Verne Troyer, who played the character of “Mini Me” in the Austin Powers franchise and who died at the age of 49, was raised on a farm in Michigan.
His parents were in the Amish faith, but they left the religion. According to comments Troyer gave in an interview on Reddit, they treated him the same as his regular-sized siblings. “My parents. They never treated me any different than my other average sized siblings. I used to have to carry wood, feed the cows and pigs and farm animals,” he said.
Troyer was surrounded by his family during his last hospitalization, according to a post they placed on his official Instagram account. Troyer was also married and divorced once.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Troyer Was Baptized ‘While Surrounded by His Family’ Before He Died
Verne Troyer’s family released a statement announcing his death through Verne’s Instagram page. The statement refers to Troyer’s battles over the years, and it says that his family was with him at the end.
TMZ has reported of Troyer’s death: “We’d been told he was on some form of life support since being taken to the hospital earlier this month after cops got a report he was drunk and suicidal, and was treated for possible alcohol poisoning,” TMZ alleged. “He also struggled with alcoholism for years and had been to rehab many times,” the entertainment site continued.
Troyer’s family has not confirmed that account, and his official cause of death was not released. However, his family did release a lengthy statement on his Instagram page on April 21, 2018. The statement also refers to depression and suicide. It reads in full:
It is with great sadness and incredibly heavy hearts to write that Verne passed away today.
Verne was an extremely caring individual. He wanted to make everyone smile, be happy, and laugh. Anybody in need, he would help to any extent possible. Verne hoped he made a positive change with the platform he had and worked towards spreading that message everyday.
He inspired people around the world with his drive, determination, and attitude. On film & television sets, commercial shoots, at comic-con’s & personal appearances, to his own YouTube videos, he was there to show everyone what he was capable of doing. Even though his stature was small and his parents often wondered if he’d be able to reach up and open doors on his own in his life, he went on to open more doors for himself and others than anyone could have imagined. He also touched more peoples hearts than he will ever know.
Verne was also a fighter when it came to his own battles. Over the years he’s struggled and won, struggled and won, struggled and fought some more, but unfortunately this time was too much.
During this recent time of adversity he was baptized while surrounded by his family. The family appreciates that they have this time to grieve privately.
Depression and Suicide are very serious issues. You never know what kind of battle someone is going through inside. Be kind to one another. And always know, it’s never too late to reach out to someone for help.
In lieu of flowers, please feel free to make a donation in Verne’s name to either of his two favorite charities; The Starkey Hearing Foundation and Best Buddies.
On April 3, the page posted a statement that read, “Asking you to keep Verne in your thoughts and prayers. He’s getting the best care possible and is resting comfortably. Appreciate the support from family, friends, and fans around the world. We will keep you updated here.”
At the time of that hospitalization, TMZ reported, “…a friend of Verne’s made the call around 7:30 PM, and described him as being extremely upset, drunk and suicidal. We’re told cops and fire department paramedics responded, and Verne was transported to a hospital for possible alcohol poisoning.”
2. Troyer Was Born in Michigan & His Parents Left the Amish Religion
Troyer was raised on a Sturgis, Michigan farm and was born with “achondroplasia dwarfism,” TMZ reported. He stood 2 feet and 8 inches, but he forged a career in Hollywood. When he was a child, his parents were in the Amish faith, but they left the religion before he grew into adulthood, according to The Guardian.
“We grew up Amish, but my parents left the religion when I was a child. The Amish have lots of rules and my dad thought many people in the faith were hypocritical because they’d tell others not to do something and then do it themselves,” he told The Guardian.
Troyer told The Guardian that he almost died as an infant when he was found unresponsive in his crib. “As we were Amish, we only had a horse and buggy [carriage] to get to the hospital, but that wasn’t going to be quick enough so we borrowed my aunt’s car,” Troyer said. “My parents were told there was nothing that could be done and Dad whisked me away to another hospital, where I was put in an oxygen tent, and thankfully I recovered.”
He told Huffington Post of the incident: “My dad got home from work and he checked up on me, and I was all blue,” Troyer says. “He lifted up the blanket and my shirt, and my whole chest was caved in. They called it ‘cradle death, and all you need is oxygen for a little while, but we were Amish at the time.”
3. Troyer’s Mother Worked in a Factory & His Father Was a Repair Technician
When he was growing up, Troyer’s parents were working class. His mother’s name is Susan Troyer and his father is Reuben Troyer. Susan Troyer worked in a factory and Reuben as a repair technician.
Troyer appeared close to his parents based on his social media posts about them over the years. Troyer posted a photo of his mother on Valentine’s Day, writing, “Happy Valentine’s Day to my wonderful mother #valentinesday.” In November 2017, he posted a photo of himself holding a cheesecake and noted that he called his mom for the recipe.
“I called my mom and asked her how to make a simple cheesecake. Perfect for when you’ve forgotten that you need to bring something to a Friendsgiving dinner, Thanksgiving, or just when you crave dessert! New recipe video on my YouTube channel,” he wrote.
He also wrote a Father’s Day tribute to his dad, writing, “Happy Father’s Day. Thank you for everything. Luv u Dad. #fathersday.” A lot of his comments about his mother revolved around food.
“To the woman who keeps me well fed. Happy Mother’s Day to my mom and others!” he wrote with one photo of himself with his mother.
4. Troyer Has Two Siblings, a Brother & Sister
Troyer also posted photos of his siblings on Instagram. He had a brother and a sister. Their names are Davon Troyer and Deborah Troyer, and he was the middle child. “My brother and I back when we both had hair! #throwbackthursday #throwback #tbt,” he wrote with one older photo.
Another throwback photo showed Troyer and his brother back in Michigan when he turned 11. “Wishing everyone a happy new year, and thank you for all the birthday wishes! Here’s my brother and I celebrating my 11th birthday back in Michigan. Time flies! #happynewyear #birthdaycake,” he wrote.
Troyer also wrote about his sister on Instagram, writing with one throwback picture, “No filter needed. Just an old photo of my brother, sister, and I and our dog pup. #throwbackthursday.”
5. Troyer Married & Divorced a Playboy Model
Verne Troyer and Genevieve Gallen at “To Protect and To Serve” benefiting the Los Angeles Police Protective League’s Eagle and Badge Foundation and the Tichi Wilkerson Kassel Parkinson’s Foundation at the Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles, Ca. Friday, Nov. 8, 2002.
Over the years, Troyer dated. He even posted a photo on Instagram called “prom night.”
He was married once, to Genevieve Gallen, a Playboy model. However, they divorced after a tumultuous relationship that was marred by his fame and drinking and was said to have left him heartbroken. “We had to be creative—but because of my yoga experience I could get into the right positions to make it work. And I was soon head over heels in love with Verne,” she said, according to Digital Spy.
His other famous partnership was as Mini Me to Austin Powers, of course. Mike Myers, who starred in Austin Powers with Troyer, released a statement that said, “Verne was the consummate professional and a beacon of positivity for those of us who had the honor of working with him.”