Verne Troyer Remembered by Tom Arnold, Seth Green and More: "The Sweetest Guy"

Verne Troyer - Photographed by Christopher Patey - P 2018
Photographed by Christopher Patey

Co-stars and pals recall an actor with a big heart and a smile "like it was lit by a nuclear plant."

For such a small man — all of 2-foot-8 — Verne Troyer made a huge impression on Hollywood.

"I remember seeing him at an airport," Tom Arnold tells THR of his latest encounter with the actor who played Mini-Me in two Austin Powers films. "I was with my 3-year-old son, and he wasn't sure what to make of him. He thought Verne was some sort of animatronic thing. He asked if he was alive. But Verne was the sweetest guy. My son just loved him. And Verne ended up being amazing in the Austin Powers films. He wasn't just a prop — his character became essential."

Seth Green, who also appeared in the Powers comedies, has equally fond memories. "When Verne and I met, we bonded over music," he says. "He was game for anything."

Troyer, who died April 21 at age 49 following a long struggle with alcoholism and depression, wouldn't play another character as beloved as Dr. Evil's tiny, bald-headed clone, but he never stopped working. In 2001, he turned up as Griphook in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and then in a succession of less esteemed titles.

"We weren't doing Shakespeare, but he was a really good actor," says Timothy Woodward, who directed Troyer in the 2015 horror comedy Gnome Alone. "He was very natural, never struggled with his lines. I've worked with a lot of big stars, and you can't say that about everybody."

As on all of his films, Troyer picked up a lot of fans on the set of his final project, Hipsters, Gangsters, Aliens and Geeks, a horror comedy about an intergalactic war between clowns and aliens directed by Danny Elfman's brother, Richard, that's now in postproduction.

"I know he had his ups and downs," says co-star French Stewart, "but he was an impossible guy not to like. He would just flash that smile, and it was like it was lit by a nuclear plant."

This story appears in the April 25 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.