'DWTS' star says actor who cut off his right arm and pretended to be a war vet deserves a chance
A lot of people would 'give their right arms' to be on television and become famous, but Todd LaTourette took that literally while battling with his mental health, and then lied about it to gain parts in films.
The "Better Call Saul" actor, Todd LaTourette, recently outed himself as a liar who manipulated producers by telling them he was a war veteran wounded in combat instead of the truth, that he cut off his own arm.
"Dancing With the Stars" winner J.R. Martinez, an actual war veteran who sustained burns to over 34 percent of his body as an Army infantryman in Iraq, says that what LaTourette did was despicable.
However, Martinez says that LaTourette's speaking the truth without provocation is a step in the right direction and he can't see why Todd shouldn't continue his acting career and use this episode to shed light on mental illness instead.
Martinez, himself an actor who represents both veterans and burn victims, had been shocked to hear that LaTourette had been lying to producers about being a disabled war veteran all along.
He holds producers and casting directors to blame for not vetting their auditions and verifying that people being cast are genuine so war veterans can get authentic representation in Hollywood.
LaTourette confessed to his lie after being weighed down with it for years, and although he says he knows that he doesn't deserve forgiveness, he hopes this will open a discussion on mental health that could help others.
"I was dishonorable. I'm killing my career by doing this, if anyone thinks this was for personal edification, that's not the case. I'm ousting myself from the New Mexico Film Industry. And gladly so, just to say what I've said."
In an interview, LaTourette admitted to cutting off and cauterizing his own arm 17 years ago while in the throes of a bipolar episode.
When he decided to start acting, he saw a way to use this injury to his advantage and told producers he'd been hurt during military service. LaTourette confirms that the lie helped him get the role of Skell on "Better Call Saul."
"The film industry obviously took a different angle. That I was different. And so they liked that"
The actor claims that he was unmedicated when he self-amputated his arm with a saw and urges anyone suffering from mental illness to seek help and always take their medication.
"The power is in your hands to take your medication in the morning, or at night. So that, this, this discourse of my life doesn't need to necessarily be yours. Because, it happens quick... it happens quick."
After lying his way onto shows like "Manhattan" (2015), "Longmire" (2014), "A Bird of the Air" (2011), and "The Men Who Stare at Goats" (2009), LaTourette has risked his career to come clean.
Hopefully, his admission will help others in the long run and will set him on a road to redemption, as Martinez sincerely hopes it does.