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RIP Leo O'Brien (PIAG)

Posted by on Oct. 11, 2012 at 9:24 PM
  • 5 Replies

‘The Last Dragon’ star Leo O’Brien dies at age 41

Had been shot in Harlem last year

Comments (40)
Updated: Thursday, October 11, 2012, 5:49 PM


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Stars of ‘The Last Dragon’ Taimak Guarriello, left, and Leo O'Brien, right,  film 'I've Seen Things’ on 135th St. in Harlem  in 2011. O’Brien died at age 41 Wednesday morning.

Enid Alvarez/New York Daiy News

Stars of ‘The Last Dragon’ Taimak Guarriello (l.) and Leo O'Brien (r.) film 'I've Seen Things’ on 135th St. in Harlem in 2011. O’Brien died at age 41 Wednesday morning.

Leo O'Brien, a star of the cult classic "The Last Dragon," died in New York on Wednesday at age 41, family and friends said.

The cause of death was not released. An autopsy was inconclusive, and the medical examiner’s office is awaiting toxicology results.

His friend and former castmate Taimak Guarriello said only, “He’s been having a little problem.”

"He's been through a lot of tough times," Guarriello said. "It's unfortunate."

O’Brien, who was trying to put his checkered past behind him and resurrect an acting career, was shot three times in Harlem a year ago after an argument with an acquaintance.

“I’m a fast healer — kind of a mutant,” he told the Daily News at the time. “I’ve been told if this happened to someone else, they’d be dead.”

alg_last-dragon_leo-obrien.jpg

Motown Productions

In 'The Last Dragon,' O'Brien starred as Richie, the charismatic little brother of lead character, Bruce Leroy.

After hearing about the shooting last September, Guarriello reached out to O’Brien, visited him in the hospital and rekindled their friendship.

The two began filming a short indie flick a month later, their first collaboration since the 1985 martial arts movie produced by Berry Gordy.

O’Brien — who ran several businesses after a string of arrests that landed him in jail for eight years — was cast as a charming Harlem gangster.

The movie has not been released, but Guarriello said he had hoped to include O'Brien in other upcoming projects.

"He was very talented," he said. "It wasn't like he lost his talent."

In “The Last Dragon,” Guarriello played the lead character, Bruce Leroy, and O’Brien played his charismatic little brother, Richie.

"This is a movie that touched a lot of hearts and he was wonderful in it," said Guarriello.

alg_leo-obrien-daughter-sharoya.jpg

Jeanne Noonan for News

Leo O' Brien of 'The Last Dragon' with daughter Sharoya Russell in hospital.

"I think people should remember him as the talent that he was," he said. "He was a sweetheart and he had a good sense of humor."

Guarriello said he learned of his pal’s death from O’Brien’s son, Drew, who mourned his father on Facebook with the message: “R.I.P to my father Leo Obrien. You will be dearly missed. I love you.”

mfeeney@nydailynews.com

by on Oct. 11, 2012 at 9:24 PM
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Replies (1-5):
Hottmomma607
by Group Mod - Trica on Oct. 11, 2012 at 9:34 PM
Wow sad! RIP!
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
wearymoon
by Bronze Member on Oct. 11, 2012 at 9:50 PM
That is sad. Thanks for sharing the story on CM.
Stacey1081975
by Gold Member on Oct. 11, 2012 at 9:55 PM

wow that is too sad!!!!

mamadee1971
by Dionne on Oct. 11, 2012 at 9:56 PM

One of my favorites movies, back in the day, I would watch over and over.  It's sad to see folks (in general) die at a young age...no matter how they died.

KymberleeAnn
by on Oct. 11, 2012 at 9:57 PM

That's so sad..

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