Hank Deutschendorf, Baby Oscar of ‘Ghostbusters II,’ Dies at 28
Just last week, we were commemorating the anniversary of the release of Ghostbusters II, which opened in theaters on June 16, 1989. The movie came out 28 years ago, which means the twin babies who played Dana Barrett’s infant son Oscar in the film were about that age too. That makes this story even sadder; TMZ reports that Hank Deutschendorf, one of the twins, has died of an apparent suicide.
On their charity website, Hank’s twin brother William talked about his sibling and the mental health issues he struggled with:
Many people do not know much about Hank. Some knew him as Baby Oscar in Ghostbusters 2 or John Denver’s nephew. Others knew him as a brother, son, martial artist, teacher, uncle, or friend. What people do not know about Hank was that he suffered from schizoaffective disorder. It is a chronic mental health condition which is a combination of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. He experienced hallucinations, delusions, depression, and mania. It is a very severe mental illness that usually requires a lifetime of treatment. It is not well studied, so the treatment is largely an estimation based on schizophrenia and bipolar treatments.
“It is also very important to me,” William added “to immediately spread awareness about schizophrenia, bipolar, and suicide prevention. If your first reaction is to ask us what you can do, it’s to help us do everything we can to help others suffering from the same illness as Hank.” To that end, he encourages fans and mourners to donate to the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation.
This is a tragic story. I was and remain a big Ghostbusters II fan, and I got choked up reading William’s tribute to his late brother. But if Hank’s story brings attention to this illness, and encourages others to seek treatment, then perhaps that is something positive to come out of all this. Rest in peace to Hank, and my condolences to his family.