Actor 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 PageSix.com. 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.”
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