George Clooney won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role in Syriana (2005), but every glimpse of that shiny trophy undoubtedly brings back painful memories. Playing a troubled CIA operative caught up in the shifting sands of Middle East geopolitics, Clooney injured his spine during a scene in which his character is taped to a chair and tortured.
The injury left the actor bed ridden with debilitating headaches and spinal fluid leaking from his nose. Clooney underwent several surgeries to fix the problem, but he still complains of rattling headaches.
In 2005, Clooney told Fresh Air’s Terry Gross that the pain became so persistent and aggravating that he actually contemplated suicide. In the most recent issue of Rolling Stone, Clooney describes that point of his life in greater detail:
“I was at a point where I thought, ‘I can’t exist like this. I can’t actually live.’ I was lying in a hospital bed with an IV in my arm, unable to move, having these headaches where it feels like you’re having a stroke, and for a short three-week period, I started to think, ‘I may have to do something drastic about this.’ You start to think in terms of, you don’t want to leave a mess, so go in the garage, go in the car, start the engine. It seems like the nicest way to do it, but I never thought I’d get there. See, I was in a place where I was trying to figure out how to survive.”
Even though its difficult to imagine how much pain he was in and a request for a mercy killing is not uncommon amongst human beings suffering severe pain, it’s fortunate George Clooney came to his senses and persevered.