Dan Gordon-Levitt, older brother of “500 Days of Summer” star Joseph Gordon-Levitt, has died from unknown causes. He was 36.
Better known as “Burning Dan” after a performance at the Burning Man Festival, he was a very proud big brother, according to PopEater, and plugged his little brother’s movies on his website. The two created hitRECORD.org together, an online community of artists and other creative types. Dan also taught flow arts, and was a firedancer and photographer, displaying his work on his website, BurningDan.net, and attracting Internet followers all his own.
His little brother joins an unfortunate group of celebrities who have lost someone before their time. Joaquin Phoenix was at L.A.’s Viper Room with his big brother when River overdosed on drugs, according to a BBC News interview published in 2006. It was his emergency phone call to 911 that brought ambulances to help his brother, to no avail. Joaquin has referred to his brother’s death as being a devastating moment for him, but buried himself in work to help him cope.
“Dirty Dancing” star Patrick Swayze has been gone for just over a year now, and wife Lisa Niemi has chosen to continue to publicly celebrate her husband’s life by speaking about him to others, according to iVillage. She also chose to become a spokeswoman for Pancreatic Cancer Network and other organizations that deal with either cancer or grief as a way to get something more positive out of her loss and help others.
Niemi’s not alone in transforming her grief into an opportunity to aid charitable causes. Probably one of the most famous examples of this is the company Newman’s Own, which was started by the late actor Paul Newman. Newman’s Own is now a huge food production company, making everything from its infamous pasta sauces to cookies and lemonade. Newman’s Own was started as a branch-off company from the idea of The Scott Newman Foundation, which Newman founded after the drug-related death of his son, Scott. The Scott Newman Foundation focuses on discouraging drug abuse and creating summer camps for sick children, according to the Daily Mail.
However Joseph Gordon-Levitt chooses to deal with his grief over his brother’s death, it’s his own business until he makes it otherwise. Since he and his brother already had an online community with hitRECORD.org, he may choose to continue it, or branch out into public service like Lisa Niemi or Paul Newman did. He may also choose to keep it private, like Joaquin Phoenix. Either way, he hopefully has friends and family around him to help him cope in the days and months to come.
BurningDan.net, “Burning Dan.”
Maggie Coughlan, “‘Burning Dan’ Brother of Joseph Gordon Levitt, Dies.” PopEater.com
Ali Semigran, “Patrick Swayze’s Death: One Year Later.” IVillage.com
Richard Pendlebury, “Paul Newman’s hidden heartache: How the Hollywood giant never got over his only son’s drugs overdose death.” DailyMail.co.uk
Frank Wilkins, “The Untimely Death of River Phoenix.” FranksReelReviews.com
BBC.co.uk, “Joaquin lines up as Oscar hopeful.”