Milwaukee Journal Sentinel : Milwaukee musician Mike Schank, co-star of 'American Movie,' dies
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Tributes Pour In For "American Movie" Star Mike Schank: "A Good Friend" - Public News Time
Musician Mike Schank, known best for his role in the 1999 Milwaukee-based documentary "American Movie," has died.
A number of friends, fans and admirers have began making social media posts to tribute Schank.
"Lord of the Rings" star Elijah Wood called Schank a "legend," adding "Mike Schank forever." Comedian Patton Oswalt tweeted a simple "RIP."
In 1999, Schank gained national notoriety by starring in the documentary "American Movie." The cult film chronicled the life of Mark Borchardt as he set out on a journey to make a short horror film. Schank was Borchardt's best friend and a co-star in the film. He also composed all the music.
Schank went on to star in the 2001 film "Storytelling" and also a TV credit starring as himself in a "Family Guy" episode in 2006.
According to the Milwaukee Record, in recent years, Schank could be seen on Milwaukee's east side "moseying around the neighborhood and offering a friendly hello to passersby."
"He was just always there, every single day," Bogenberger said. "Eventually it brought me comfort and security knowing I would see his face when I walked through those doors at a seemingly scary time of my life."
In August, Schank announced on Twitter that he was 27 years sober.
Roughly three months prior to Schank's announcement, Schank began to tell friends and family that he was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, Bogenberger told the Journal Sentinel.
"They kept doing all these tests to try to figure out what kind, but in the end just decided it was super rare," Bogenberger said.
"It spread quickly everywhere throughout his body in a matter of weeks, touching almost everything except his brain. He did some chemo and radiation. One of the last things Mike said to me was, 'Hey Jackie, I feel really bad for children who have cancer. They should never have to.'"
Bogenberger said throughout both his battles with addiction and cancer, Schank remained "one of the most kind and selfless human beings this earth was ever blessed with."
Mike Schank, Subject of Documentary ‘American Movie’ and Musician, Dies at 56