The volleyball actor who shot to fame in 2000 as the "Wilson" character in the blockbuster movie "Castaway" with Tom Hanks, was found dead, floating in the backyard pool of his once immaculate Beverly Hills home this past Friday. Wilson, whose real name was Voit, was found by Diadora, a neighbor and friend who currently is a professional soccer ball.
Voit, had fallen on hard times almost immediately after his shooting star year in 2000. After his fame from the Castaway movie, Voit said he found it difficult to escape type casting. He called it "The Gilligan's Island Syndrome".
Every where he went he heard people call out, "Wiiiillllssssoooon". At first he was flattered but when he began attending casting calls for others parts, even directors and producers couldn't resist imitating Hank's memorable call to Wilson as they were separated on the raft.
Voit said he had successfully cast as a basketball in the nominal movie "Coach Carter" but was replaced by the basketball actor Spalding, from "He Got Game". Almost all doors were closed to Voit apart from celebrity appearances.
Much like the problems facing the cast of Gilligan's Island, Voit's role as Wilson left him as an acting castaway, permanently identified as Wilson and no longer taken seriously in roles for soccer balls, kickballs, or any other kind of sports balls. Voit even entered a rigorous period of training and body modification to play the football in the Cuba Gooding Jr., movie, "Radio" but it didn't work. Gaining and losing air so fast and so often took its toll on Voit's efforts to put himself in shape to play a football.
Voit was invited by George Lucas to try out for the role of a planet in his one of his Star Wars pre-quels but by then Voit had lost confidence for major parts. His last movie role was as a stand in for a medicine ball in the Russell Crowe flick, "Cinderella Man".
After that Voit began experimenting with helium and hydrogen to get high and relieve the emotional pain of what he felt was professional failure. Voit's addiction to helium landed him in an LA detox facility last year but the pain of his inability to get work and return to the level of respect he earned from his prize role as Wilson the volleyball was too much. Voit was only 23 at the time of his death.