartment’.’

After Hoff’s death, Mossman candidly revealed he experienced regular bouts of unhappiness which were usually satiated by man’s best friend. 

‘I constantly experience a bit of unhappiness, but knowing I had Hoff gave me so much comfort. I never cry, but the last two days I have been crying uncontrollably,’ he said at the time of Hoff’s death. 

He’d joked in another post that he was ‘excited’ about another four weeks of lockdown while staring deadpan at the camera.

Mossman and Mr Layton hoped to work together again after their stint on The Horizon, when they would ‘work on character and scenes well into the night’ at the latter’s ‘tiny apartment’.

Mr Layton had written a television series with Mossman in mind to play a newly married man who would sneak off to Oxford Street of a weekend to be a drag queen. 

Mossman’s death was announced on Saturday by several LGBTQ websites, including Queer Screen Australia and Stonewall Hotel. 

Mr Layton had written a television series with Mossman in mind to play a newly married man who would sneak off to Oxford Street of a weekend to be a drag queen

Mr Layton had written a television series with Mossman in mind to play a newly married man who would sneak off to Oxford Street of a weekend to be a drag queen

Queer Screen wrote on Facebook, 'Queer Screen was saddened to hear of the passing of actor Frankie Mossman. Moving from Auckland to Sydney in 2012, Frankie was a well-known member of our LGBTIQ+ community, appearing in numerous NZ and Australian productions'

Queer Screen wrote on Facebook, ‘Queer Screen was saddened to hear of the passing of actor Frankie Mossman. Moving from Auckland to Sydney in 2012, Frankie was a well-known member of our LGBTIQ+ community, appearing in numerous NZ and Australian productions’

A post was shared to his Instagram account on Friday, presumably by a friend or family member, acknowledging his death.

Alongside a photo of Mossman as a child, the caption read: ‘Who knew this boy would endure so much pain.’

Francis was born in New Zealand, where he began his acting career on the popular soap opera Shortland Street in 2007.

He moved to Sydney in 2012, and went on to appear in the Starz series Spartacus: Blood and Sand.

Mr Layton’s hope is that Mossman’s death will spark further conversation about the need to stay connected during such trying times.

‘I just wish things were different,’ he said.

‘I’ve always felt art can comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable, but when the artists are the disturbed, who’s left to comfort them? I hope things get better, for all of us.’ 

Lifeline: 13 11 14

Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636

How Sydney’s lockdown broke Dieter Brummer: Home and Away star, 45, took his own life after construction ban left him without hope and money – as his tragic final Facebook posts are revealed 

Just days before his death, things were finally starting to look up for Dieter Brummer.

Aware he was struggling financially, an old mate had offered the Home and Away heartthrob some much needed work.

‘Thanks for getting me on board,’ Brummer excitedly wrote on Facebook.

Since giving the small screen the flick, Brummer, 45, had turned his hand to high-rise window washing and this job on a prestigious apartment building in Sydney’s CBD was the lifeline he needed.

‘I am looking forward to a future working high above Covid which is “apparently” “ravaging” Sydney.’

But the July 15 message of thanks to his mate, complete with a picture of a bearded Brummer nestled among the city’s skyscrapers, would tragically be his last.  

Final photo: A bearded Dieter Brummer posted a 'thank you' Facebook post to his new employer on July 15 - but just days later he was out of work when the NSW government announced a pause on all construction in greater Sydney

Final photo: A bearded Dieter Brummer posted a ‘thank you’ Facebook post to his new employer on July 15 – but just days later he was out of work when the NSW government announced a pause on all construction in greater Sydney

Just two days later, on July 17, the NSW Government paused all construction in greater Sydney for two weeks, in a desperate – and failed – bid to arrest a surge in cases of the Indian Delta variant. 

The lockdown was a devastating blow for Brummer, who took his own life at his parent’s Glenhaven home, in the city’s north west, on Saturday, just one week after the restrictions were announced. 

‘He was really excited and really grateful about the job,’ his grieving employer, who has known Brummer for two decades, told Daily Mail Australia. 

‘The lockdown took the wind out of his sails.’   

Brummer became a household name for his role as Shane Parish on TV soap Home & Away. He was found dead at his parents' home in Glenhaven, age 45, last Saturday

Dieter Brummer made such an impact during his stint on Home and Away it took close to five months and more than 1,700 auditions to fill the void when he left. Above, with co-star Melissa George

Brummer (left, and right with Melissa George) became a household name for his role as Shane Parish on TV soap Home & Away. He was found dead at his parents’ home in Glenhaven, age 45, last Saturday

Brummer is the one of tens of thousands of workers who have been prevented from making a living by the city’s crushing lockdown measures. 

Sydney is the first city in Australia to pause construction since the pandemic began. The building industry only started again on Saturday, but not in eight LGAs in west and south-west Sydney that are the subject of tighter lockdown measures. 

Daily Mail Australia understands Brummer was told he could access financial support from the state government, but was frustrated by the process. 

‘It was the last straw,’ a close friend claimed.   

Brummer's closest friend Rob told the Mail he couldn't say anything more about him except 'that he was the greatest person I knew. Intelligent, bright, just so good'

Brummer’s closest friend Rob told the Mail he couldn’t say anything more about him except ‘that he was the greatest person I knew. Intelligent, bright, just so good’ 

Sydney-based Francis, who was known for his roles in Shortland Street and Spartacus: Blood and Sand, had shared several Instagram posts in recent months documenting his struggles during Sydney's Covid lockdown

Sydney-based Francis, who was known for his roles in Shortland Street and Spartacus: Blood and Sand, had shared several Instagram posts in recent months documenting his struggles during Sydney’s Covid lockdown



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