The Milwaukee Record reports that on Thursday morning, musician, actor, friend, and subject of the 1999 documentary “American Movie” Mike Schank passed away. He was 56.
Chris Smith’s cult masterpiece featured an outstandingly talented screamer.
The documentary follows Mark Borchardt, a filmmaker from Wisconsin, as he tried to shoot the horror film “Coven.” When working with a group of close friends and relatives, it’s no surprise that the project as a whole broke apart—but Schank was there for his pal every step of the way. Schank had several roles, including those of an extra, helper, edit bay pal, and epic storyteller.
Mike Schank Dies at 56
Mike Schank was also talented on the guitar, and he provided original songs for the film’s soundtrack. In addition to “Coven,” he has roles in “Storytelling” (2001), “Hamlet A.D.D.” (2014,) and a guest spot on “Family Guy.”
The Documentary “American Movie” took home the top jury award at the 1999 Sundance Film Festival. In 2002, both Schank and Borchardt attended the festival again.
Mike Schank’s death was revealed on social media by his friend Jackie Bogenberger, who was interviewed by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “He simply was there every single day,” Bogenberger said. She also shared the news that Schank was just diagnosed with cancer.
Tributes were posted online for Schank by his many admirers and friends.
Be fearless always, Mike… Twitter post from “Coven” director and longtime buddy Borchardt.
Forever missed, Mike Schank,” Mark Duplass stated. Learn the art of friendship by watching his performance in “American Movie.”
RIP Mike Schank. Watch him in AMERICAN MOVIE and learn how to be a good friend. pic.twitter.com/6AIgStzOBz
— Mark Duplass (@MarkDuplass) October 13, 2022
Elijah Wood retweeted a remark from Mark Duplass, adding, “such a legend.”
what a legend. mike schank forever https://t.co/m3TbTuz4Z5
— Elijah Wood (@elijahwood) October 13, 2022
Edgar Wright, who directed “Baby Driver” and “Shaun of the Dead,” spoke about Schank. Mike Schank was the heart and humor of the excellent documentary American Movie; may he rest in peace. Since Mike’s home number was available in the DVD’s special features, my two brothers and I contacted him late one night in London to talk about it. Do yourself a favor and watch it right now if you haven’t already.
RIP Mike Schank, the sweet funny soul at the heart of the extraordinary doc 'American Movie'. Me, Simon & Nick were obsessed with it and since they included Mike's home number on the DVD extras, we called him from London one night. If you've never seen it, please do immediately. pic.twitter.com/RCWm3uBAZz
— edgarwright (@edgarwright) October 13, 2022