A New Mexico actor has confessed to building his career on a shocking lie. Todd LaTourrette, who recently had a small role on Better Call Saul, said he told casting directors that he was a war veteran who had lost his arm in combat in Afghanistan. In truth, he said, he cut off his own arm during a “psychotic episode.” Watch LaTourrette’s interview with Albuquerque’s KOB 4-TV above.
“I severed my own hand with a Skilsaw,” LaTourrette told the local news station. The actor, who said he has been diagnosed as bipolar, declared that the self-inflicted injury occurred 17 years ago when “the state of my mind was a psychotic episode.” During this period when he wasn’t taking his prescribed medications, LaTourrette planned for days before cutting off his lower arm and then cauterizing the wound. He later created a prosthetic to “look normal.” And eventually he started telling the war-injury story to get acting work.
“I was different, and so they liked that,” LaTourrette said of the film industry. “They trusted me that I was exactly who I said I was: I was a war veteran. I was hired because I lied. I was dishonorable.”
LaTourrette has worked as a stage performer and played minor roles in a handful of TV shows and films, including Longmire and The Men Who Stare at Goats. In 2016, he published Consumed, a memoir about his struggle with mental illness. According to his “About the Author” description on Amazon, LaTourrette’s book details how “my successes as a film and television actor have been clouded by my experience in the United States Army.”
In the televised interview, an emotional LaTourrette said that he was knowingly “killing” his acting career by revealing the truth. But he hopes that his story can educate other sufferers of mental illness about the dangers of going untreated. “The power is in your hands to take that medication in the morning or at night, so that this course of my life doesn’t need to necessarily be yours,” he said. “Because it happens quick. It happens quick.”
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