‘Good Time’ star Buddy Duress dies at 38


Buddy Duress died in November as a result of 'cardiac arrest from a drug cocktail'. Photo: TNS

Safdie brothers collaborator Buddy Duress, who starred in Good Time and Heaven Knows What, died suddenly late last year. He was 38.

The Queens native, born Michael Stathis, died in November as a result of “cardiac arrest from a drug cocktail,” younger brother Christopher Stathis confirmed to People on Tuesday (Feb 27).

Duress made his acting debut in the 2014 crime drama Heaven Knows What, helmed by Benny and Josh Safdie. The trio reunited three years later for the brothers’ critically acclaimed crime thriller, Good Time. Duress starred in the A24 film alongside Robert Pattinson, Benny Safdie and Jennifer Jason Leigh.

It was Duress’ real-life criminal record that led him to cross paths with the Safdies in 2013.

Duress recounted to SSense in 2017 that he had “just gotten out of Rikers” for drug charges and was given the choice to serve more time or do an inpatient rehab program. Though he chose the latter, Duress ultimately decided to skip out on the programme.

“In my head it was like, as long as I can, I’m gonna be on the run and enjoy summer, and evade the authorities. And when they catch me, I’ll take it like a man,” Duress told SSense.

During his “364 days on the run,” Duress experienced a period of homelessness and met Josh Safdie, through Heaven Knows What star Arielle Holmes, whose memoir Mad Love in New York City served as the basis for the film.

“I still look back at it. If I had went to that programme, I wouldn’t have been in Heaven Knows What, and I probably wouldn’t be an actor right now,” Duress told SSense – though he was rearrested for missing the appointment.

Despite continuing his acting career in films like 2021’s Flinch and 2022’s Funny Pages, Duress’ struggles reportedly got him arrested three more times over the years – for grand larceny, menacing, criminal possession of brass knuckles and drugs, Deadline reports. He was also taken into custody for threatening to burn down his mum’s Queens residence.

“He was a kind person who loved making films. Despite any troubles he was going through in life he somehow managed to put them aside when it came to work,” Cameron Van Hoy, who directed Flinch, told People. “I’m heartbroken that his life came to an end as it did.”

Duress had two projects in the works at the time of his death, according to his IMDb. Mass State Lottery is currently in postproduction while the short, Skull, has been completed. – New York Daily News/Tribune News Service

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