Australian stage actor Peter Saide has passed away aged 36. Saide had been living and working in New York City since 2006.
The news of Saide’s death broke on Facebook Thursday, with his friends and colleagues expressing their shock and sadness. Fellow actor Edward Miskie wrote:
“I am completely beside myself, and at a loss of understanding. I keep hoping I’ll wake up from this nightmare or someone will reveal that it’s an elaborate, cruel joke.
“I saw Peter on Monday—he was walking, and moving around, and so excited to be out of the woods from his surgery. He had things on the horizon he was pumped about, and despite his slow pace, he was still sparking for life.
“Peter was a good man. He was truly great in everything—hard working, the best attitude, an embarrassment of riches of talent… I truly believed he was going to be a massive star. The fact that he is gone now completely blows my mind and breaks my heart. There will never be anyone quite like Peter. God speed, brother.”
While the circumstances of Saide’s death are unknown at this time, he posted on Instagram February 14th that he was in the hospital following “the hardest” two weeks of his life.
“I’m afraid to say that I’m usually as much of a killjoy about Valentine’s Day as I am about Christmas,” he wrote. “This year, however, I really need to tell you about the woman I love.”
“The last two weeks have been the hardest of my life so far. No hyperbole,” Saide continued. “More doctors and nurses and hospital rooms than you can count on all of your fingers and useless toes. The rest of that story is for later.”
Saide did not specify what was wrong with him, instead using the opportunity to thank his girlfriend for her support.
“Shelby has been a pillar,” he wrote. “She has become Gunnar’s caregiver, the disseminater of information to my group of closest friends here and to a very concerned family she has never met, on the other side of the planet. She has balanced her work with my endless logistics, literally accepted responsibility for my life and somehow managed a series of successful auditions in the meantime.”
“Somehow, with all of this on her plate, every time I open my eyes she’s there. Sitting quietly, smiling and holding my hand. She has never, for a moment, shown weakness or any sign of complaint. It’s one of the greatest acts of love I’ve received in my lifetime. I am completely humbled and unspeakably grateful.”
In a 2018 interview with Broadway Box, Saide spoke about his performance in a comedy called “Desperate Measures,” which the outlet described as “a Wild West take on Shakespeare’s ’Measure for Measure.’” He also revealed that he considered New York City to be his real home.
“You know, I moved here for the first time 12 years ago,” he said. “New York truly is my home and I’m very proud to be an Australian living here. I tend to feel most like I’m in Australia when I’m in my friends’ homes. Maybe it’s just the feeling of being with my community that reminds me of family and friends in Australia.”
He added of New York: “It’s the only place outside of Australia that I’ve ever truly called home. It took me a long time and a lot of blood, sweat, tears and money to be able to be here and pursue my career and I’m ever grateful. And so SO proud.”
Asked in the same interview to relate a memorable audition story, Saide replied:
“I was once asked if I had any acrobatic skills, and I said that I had a ‘mean forward roll.’ I was then pushed and pushed to demonstrate this mean forward roll in front of my group so I crouched down, did the ugliest, most rudimentary forward roll you’re ever seen, and then I growled like a baby tiger. I didn’t even get a pity laugh…fair enough.”
Elsewhere, Saide offered advice to people considering moving to New York and pursuing an acting career.
“I would say… remove your expectations from what you define as achievements or success and instead place your expectations on your work ethic and sense of self… because those are things you can work towards to and aspire and achieve,” he said, adding:
“There are so many intangibles and so many things that are uncontrollable as you pursue this profession…. Every job you do could be your last job. It’s weird at the same time of feeling like, ‘I absolutely deserve this…I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be’ to think how lucky I am and to find that balance between the two.”