Wednesday, October 15, 2008

River Phoenix lookalike model dies. Four days later still no explanation

randy johnston/nicola formichetti

Sad to hear the news about the passing of 20 year-old American model Randy Johnston who, it emerges, died on October 11. Four days later, the circumstances of his death have yet to be clarified.

The news appears to have been broken by Johnston’s agency, Ford Models, which has a tribute on its website. And has since trickled through on the web via various forums, including Fashionologie, ONTD, COACD, The Fashion Spot and New York mag's The Cut blog.

The only hard details to surface so far are apparently the only ones that really count to the fashion industry: Johnston once worked for Dior Homme and is in the current edition of i-D magazine, with his hands down the knickers of Lara Stone. And that he once appeared in a video for the Thom Browne menswear label, lying in a coffin.

Given tomorrow’s viewing at the Lester Gee Funeral Home in New London, unfortunately the latter looks to have been a self-fulfilling prophecy.

[UPDATE 3.07PM Equally morbid (as Isaac Hindin Miller has just pointed out to me) is the fact that Johnston, who played in several bands, once told that the person he would most like to meet is Sid Vicious - the Sex Pistols bass player who died of a heroin overdose in 1979].

An obituary in The Norwich Bulletin provides ambiguous details:

“After high school, Randy pursued a path unfamiliar to many he knew. He sought after, and achieved, success as a high fashion model with Ford Models Europe and New York City. Although his time was brief, he worked hard to promote his personal success in a high pressure industry”.

Although it goes without saying that 20 year-olds just don’t drop dead for no good reason - this has in fact gone without saying.

Leading frockwriter to speculate that the circumstances of Johnston’s death may have been neither tragically accidental – nor due to some hitherto undetected medical condition.

It's a sad story, whatever the circumstances.

And it's at least the third sad story this year involving a successful young entertainment/modelling industry figure.



Anonymous said...

he looked nothing like River.

Anonymous said...

Ok, creepy story

he has a photo of River Phoenix in his photobucket.


Anonymous said...

If it was the public's business, his family, or those that do know would let the public know. Don't speculate, it makes you look insensitive. Just let the man rest in peace.

Patty Huntington said...

last anon -

of course it's not nice for the family, i agree. but nor is the fact that he is dead. and he died for a specific reason. there is one simple reason why noone can say exactly what he died from at the moment and that's because the coroner has not yet determined the exact cause of death. it can take 6-10 weeks. once he/she does, that becomes publically available information.

to recap what i said in the story, randy johnston was a public figure. that was his choice. models and the fashion business are glamorised to sell products to consumers. there is a definite public interest issue here.

Anonymous said...

He died of a heroin overdose.

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