“We’re throwing the game plan out the window,” Howard Stern said as he opened his SiriusXM show this morning at 6 a.m. “Our dear friend Eric the Actor has died.”
Word of the demise of the legendary Stern Wack Packer—who hated being cited among the show’s infamous band of social outsiders—began circulating late yesterday, to great disbelief despite Eric “The Actor” Lynch’s severe congenital disabilities. Little more than three-feet tall, Lynch, who was formerly known as Eric the Midget, required a motorized wheelchair to move about. He was 39 when he died Saturday, outliving, he had said, his life expectancy.
Lynch was so identified by his “Actor” and “Midget” monikers that few knew his actual surname until it appeared in notices and obituaries in mainstream showbiz websites including TMZ, Variety and US. Thanks to Stern celebrity fans including Jimmy Kimmel, Natalie Maines, Jonah Hill and Zak Efron, Lynch’s death was a top Twitter trender last night.
“Eric would have been so happy and satisfied in knowing that his death was announced in Variety and US Magazine’s website,” said Stern. “He loved fame.”
Lynch was surely one of the Stern Show’s most polarizing yet compelling figures. As Stern noted, he called in every morning upset about something, and if he didn’t get put through, left an angry voicemail that inevitably provided endless entertainment when played back live.
“I loved Eric. I truly, truly loved him. When he called in, I got so excited. He was the greatest!” said Stern. “Here was this guy afflicted with every f**king s**tty thing on the planet. He couldn’t have gotten worse luck [but] he didn’t act any different than any of us. I’m amazed how feisty he was. Most people in his condition are bitter, but he loved life, celebrities, watching TV, wrestling. He couldn’t walk, and out of all this he still carried on like a maniac–and it was the greatest!”
Indeed, Lynch angered as many Stern staffers and fans as he regaled with his low raspy and endlessly complaining demands and personal attacks. And no one enjoyed him more than Stern, whose show has always appealed to and treated the likes of Lynch on an exalted level of stardom at least equal to his A-list guests. It was because of his Stern Show notoriety, if not popularity, that he obtained bit parts on TV shows including Fringe, In Plain Sight and Jimmy Kimmel Live!
“He was like a little Mafia guy and actually sounded like a mob boss,” Stern said after replaying a tape of Lynch calling a friend and demanding that he “take care of” someone he knew in high school who had upset him. “He was little in stature but a big presence–especially on this show.”
Of Lynch’s passing, Stern concluded: “This sucks. It really does.”
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