Better Call Saul actor admits he cut off own arm for roles

Todd Lawson LaTourrette acting headshotActor Todd Lawson LaTourrette has admitted that 17 years ago, he cut off his own arm in order to “improve his career” so he could “pose as a war veteran,” according to He told casting directors he’d lost the arm while serving in the U.S. Army. However, he now wants to come clean.

Although he played Dave in the major motion picture The Men Who Stare at Goats starring George Clooney, and a character named Skell in a 2018 episode of the TV series Better Call Saul, most of his roles have been nameless — such as “robber” in the movie Beer for My Horses, “Rockabilly Bartender” in the TV series Longmire and “Gas Station Drifter” in the TV series Manhattan.

LaTourrette began acting onstage at the University of New Mexico’s Center for the Arts, but he struggled with mental illness. He told New Mexico TV station KOB4 that he’s bipolar, and during a time when he was off his medication, he said, “I severed my own hand with a skilsaw” during a “psychotic episode.” Not only did he cut off and cauterize his own arm, years later he created a prosethic arm to try to “look normal.” He says the film industry saw him as being “different. They liked that.”Todd Lawson LaTourrette's memoir, Consumed

He’s now apologizing for telling casting directors he was a war veteran. “They trusted me that I was exactly who I said I was. I was a war veteran. I was hired because I lied.” When asked if he’s now looking for the limelight by coming clean, he replied, “I was dishonorable. I’m killing my career by doing this. If anybody wants to think that this was for personal edification, that’s not the case. I’m ousting myself from the New Mexican film industry and gladly so, just to say what I’ve said.”

He says he’s not expecting forgiveness, but hopes his story could help someone else struggling with mental illness, adding, “The power is in your hands to take that medication in the morning or the night, so that this discourse of my life doesn’t need to necessarily be yours. Because it happens quick.”

Although he didn’t mention it in the interview, Latourrette released a memoir in 2015 titled Consumed, which was published by Vanguard Press. In it, he details his struggles with mental illness, and discusses his stint in the U.S. Army. ~Alexandra Heilbron

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Comments & Discussion

  1. MightyMad • November 1, 2018 @ 10:20 AM

    … This gotta be the craziest story I’ve heard today.
    Can you imagine, cutting part of yourself for a job?
    Just pure insanity.

  2. Bubbalouie • November 1, 2018 @ 10:32 AM

    He could get a role in Vikings. Where Leif Erickson was running low on Fisk looking for a trade route to China and resorted to eating one arm while rowing with the other. Now that’s a real Viking! 🤩🚣‍♀️

  3. Derek Beaupre • November 1, 2018 @ 11:06 AM

    One of the stupidest things I have ever heard. Maybe he should have kept his arm and looked for a different job, if he couldn’t get a job whole ???

  4. Don • November 1, 2018 @ 11:35 AM

    Wow. That’s incredible. An insult to all who served in the armed forces and lost limbs. Desperation and mental illness does strange thngs to a person. In the end hes done the right thing and is getting help.

  5. Terry • November 1, 2018 @ 11:38 AM

    What a dingbat!

  6. Melissa • November 1, 2018 @ 11:45 AM

    Although what he did wasn’t nice (to say he was a Vet), you guys have to remind he was also in psychotic episode when he cut his arm. It shines a light on what mental illness can do to somebody, left untreated. Not an excuse per sei, but it has a cause.

  7. Bubbalouie • November 1, 2018 @ 11:48 AM

    With words like crazy,stupid and insult you are victimizing an already tormented soul. More is needed from Gov. for mental health. Never forget to take your meds. Unless they are opioids then get off them ASAP. Deep breathing, especially square breathing is incredible for pain. Makes me think of so many actors being bi-polar. For them it must be a place to release and distract much as the bottle for others.

  8. camille • November 1, 2018 @ 12:12 PM

    he DID NOT say he cut his arm off to get more roles. he cut it off during a psychotic episode of bipolar when he was off his meds. he THEN decided to pose as a vet in order to get movie roles. please report accurately. this man was ill, not an asshole

  9. david • November 1, 2018 @ 12:35 PM

    I once met a Brickmason in Toronto, Canada, who had intentionally injured himself in someway in order to collect Workman’s Compensation benefits during the winter. At that point he had crushed his ankle, messed up his knee, a foot, an arm & his left hand.
    No concept of true reality. Bet he is suffering now 30 yrs later!

  10. Miguel • November 1, 2018 @ 1:08 PM

    also known as idiot, stupid, moron, and so many others

  11. Bubbalouie • November 1, 2018 @ 1:47 PM

    Had a friend who damaged his leg to get time away from work to do a modeling gig. Hmmm. He thought it was worth it.
    Train your body — train your mind. ……
    Even then life can throw a lot at you.
    And some of us start out with a lesser hand to play.
    This is sad, but don’t judge. Be shocked and then help. Even a person with a racist tirade in a subway or bus deserves a human chance at empathy. You don’t know what they are going through.

