Andrew “Andy” Alcott Hallett loved to sing. Though a shy guy growing up in the Cape Cod village of Osterville, Massachusetts, it was his love for singing which launched his acting career. And if it wasn’t for Patti LaBelle, television audiences and people around the world would never have had the pleasure of knowing such a talented man existed.Hallett passed away on March 29 at Cedars-Sinai hospital in Los Angeles from congestive heart failure. He was just 33 years old. He was an actor best known for his role on Joss Whedon’s “Angel.” Hallett portrayed the lovable green demon Krevlorneswath of the Deathwok Clan, or more simply, he was Lorne.
If an actor had ever been described as playing himself, Andy Hallett would’ve been the one at the top of that list, if such a list existed, and that is not a negative thing at all because Hallett’s journey to acting would make a terrific feel-good story.
Hallett went to Barnstable High School in his Cape Cod hometown. After high school, he attended Assumption College in Worcester, Mass. He had a passion for singing since he was little. Quite simply, he loved to sing. However, negative peer pressue created doubt for Hallett, and was the leading reason why he did not sing in public, and did not actively begin to pursue singing as a career.
However, the world needed Hallett’s lively voice and personality, and fate intervened and delivered a catalyst to Hallett which changed everything for him.
One night, Hallett went to see Patti LaBelle in concert. While watching her, she invited Hallett on stage to sing “Lady Marmalade” with her. After his performance and the applause of the audience, he was approached by people who requested to have photographs taken with him. He described the experience as “life-changing.” It was this experience that began Hallett’s singing career.
Hallett moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in show business. He worked as a runner for an agency, a property manager, and as a personal assistant. But his big break happened at the Universal City Blues revue in Los Angeles. Hallett’s friend, Joss Whedon, the creator of “Buffy, the Vampire Slayer,” and “Angel” was in attendance. Whedon and Hallett had been friends and used to go to various karaoke bars. On this night though, after watching Hallett perform, and inspired by Hallett, Joss Whedon conceived of the character The Host, an empath demon who had the ability to read people as they sang in his karaoke bar, and who also loved to sing. The Host would help the people who sang find their true destiny and purpose in life. Whedon invited Hallett to audition for the role of The Host.
Not only did Hallett try out for the part, he won the part. It was the first job he ever had as an actor. His agent, Pat Brady, contacted Andy after seeing him on the season two opener of “Angel.”
Hallett and Lorne were never separated from each other. The part was inspired by him and, as Tim Minear wrote on his facebook page, the writers wrote the role just for Hallett.
If there’s one person to learn about from his character alone, it is Andy Hallett. Lorne personified the goodness of humanity and the lovingness of humanity.
The character did not see the world as black and white but as a world colored with grey. He was the kindest, most loving, and genuinely good character on the show which had to be a reflection of Hallett the person. In a season two episode set in Lorne’s home dimension, the audience learns that Lorne used to hear music in his head, and thought he was strange. His home dimension was a place in which things were black and white, and things like art and music did not exist. Lorne could not sing and did not belong until he arrived in Los Angeles which is reminsicent of Hallett’s own life before Patti LaBelle sang with him on stage. The true charm of the character came from Hallett himself who possessed wonderful depth, pathos, an uncanny ability for comedic timing, and nuance that people could not help but be endeared, and love, the character of Lorne and Andy Hallett the actor.
One of the highlights of his time on “Angel” were the moments when the writers allowed him to sing. One of his favorite episodes was “The House Always Wins,” an episode about Lorne’s job as a performer in Las Vegas. Hallett sings “Lady Marmalade” and “It’s Not Easy Being Green,” two songs that he also performed for the official “Angel” soundtrack entitled “Angel: Live Fast, Die Never.” Hallett also helped his castmates hone their own karaoke talents.
Hallett appeared in 76 episodes of the series. He appeared in more than 40 episodes before becoming an official series regular of the show. His promotion to series regular was well-deserved. Hallett endured hours in the makeup trailer because he portrayed a green demon. The character’s look required extensive prosthetic makeup and coloring which took hours to put on. This aspect of his job created many early mornings and many late nights for Hallett.
In 2003, around the time of shooting one of the last episodes for “Angel,” entitled ‘A Hole In The World,” Hallett lost a filling from a cavity he had. Hallett did not get it fixed immediately because he felt no pain but, eventually, the tooth became infected, and he never knew there was a problem with his body until he was in the hospital. About a month after “Angel” wrapped as a series, his make-up artist visited him, and realized Hallett was not well. Hallett ended up in the emergency room where they discovered that the tooth infection had a direct line with the heart which caused the heart to not pump as efficiently so his heart became enlarged. When Hallett was brought to the emergency room, he was in the middle of congestive heart failure. Blood was leaking from every valve of his heart. Hallett described the whole process as “advanced cardiomyopathy. But I’m better now–I’m so thankful.”
This incident began his five-year battle with heart disease. Though he did not act once “Angel” concluded because of his heart, he offered his voice talents for the movie “Geppetto’s Secret.” Hallett continued to appear at comic conventions that featured “Angel” and its cast. Upon the news of his passing, fans on the Joss Whedon news website, whedonesque.com, wrote about their memories of Hallett as a one of a kind actor. There are stories about Hallett tracking down a fan who took part in a karaoke competition just so Hallett could tell the fan that he really enjoyed the performance, and that the fan should continue to sing. There’s a story of a fan asking Andy to leave a voice mail for one of the fan’s friends, and Andy did, and he even sang a little song for the fan’s friend as well. It was things like these which truly made Andy Hallett a beloved and special person in the Whedon universe.
Unfortunately, after five years and three hospitalizations, Hallett died from congestive heart failure at the age of 33 with his father by his side.
Hallett will always be remembered for his energy, his charisma, and his charm, with love, and the joy he brought to millions of people. He will be missed very much.
Fans can send their condolences to the Hallett family using this address: Andy Hallet. PO Box 924. Osterville, Mass. 02655.
Chris Monigle is a fourth-year student majoring in Literature. He can be reached at CM660983@wcupa.edu.