In his youth, Shadix struggled to come to grips with his homosexuality, even partaking in "ex-gay shock therapy" at the age of 17, a harrowing ordeal he later described. A suicide attempt, however, led his family to accept his sexuality and for the young man to move on with his life.
His twenties brought him into the world of stage drama, and the actor started his screen career as a Twin Oaks customer in The Postman Always Rings Twice. But it was a few projects later, in 1988, when he became a recognizable face as Otho in Beetlejuice. As the man who made that nice New England home into a monstrosity (before stealing the Handbook for the Recently Deceased and wreaking havoc), Shadix quickly became a king of quirk.
He soon followed Winona Ryder to the 1989 cult classic, Heathers, blaming not Heather, but rather a society that told its youth that the answers can be found in the MTV video games. Over the years he continued to work with Tim Burton on the likes of The Nightmare Before Christmas and Planet of the Apes, while also spending time on a myriad of big and small screen projects like Carnivale and Teen Titans.
The actor's sister told the Associated Press that Shadix appeared to have fallen and hit his head (he had been using a wheelchair), but a surprising YouTube video shares a complex back story.
The above video is made by a young man who says he was Shadix's friend during the final months of his life. He shares a voicemail message left by an intoxicated Shadix the night before his death. After, the man claims that the actor was romantically interested in him, though he was straight, and basically outlines a very Gods and Monsters type scenario without the suicide. There's no telling what the truth of that scenario is.
What we do know is that Shadix left a wacky and memorable legacy behind him, and in his honor, we're sharing one of his funeral sermons from Heathers below. Rest in peace, Mr. Shadix.