  12. Maria • November 1, 2018 @ 1:56 PM

    Shia LaBeouf cut his own face and had a tooth pulled for a role. I think there are more actors who’ve done similar things…

  13. Sandie • November 1, 2018 @ 4:20 PM

    I feel for him over the psychotic episode…that must have been a terrifying experience, especially when he came out of it and had cut off his arm. The part where he lied about being a war veteran to get roles? yeah, I don’t feel sorry for him for that…the mental illness makes him a victim, but the lie makes him a P.O.S.

  14. Wendy • November 1, 2018 @ 4:28 PM

    I think the lie makes him a regular human being trying to make the best of things. You have to do what you can to get roles, what’s he gonna say when they ask what happened: I cut off my own arm during a psychotic episode? How many people are going to say, okay, we admire that, we want a person who does that kind of thing on the set of our film/TV show?

  15. James • November 1, 2018 @ 6:33 PM

    But the question nobody is asking:


  16. Bubbalouie • November 1, 2018 @ 7:18 PM

    Opening night….

    Cut A Leg !!!?

  17. patricia bellefleur • November 2, 2018 @ 2:04 PM

    I appreciate the compassion and understanding expressed by many regarding the mental health basis for this guys story. Highlighting the severity of mental illness makes this story brave and returns some of the honor to this man. It was a crappy thing to do to pose as a vet but very brave to come forward and speak his truth. I applaud him for that. Haters will hate regardless. I wish him well and admire the cajones it took to admit. Sky

  18. Blou • November 2, 2018 @ 5:01 PM

    Mental illness is a scary thing and people can do the imaginable. He may have also been ill at the time he lied about the army. At least he came clean. How many today will do that without being accused first?

  19. Sara.A. • November 3, 2018 @ 6:56 PM

    I just wanted to say that I give this guy 2 thumbs up for telling the truth & I’m happy he’s gotten help for his illness. I’m sorry that he had to go through that episode in his life but he’s now working to better himself & That’s AWESOME in my book!! Keep Up The GREAT Work Buddy!! This Last Message Is For All The People Who Left Those Kind Messages. At least u guys have a heart to feel for this guy got what he went through in the past & he was trying to make it right. Which I think he did by the way. Now he can do better for the future & feel better for coming clean. You Guys Are All AWESOME!! This sasying is from 1 Of my favorite U Tubers: “You Are Beautiful, You Are 1 Of A Kind SMILE MORE!!🙄😉😎🤗💖🤘✌👋🙋‍♀️🎃😱😨Have The Best For 2019 EVERYONE!!! BYE BYE…!!🙋‍♀️🙋‍♀️👋👋🎅🤶🎄☃️🎁❄🤣🤣

  20. GD • November 5, 2018 @ 4:48 PM

    A lot of you and perhaps some that edit this site are ignorant about mental illness and a psychotic episode is like. You aren’t in control over anything during one. Your actions and thoughts which come on like a freight train and never leave aren’t sane. The voices in your head will convince you to do destructive things and your brain cannot make a single logical connection. Therefore, what seems totally crazy to you about this was 100% right to him in that instance. Why? because he was also delusional. Sometimes the thoughts that come trhough like a freight train are gentle and calming and completely benign while at others what you see and feel can be sinister and or something negative pushing you to act in certain ways based on illness. So, reading this for me isn’t as shocking when we read mental illness compelled him to do it. After he got help through a crisis obviously he rebuilt his life and hid the real reason. Was it wrong to say he was a war vet? Yes, nobody would say otherwise but the lying about it can easily be tied back to the illness too. The other thing is this guy won’t be manic forever either if he seeked help and got on proper meds and treatment. Most people with mental illness go on to have amazing lives and you wouln’t even know they had an issue if they didn’t disclose it. What happened here is an extreme case but mark my words the guy isn’t an asshole and shouldn’t be portrayed as such because it’s evident he was never in control of his actions. There’s a ton of stigma about these disorders and reading through some of the more ignorant of comments you begin to wonder why. All it takes is a short amount of time to read up and educate yourself then you’d see people like this guy in a much different light.

  21. Donna • November 5, 2018 @ 5:47 PM

    As I read through the comments I realize just how little people really understand mental health. This is so sad,. Where is your empathy people???

  22. GD • November 6, 2018 @ 7:22 PM

    Donna—Most are too young to get it maturity wise. However, each of us knows at least 10 people be it through work, school, family. 1 in 9 is mentally ill and you have no idea of it. The other nine know this person. Mental illness especially bipolar is 6th leading cause of permanent disability world wide. Therefore being ignorant of the facts or causing people grief is stupid and really says a lot about them and not the person with the illness.

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