Remembering actor Angus Cloud of 'Euphoria,' dead at 25
AILSA CHANG, HOST:
Angus Cloud was an overnight celebrity. Spotted by a casting scout on a street in New York, Cloud became a breakout star in HBO's "Euphoria." He played Fezco, the drug dealer with a heart of gold.
(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "EUPHORIA")
ANGUS CLOUD: (As Fezco) Listen, Rue, you a drug addict. I don't take nothing a drug addicts says personally because I don't believe nothing a drug addict said. I love you. I hate you. You the best. Go [expletive] yourself. It's all the same [expletive], you know what I'm saying? Y'all just looking for an angle in.
ZENDAYA: (As Rue) Yeah, I know. But as your friend, I need you to know that I'm sorry. And I love you.
CLOUD: (As Fezco) Love you, too, kid.
CHANG: Cloud was an audience favorite. And the show launched him not only into a new career, but into a new life. But that life was tragically cut short this week. Cloud died on Monday at the age of 25. To help us remember him, we're joined now by Variety reporter Selome Hailu. Welcome.
SELOME HAILU: Hi.
CHANG: Hi. So let's just start with how Cloud first joined the show "Euphoria." It's that kind of origin story that people dream about, I guess, you know? Like, some regular person gets plucked out of nowhere and becomes super famous seemingly overnight. Can you just tell us briefly what Cloud's story was, how he ended up on the show?
HAILU: So Cloud is from Oakland. He grew up doing a bit of art stuff here and there but wasn't really pursuing any of that professionally. He was just kind of worried about getting by. At some point, he found himself living in Brooklyn. He was working at a chicken and waffles restaurant. And as it was told to me by Jennifer Venditti, the casting director on "Euphoria," she had a casting scout who was going to different acting classes all over the city, kind of looking for somebody to fill these roles.
And then, on her walk home, her phone was dead. She's in the dark in the middle of Brooklyn. And she happens upon these two guys - it's Angus Cloud and a friend of his - and just likes something about the way that they look. So she tries to convince them that she's legit. One of the friends was like, I don't really believe you.
CHANG: (Laughter) Sure.
HAILU: The other one, Angus, took her number down and thought about it. The next day, he called them up, and seems like they - it was pretty much a hit from there.
CHANG: Dang. Well, how did Cloud handle his sudden fame? Do you know? Or how did he see himself as an actor?
HAILU: Cloud didn't really see himself as a celebrity and didn't change his lifestyle much besides what he had to do to go to work. So when I interviewed him for a profile that I wrote last summer, we talked a bit about that. He got recognized while we were together. And it kind of confused him when people would come up to him and say, are you from "Euphoria?" And he would always - it was a famous answer where he would say, no, I'm from Oakland. But I'm on the show, yeah...
HAILU: ...And kept saying, like, this is what I'm doing right now, but it's not necessarily forever. It wasn't my dream. And it's just what happened for me.
CHANG: Well, Angus Cloud had such a short acting career, such a short life. But do you think he is someone who has left a legacy? How do you think he'll be remembered by fans?
HAILU: I really hope that Angus and his story, both in life and in death, can help people understand how to be more gentle to people in the public eye, especially folks like him who never planned to be in the public eye. I think that him being on a show like "Euphoria" that deals so heavily and explicitly with things like drug abuse, coming from a creator like Sam Levinson, who has always been very open in discussing things like that, it was clearly a very heavy environment. And we had the tools to know and see that he wasn't used to being viewed the way that he was.
And so I hope that people can see him as a success story, and that there's so much talent and heart that we're never going to have access to if we're not lucky enough to get spotted on the street by a talent scout on her way home with her phone dead - and also that somebody like him, a young actor, is just a person.
CHANG: That is Selome Hailu, a reporter at Variety, remembering actor Conor Angus Cloud Hickey. Thank you very much.
HAILU: Thank you.
(SOUNDBITE OF SEAN ANGUS WATSON'S "WALTZ IN SWEATERS") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
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